National Register of Historic Places in Jackson County

National Register #97000142: Whittle Garage Building in Ashland 19 September 2008
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National Register #97000142
Whittle Garage Building
101 Oak Street
Built 1925

The Whittle Garage Building is a rather late interpretation of the ubiquitous Falsefront commercial store that had dominated much of southern Oregon's downtown landscape since the middle of the 19th century.

An adaptable form, the Falsefront owned its character-defining facade to the desire of builders and business owners to hide their simple gable and single-slope roofs from the street. Hidden behind an extended facade, the Falsefront commercial building was presumed to create an impression of stability by making the building (and the business within) seem larger than it actually was.

From the basic extended rectangle, the Falsefront form was modified to include arched tops, stepped tops, and various other elaborate cornice lines that capped the otherwise simple facade.

As the automobile became the major form of personal transportation in the first decade of the 20th century, completely new business types sprang up to accommodate the products and services necessary to keep the machines running properly. While many locations simply modified existing houses and stores to sell or repair motor vehicles and gasoline, new architectural forms were also developed, particularly as the automotive industry became more established.

While many designs were quite grand, including entirely new forms that eventually evolved into the free-standing service station, in small towns traditional building forms were simply adjusted to better suit the new businesses that grew up along the road. One of the most adaptable forms proved to be the traditional Falsefront and so for a brief period in the 1910s and 1920s examples in concrete, brick, and other "modern" materials served as a popular and appropriate model for commercial and industrial structures.

Adapted from the NRHP nomination submitted in 1997.

When we photographed the building in 2008, it housed the Standing Stone Brewing Company.

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