Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Warehouse to Winery Rehab, Medford

Built in 1924, the Cooley-Neff Warehouse is a rare surviving example of the Spanish Colonial Revival Style in Medford, Oregon. Spanish Colonial shares little history with the southern Oregon region but that area, like much of the West and even much of the nation, got caught up in the popularity of "Mission" design as a result of the impact of the novel "Ramona" and, more importantly, the success of the Panama-California Exposition, held in San Diego in 1915. Bertram Goodhue, an architect of some note, adopted the arched and stuccoed style for the master plan and created nationwide interest that swept through Medford by the mid-1920s. Of the many, many, commercial and public buildings built or remodeled in form that would have made "Ramona" proud (Google Helen Hunt Jackson if you don't understand the reference) pretty much only the Cooley-Neff is left. That's not because it was the best example, per se, but rather because it was located on the periphery of downtown and nobody ever got around to remodeling it, or razing it, as happened to most of the other such buildings.

Vacant for years and subject to the indignity of neglect and vandalism (steel sash windows are such an inviting target!) the building was purchased in 2005 and listed on the NRHP the next year. It's currently in the process of a major renovation into a commercial winery.... a first step toward the revitalization of this entire section of downtown Medford.

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