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Retail shops now occupy the Enders Building
Photograph by Terry Skibby

This building, constructed in 1910, was designed by Rogue Valley architect Frank Chamberlain Clark and has strong associations with H. G. Enders, an influential Ashland businessman who operated the largest mercantile establishment between Sacramento and Portland here in the period 1910 to 1928. Upon the death of H. G. Enders in 1928, local businesses closed the day of his funeral. Clark began his architectural practice in Ashland in 1903. While in a previous job in New York he was responsible for the architectural details of Madison Square Garden. Ashland's first concrete commercial building, the Enders Building has "Chicago" style characteristics very different from the usual vernacular brick of its period. Its construction marked the shift in commerce away from the traditional town center in the mill area around the Plaza. Upon completition, it was the largest building of its kind in Southern Oregon and for many years was the largest mercantile establishment between Sacramento and Portland.

Histoirc image, c.1928, of the Enders Building--an early example of a department store with interior walkways
Courtesy of The Terry Skibby Collection

The Enders Building was an early example of the department store concept with fire doors between each shop providing an interior walkway through the long structure, while outer doors to each shop opened off Main Street. These shops included men's clothing and furnishings, ladies ready-to-wear and dress goods, a 15-cents store, a music department, a restaurant and confectioners, hardware and sporting goods, and a grocery. Passengers from the morning train stopping in Ashland often shopped there and returned home on the later train. Today the individual shopkeepers maintain the Enders Building as an example of Ashland's continuing prosperity. The second-floor Columbia Hotel, the only surviving hotel from this period, continues to flourish today.

The Enders Building is located at 250-300 E. Main St. The stores and eating establishments that now occupy the building are open to the public during normal business hours. The Columbia Hotel which occupies a portion of the building can be reached at 1-800-718-2530.

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