The Centennial Building

A few years after the Port Orford fire of 1868, a blaze which destroyed nearly the entire town, Louis Knapp Sr. built the Centennial Building. He constructed it in 1876, the year of America’s centennial.
Frank Smith, a German emigrant, in partnership with William Winsor, opened a tavern called the Centennial Saloon. The Saloon prospered for nearly 20 years. In 1911, Charles Long rented the quarters for his mercantile business. For 8 years, Long successfully engaged in trade at this location. In 1919, he moved back to a storefront his mother, Mary Nielsen, owned.
The Smith Brothers, no relation to Frank, opened a restaurant and confectionary called The Kozy. Robert and Crawford Smith later sold to George Mayea.

A big change came to the Centennial in 1928 when Lonnie Pugh remodeled and opened a Pharmacy. Newly arrived, Pugh was a dentist and his wife Mary a pharmacists. Pugh enlarged the windows on the east side, to better take in the view. For the dentist office, they did an addition on the westside of the building, later to become Katies Cafe.
After 1940’s, the Centennial housed cafe’s, rock shops, sport shops and a variety of confectionaries and tourist related shops.
Artist Rick Cook remembers: “The Centennial building stands where the Hawthorne Gallery has their sculpture garden today. It was 100 years old when it was torn down by local business man, Bob Sutton. It was in poor shape but had a lot of wonderful character and was popular with locals, a favorite meeting spot vibrating with historical spirit. Many of Port Orford’s finest had something to do with that building.”

The Centennial shown in 1903 in context with other historical structures, including the
Knapp Hotel and The Masterson House,
Charley Long’s Store ca. 1915
Charles Long’s Store Interior, Billiards and Smokes ca. 1913
Photo, Cape Blanco Heritage Society / Masterson Collection
You can see The Centennial right behind the Knapp Hotel in this photograph taken circa 1940. At the time, The Centennial was the home to the Pugh Pharmacy.
The Centennial Building in the Late 1930’s.
The Centennial Building when it housed Katie’s Kafe. Down the street is The Variety.
Across the street is Texaco and the Shoreline Motel. c1930.
The Centennial Building when it was Katie’s Kafe c1953.
The Centennial (at left) when it was the Battle Rock Cafe, c1960.
The Centennial two years before its demolition. (Oregon Inventory of Historic Properties)
The building was constructed on the year of America’s centennial and was demolished in 1976, the year of the bi-centennial, hence the name.
Hawthorne Sculpture Garden, Present Day

← Previous post

Next post →

1 Comment

  1. Alan Mitchell


    That’s a masterpiece.

    Outstanding research.

    I imagine it represents hours & hours of following up details, arranging interviews and emailing 🙂

    Thank you, Rick

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.