Building to reflect Washougal history

Blair Building newest addition to Clark County Heritage Register

Clark County Heritage Register properties

Camas-Washougal properties* on the Clark County Heritage Register include:

American Legion Post 27 Bennett-Barnett Hall, 1554 N.E. Third Ave., Camas, circa 1935

Blair Building, 1801 Main St., Washougal, circa 1925

Camas Main Post Office, 440 N.E. Fifth Ave., Camas, circa 1939

Charlie and Rose Farrell Building, 305 N.E. Fourth Ave., Camas, circa 1924

Farrell House, 416 N.E. Ione St., Camas, circa 1915

John Roffler House, 1437 N.E. Everett St., Camas, circa 1906

Johnson House, 526 N.E. Hayes St., Camas, circa 1911

Leadbetter House, 1317 N.E. Everett St., Camas, circa 1909

Pittock-Leadbetter House, 114 N.E. Leadbetter Road, Camas, circa 1901

Sunnyside Memorial Cemetery, 1000 S.E. Coffey Road, Washougal, circa 1881

*A complete list of historic sites in Clark County is available at clark.wa.gov/historic-sites.

A coat of arms is located on the historic Blair Building in downtown Washougal. The artwork was already on the building when Bruce and Heidi Kramer purchased the two-story structure 12 years ago.

"Cub-napped," by Travis London, is street art painted on a wall of the historic Blair Building. London said the art depicts the story of the Lewis and Clark expedition taking the cubs in 1806 when they camped in Washougal and found a den without a mother bear.

Sculpture faces, created by Portland mask maker Diane Trapp, are on the exterior of the historic Blair Building in downtown Washougal. The building's owners commissioned Trapp to create the artwork.

The 3,700 square foot Pittock-Leadbetter House is located at 114 N.E. Leadbetter Road, Camas. Henry L. Pittock, a former publisher of The Oregonian, built the 2.5 story Queen Anne style structure in 1901. The house, listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979, was restored in the 1980s. (Post-Record file photo)

The Parkersville National Historic Site, located near the Port of Camas-Washougal marina at 24 S. "A" St., Washougal, has a man-made pond, as well as picnic tables, a rose arbor and interpretive panels with information about early settlers. The park is a National Historic Site and may soon be included on the county's heritage register. (Post-Record file photo)

The Farrell House, located at 416 N.E. Ione St., Camas, has been on the Clark County Heritage Register since 1983. John Roffler built the two-story Neoclassical structure for his sister Ursula and her husband Charles Farrell, in 1915. (Contributed by Joe Blanco)

A building in downtown Washougal that combines historic and whimsical touches is the newest addition to the Clark County Heritage Register.

The Blair Building, built in 1925 at 1801 Main St., was originally used as a meat market and butcher shop. The Chinese Cafe and The Sushi Joint are now located in the two-story structure, owned by Bruce and Heidi Kramer since January 2006.

The Kramers used to own and operate Salvage Safari, then Main Street Mercantile, next to the Chinese Cafe.

Heidi said she and Bruce were inspired to seek historic designation for their building after attending a presentation by Jacqui Kamp, a planner with Clark County, at the Camas Public Library. Kamp included information about the 2012 listing of the American Legion Post 27 Bennett-Barnett Hall at 1554 N.E. Third Ave., Camas, on the county’s Historic Register.

Heidi said she and Bruce value historic buildings and want to preserve the original charm and workmanship that went into the Blair building.

“We marvel at the intricate brick construction of the building exterior and the strength and beauty of the old growth lumber used in the interior framing and windows,” she said.

Seven original apartments that have been used as storage on the second floor of the Blair building are being rebuilt as four live/work studios — ranging in size from 450 to 850 square feet — that will be ready for occupancy later this summer.

The Kramers will have a management company determine the rent amounts, based on the market rates for the area.

Artwork includes wildlife, whimsical faces

Travis London, a Washougal resident for more than 30 years, painted “Cub-napped” on one of the exterior walls of the Blair Building.

He said the art depicts the story of the Lewis and Clark expedition taking the cubs in 1806 when they camped in Washougal and found a den without a mother bear present. The explorers then traded the bears for wapato tubers, similar to potatoes, with Native Americans.

London graduated from Washougal High School in 2000 and is an elementary school teacher in Vancouver.

Heidi said the Blair Building had seven mysterious round mortar circles along the top. They could not find anyone who knew the history or purpose of the circles, so she and Bruce decided to add artwork by Diane Trapp for whimsy and interest, commissioning her to create sculpture faces inspired by the green man.

Trapp creates masks for a gallery in New Orleans as well as for theater productions and television shows.

Her artwork on the Blair Building includes six sculptures of faces surrounded by leaves.

“One of Diane’s final pieces (that) exploded in the kiln, was remade three times with the same results,” Heidi said. “We decided (to) leave it off at that point, which exposes one of the circles. Most people assume the heads are original to the building, and one fell off.”

For more information about the Clark County Historic Preservation program, contact Community Planning at 564-397-4909 or visit www.clark.wa.gov/community-planning/historic-preservation.