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Coos Bay OR Marshfield School architecture (#1098)

Coos Bay OR Marshfield School architecture (#1098)
I was looking for a way to avoid traffic on US 101 and happened to notice up a hill, in sort of an odd place, a large building that looked like an auditorium. I decided to go investigate, and came across Marshfield School (Marshfield was the original name of Coos Bay). The architecture for three of the buildings is quite unique, and also similar to the architecture often found in school buildings funded by the New Deal. Searching around, I was able to find a link (see below) that said the auditorium (this picture) was constructed with New Deal funding but it did not mention the other buildings which are similar in style.

The Wikipedia (see below) for the school does say that the Main Building and West Gym were constructed to fit with the overall theme and were built in 1940 and 1939, respectively. Considering the time of construction, the similarity in styles, and that the WPA was active in the area at that time, it may be that these were all New Deal. In any case, they’re interesting examples of art deco. Though the websites say ‘art deco’, they have enough ‘streamline moderne’ feel that it seems to me they might be considered to be PWA Moderne style.

Auditorium link: bluebook.state.or.us/facts/scenic/dep/dep23.htm
Wikipedia on school: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marshfield_High_School_(Coos_Bay,_Oregon)

Diane Putnam has particularly liked this photo


7 comments - The latest ones
Diane Putnam
Diane Putnam
Wow! That is downright majestic! Yes, probably all New Deal. KF has a few of them, such as the P.O. and Natn'l .Guard Armory (now the county museum). I kind of like the Soviet look of this - lol!
12 months ago.
Don Barrett (aka DBs… has replied to Diane Putnam
The "Soviet" look is the influence of the Moderne movement, much of which is about architecture designed to suggest a forward moving and ever progressing society.
12 months ago.
Diane Putnam has replied to Don Barrett (aka DBs…
I remember learning about that in art history a million years ago. That style can be...well, I don't have the right word for it... Aggressive? Intimidating?
12 months ago.
Don Barrett (aka DBs… has replied to Diane Putnam
I tend to look at it as if seeing it through the eyes of someone in the middle of the depression, and thus see it as being a symbol of hopefulness for the future. BUT, I can see that it also holds a message of a too-strong state.
12 months ago.
Diane Putnam has replied to Don Barrett (aka DBs…
Yes, that's probably a more informed interpretation. Mine is an emotional one. : b
My take on this building is it's a hybrid of Bauhaus/Moderne/Art Deco. I spend time on Google Street View in Russia (also a couple of E. Euro. countries have SV) and see this kind of thing, but most of it is now crumbling like a villa in Havana. I adore the shabby, avant-garde bus stops www.slate.fr/grand-format/arrets-bus-abribus-sovietiques-herwig and the city entrance signs are especially funky and fascinating. Pripyat: enformable.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Chernobyl-Pripyat-8.jpg It's probably been done, but I'd love to roam around Russia (wow, tall order) and photograph signs.
12 months ago. Edited 12 months ago.
Diane Putnam has added
It also occurs to me that millions of Americans were enamored by Communism in the '30s, so perhaps some of our architects were influenced by the Soviet style.
12 months ago.
Don Barrett (aka DBs… has replied to Diane Putnam
I'd come across that bus stop page a number of years ago, I'd love to see them.

I agree about the similarity but think the common element across multiple cultures was the assumption/hope that industrialism could solve everything. Marx assumed that industry would advance to the point that all workers, freed from work demands and from the limits placed by the capital class, would have plenty of time and opportunity to explore. The tyranny of the "Communist" countries was quite a distance from the the ideals (something we know something here about as well). Propaganda, on both sides, influenced architecture into an expression of striving for some higher, common, good that was not achievable.
12 months ago. Edited 12 months ago.