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[graphic] Ashland, Oregon National Guard Armory
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[photograph]
The Old Armory houses offices and a public hall today
Photograph by Terry Skibby

The Oregon National Guard Armory in Ashland was built from 1912 to 1913 as headquarters for the town's National Guard Company. It is one of only four pre-World War I armories extant in western Oregon. Designed by Oregon's first State Architect William C. Knighton, the Armory reflects the influence of two period styles, California Mission and Gothic Revival. Characteristics of the former include symmetrical composition, curvilinear lines on the parapet, and casement windows, while Gothic Revival elements are seen in modified pointed arched openings, masonry facing on a concrete frame, and battlements.

[photo]
Historic image of the Armory, date unknown
Courtesy of The Terry Skibby Collection

Ashland's history of loyal military service began during the Civil War when Captain Abel Helman formed Company A, First Regiment, First Brigade of the Oregon Militia; it was to be a continuing commitment into the 20th century. Significantly, when a meeting was held in January 1911 to discuss possible armory construction, Ashland residents who attended the meeting were particularly interested in the armory's potential as a community center. Armory construction in the latter part of the 19th century and the early decades of the 20th figured significantly in the military development of Oregon.

Although designed for military use, in November 1912 members of the First Company Coast Artillery Corps announced plans to hold public entertainment in order to equip the armory with chairs, lockers, and stage fittings. The building was the site of the funeral of the first Ashland soldier to die in World War I and it served as a contact point for families whose men were overseas. Recently refurbished, the building now houses offices and a public hall that continues its community service tradition.

The Ashland Oregon National Guard Armory is located at 208 Oak St. Public events are frequently held here. Call 541-482-1271 for further information.

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