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[graphic] First National Bank, Vaupel Store & Oregon Hotel Buildings
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[photo]
The First National Bank, Vaupel Store & Oregon Hotel Buildings--now the Oregon Shakespeare Festival's Welcome and Education Center
Photograph by Terry Skibby

The First National Bank Building, now used as part of the administrative office for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, was built in 1909 to house the successful banking business that was founded in 1901. It was one of the first commercial buildings on East Main Street after the turn of the century and drew other businesses away from the Plaza area as the bank became Ashland's primary financial facility during those early decades. The building contains a variety of masonry work incorporated in the walls and decorative detail.

In 1910, the brick and concrete Vaupel Store/Oregon Hotel Building was constructed directly north and adjacent to the bank, sharing a common wall. Stylistically eclectic, the architect tried to tie this building visually to its neighbor with brick work trim. The first floor was commercial space with large plate glass windows to allow the maximum space for merchandise displays. C. H. Vaupel, longtime Ashland businessman, first leased this space and remained there until his death in 1931. The Oregon Hotel occupied the second floor, which had 18 guest rooms, each with hot and cold water and a telephone.

[rotating photos] Historic images of First National Bank and the Vaupel Store/Oregon Hotel Building, c.1920s
Photographs from the National Register collection

In the more than 90 years since its construction, the Bank has been used only for that purpose, leased office space, and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, which purchased it in 1967. The building has always been at the economic heart of the community. Today, as part of Ashland's primary tourist attraction and source of local education and entertainment enrichment, it is an important factor in the Festival's integration within Ashland and in the stabilization of the central business district. The courtyard between the Festival theaters and the First National Bank building serves as a metaphor for the continuation of history and tradition so typical of Ashland.

The First National Bank Building, Vaupel Store and Oregon Hotel Buildings is located at 100 E. Main St. The Festival's Welcome and Education Center on the Main St. side is open to the public Tuesday through Sunday: summer hours are from 9:30am to 8:00pm, spring and fall from 9:30am to 6:00pm.

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