Historic Washougal building to be fixed up

110-year-old Oddfellows structure may become taproom, restaurant

The Independent Order of Oddfellows building was built in downtown Washougal in 1908. Hewitt Homeschooling was previously located in the 10,318-square-foot building at 2103 Main St. A bakery, church, hardware store and custom cabinet shop are among the other previous tenants. Neil and Corrine Lorch, of Washougal, purchased the historic building on .23 acres for $271,000 in May of 2015, with the hope of attracting operators of a tap room/restaurant and a commercial business. They are proposing that three apartments be located on the second floor.

The future renovation of a historic building could bring new life to a sleepy corner of downtown Washougal.

Neil and Corinne Lorch are proposing the restoration of the former Independent Order of Oddfellows building, constructed in 1908, at 2103 Main St. They want to convert the first floor, previously occupied by Hewitt Homeschooling, to be a tap room/restaurant as well as space for commercial use.

The Lorches are also hoping to locate three apartments on the second floor of the historic structure.

City of Washougal planning, engineering and fire staff are reviewing final site and engineering plans that were submitted last week.

“It seemed like a good opportunity to renovate the downtown,” Neil Lorch said Tuesday.

The Lorches have lived in Washougal since 2008.

Neil described the interior of the 10,318-square-foot building as a shell.

“I’m not sure how long (the renovation) would take,” he said “We can’t wait to start though.”

Charline Wright, owner of Columbia River Realty, in downtown Washougal, said the area needs more restaurants and retail businesses.

“We need something that brings people downtown,” she said.

Wright said the Downtown Washougal Association has done a good job of organizing family friendly activities, including the “EGGstravaganza” Easter egg hunt, “Pirates in the Plaza” and Pumpkin Harvest Festival.

“That is bringing people downtown and helping with the revitalization,” she added.

Wright would like to see a grocery store, such as Winco, open in Washougal, but she is not sure if it could locate in the downtown area.

“There are a lot of blue collar families that need affordable groceries,” she said. “That is what is missing in Washougal. They head to Vancouver.”