Pendleton Historic Resources Inventory - Methodology


The Pendleton Historic Resource Inventory is the product of a survey of historic structures, sites and landmarks within Pendleton's 1985 Urban Growth Boundary. It includes a representative selection of resources from a broad range of residential, commercial, industrial and historic uses.

Research for this inventory was heavily dependent on volunteer efforts. Interested volunteers were solicited through personal contacts and media releases on the inventory work. The volunteers were trained and given specific tasks in the early weeks of the research efforts. They were also provided with forms for recording data on each resource as it was uncovered.

Survey and Research Procedures

The Inventory work began with a 'windshield survey' of the entire City of Pendleton. All of the potential resources were plotted on County assessor's maps and their addresses were recorded. A preliminary assessment was also made of the potential significance of each resource into one of three categories:

  1. Definite significance
  2. Possible significance
  3. Questionable significance

A second survey included photographing each of the resources and documenting their significant features. At this time resources were added and deleted, based on the number of similar resources and their relative integrity. In particular, those of 'questionable' and 'possible' significance were re-evaluated. The photographs were then sorted by style for further comparison. Following this second survey, a list of approximately 250 potential resources was compiled for research into past owners, prior uses and dates of construction.

Research was conducted in three specific phases by separate groups of volunteers. In the first phase, research into county deed and tax records was conducted entirely by trained volunteers. The research sought to identify a probable date of construction through the recorded changes in ownership and value of each particular property. Though tedious, this procedure uncovered some of our most valuable and reliable information. Tax valuation records dating from 1911 were also used when possible, but were not helpful for the older structures. In the second phase of research, also conducted by volunteers, information on prominent Pendleton families and general Pendleton History was gathered. Sources included. personal interviews, City directories as early as 1890, historical literature written on Pendleton and early editions of the East Oregonian newspaper published in Pendleton.

In the third phase, early maps were studied by volunteers and the staff of James Lynch and Associates. Color microfilm of Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps dating from 1884 through 1922 was particularly helpful for identifying building construction dates and documenting the city's growth. However, the earliest Sanborn maps were very limited in area and many historic structures now located within the city were not covered. These very accurate maps also helped in the approximate dating of building additions. Early survey maps, obtained from the Umatilla County surveyor's office, showing roads, land holdings and the "Old Emigrant Road" (Oregon Trail) were studied to locate possible sites of historic significance. Upon inspection of these sites however, no original road segments or farmstead remains were identified.

Resource Evaluation

Very few resources were identified for which sufficient data was available to base the significance of the resource on historical events or persons. Where important names occur in the deed records these have been included in the significance statements, however, in most cases architectural significance was the main factor determining the inclusion of a resource in the Inventory. Because of the large quantity of historic resources in Pendleton, resources of similar styles were reviewed as a group and a representive sample of each style was selected for inclusion.

Resource evaluation criteria include age, integrity of location, integrity of historic character, purity of style, physical condition, uniqueness and documentability. Each architectural style and major sub­ type identified within the city is represented by at least one resource. Where very few examples of a particular style exist the criteria for inclusion were somewhat relaxed. Conversely, when a large number of examples exist the criteria for evaluation were more strictly applied.

The resulting Inventory includes a representative sampling of resources but is by no means a comprehensive inventory of all the historic properties in Pendleton. Additional work will be required to complete a comprehensive listing of Pendleton's historic resources. Preliminary survey work for this inventory identified over 100 additional potential resources but many more could be included in a comprehensive inventory. There are also a number of "future" potential resources, not yet old enough to qualify, and possibly some archeological sites.

Due to limitations of time and finances, none of the resources have been exhaustively researched. Alterations have been identified where they are obvious or verifiable, but seldom were precise dates available. Since the names of architects and builders were also seldom available, the names of original owners have been included whenever possible to aid current and future property owners wishing to do more thorough research on individual properties.

Resources Previously Listed on the Pendleton Comprehensive Plan Inventory of Historic Structures, Sites and Districts

The current Comprehensive Plan Inventory includes all resources which have been independently placed on the State Inventory or the National Register as well as a few structures not listed at either the State or National levels. We originally hoped to re-inventory all of the resources previously placed on the State Inventory to include additional information and to standardize the- inventory format. Due to limitations of time and finances, this was not possible. These resources, as well as those on the National Register, are listed in Section III and are also identified on the Reference Maps included in Section IV. For reference, copies of the original State Inventory Forms have also been included in Section III. Comprehensive Plan resources not previously listed at either the State or National levels are included in this Inventory.

Primary and Secondary Periods of Significance

For purposes of analysis, primary and secondary periods of significance have been established which generally correspond to those established for the recently completed National Register Nomination of the South Main Street Commercial Historic District. The primary period includes construction through the year 1904 and landmarks commemorating events which occurred through 1904. 1904 has been established as the cutoff between the two periods because it is about the end of Pendleton's tremendous initial growth period. By this time, the downtown blocks were essentially filled with commercial buildings and the wood-frame frontier buildings along Main Street had all been replaced by substantial brick structures. Also, about this time, the architecture of the commercial buildings changed from the elaborate high style trend to a more modest approach. In residential construction a distinct style change occurred between the two periods. Before 1905 the Italianate and Victorian styles dominated residential construction. After 1905 the Colonial Revival and Craftsman styles were dominant. In fact, only the Shingle style spans the two periods, forming a transitional link between the Queen Anne and Craftsman styles.

The secondary period of significance includes buildings, sites and bridges constructed between 1905 and 1941. Though buildings constructed between 1935 and 1941 are not yet 50 years old, three of particular importance have been included in the inventory based on their upcoming historic status. First, the Temple Hotel is a rare Eastern Oregon example of the Art Deco style and will undoubtedly qualify for listing on the State Inventory in the future. It was remodeled to its present height and style in 1937 but still uses the structure of the original two story Hotel St. George constructed in 1898. Second, the Pendleton Municipal Airport was first located at its present site in 1934. In 1941 it was improved and served as the training base for "Doolittle's Raiders" who led a strategic attack on Tokyo in April of 1942. Thus, the airport site will have future National significance. Third, the Pendleton Round-Up Grounds have been the site of the Round-Up since 1911. The current stadium dates from 1940, however, replacing the original wooden structure which was destroyed by fire in that same year.

Resource Statistics

- Primary
- Secondary
- Primary
- Secondary
- Primary 1 2 3
- Secondary 0 3 3
TOTAL 23 146 169
* State Inventory 15
  National Register 4
  Both State & National 4
  TOTAL 23

** Resources on the Pendleton Comprehensive Plan not previously listed on the State Inventory or the National Register are included in this Inventory.


This completed Inventory, together with the resources previously listed on the State Inventory and the National Register, represents Pendleton's best preserved and most important historic resources. Through the identification of these resources we hope to spark a spirit of pride in Pendleton's past and an interest in preserving what is left for the future.