Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Found Oregon-ZCBJ Lodge

There are some truly great buildings in Oregon and I am always surprised when driving from Point A to Point B to stumble across something exceptional for the first time.  Long ago somebody wrote a book on residential architecture that was entitled “A Gift to the Street,” or something like that, meaning a building that everyone benefitted from, even if it was built for a specific purpose and owner.   There is such a gift in Linn County, on Richardson Gap Road east of Scio, on the way to the Larwood Covered Bridge (another gift, let me assure you).  As I was heading north, I saw a large, white, boxy thing in the distance and thought “What the heck is THAT?”


It was, like the sign says, the Z. C. B. J. Lodge, a fraternal order of Czech-Americans, that was built in the early 20th century (1911) according to the National Register listing.  It’s a great building, made all the greater because of where it is located, in the middle of still largely rural, sparsely populated, part of the county.  Sure, it has great architecture (notice the dentil-like projections on the boxed soffit?) and the great wide frieze and all those other Classic Revival elements that make buildings like this so familiar.  But what I think is REALLY great is what it says about the people and the community that built it.  There must have been a LOT of Czech-Americans in the Richardson Gap Road area at the turn of the 20th century.  And they must have had not only a strong community but every expectation that it would survive and grow.  Why else would they have built such a large and imposing structure?  

I don’t know what happened to them, or why the Lodge was apparently converted to a private dwelling at some point.  I don’t know why (but appreciate) that nobody ever painted over the old sign on the north-facing elevation.  But I am betting that nobody in Lodge No. 224 ever expected that a future use of their fine lodge hall would be as a basketball court.

Here is a great link on the history of the Czech community in the Scio area, including some more detailed information on the Lodge....thanks, readers, for sending this along!
Czech Footprints in Oregon


  1. Here's the nomination form for the National Register. Here's its wikipedia entry, with links to additional images.

  2. Thanks CT... I searched on the address and found the nomination, but appreciate the link for anyone that is interested.