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Lane County Farmers' Union Cooperative Wholesalers' Association Building (Eugene, Oregon)
Object NameLane County Farmers' Union Cooperative Wholesalers' Association Building (Eugene, Oregon)
Alternate NameFarmers' Union Cooperative Building (Eugene, Oregon)
Down to Earth Farm and Garden (Eugene, Oregon)
CountryUnited States
Site Detail532 Olive Street
CatalogerEdward H. Teague
Object Typearchitecture
built works
exterior views (visual works)
NotesThe Farmers' Union Cooperative building is a shiplap clad, vernacular building in downtown Eugene. It has a sense of being hand-built, like rura farm buildings of the 1920's and 30's, and derives a liveliness from its multiple additions. Its front facade reads like an old, small town farm store where folks gather around a wood stove to talk, on creaking wooden floors with sweet grain smells filling the air. Its great massing and irregular roof of elevator shafts and sheds, give hint to the mysterious processes hidden within; where grain rattles through secret passages and is magically transformed. It offers an intriguing, accessible story about the past, and people are drawn to it as they seek to experience and understand their roots. The building was built in three major sections, each one expanding the Cooperative's capacity to store and process feed grains for its members. Built with the cash, materials and labor available from within the membership at a given time, the farmers never hired architect, engineer or building contractor. With their families' help, they did the designing and the building, saving only the electrical wiring and roofing for subcontractors. Begun in 1923, (Lane County Tax Records) one might call the building's overall "style" agricultural eclectic, because each addition took the form required to meet the functional needs of whatever was being housed. Although rambling, the building does have an overall sense of consistency. Its basic footprint is contained within a simple rectangle. It has a relatively consistent structural system, and a parapet wall with drop channel siding that wraps most of the structure. Its formfollows- function eclectism is most apparent in the roof line, the south face and interior. The Farmers' Union Cooperatve building is used today very much as it always has been. Retail farm and garden supplies are sold in the easternmost, front section. Processing still goes on in the central section, although substantially reduced from the volumes characteristic of its hayday. And the western end, built for volume storage, serves that function today. Like any wooden farm structure, this building will always want maintenance attention, which was lacking for perhaps two years prior to its purchase by current owners. Overall, however, it is in good condition, serving well the uses to which it is currently being put. Historically, it is completely intact, with minor manufactuing additions made in the mid-1950's and an occasional superficial layer over original material. (Source: National Register nomination)
Metadata NotesDescription of this work is based initially on documentation supplied by the image provider. It is often the case with gift slides that very little information is provided. Review and updating of descriptive information by the collection cataloger is ongoing.
Digital CollectionBuilding Oregon: Architecture of Oregon & the Pacific Northwest
Source CollectionArchitecture & Allied Arts Library, University of Oregon Libraries,
PublisherUniversity of Oregon Libraries
Copyright© University of Oregon. This image is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License ( ). Acknowledgement of the University of Oregon Libraries as a source is required.. All rights reserved.
File Namepna_16219.jpg
Contributing InstitutionUniversity of Oregon Libraries
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