The Pourhouse Tavern, one of Aberdeen’s oldest buildings, was torn down Monday morning to make way for the long-planned Gateway Center, which would be used to promote local tourism and house community space and offices.
The old Selmer’s Furniture building, the brick structure next to the Pourhouse on Wishkah Street near Zelasko Park, will be knocked down on Tuesday morning, according to a Rognlin’s employee overseeing the demolition. The work is expected to last through most of the week.
While the buildings are being destroyed, the city instructed Rognlin’s to salvage some structural materials from both buildings. In the city’s contract, it asks them to salvage up to 20 percent of the floor beams, as well as some flooring from the Pourhouse. Aberdeen Mayor Erik Larson said the beams would be used in a future historical exhibit for the building.
As well, the contractors were told to preserve at least 50 percent of the brick from the facades of the old Selmer’s building, specifically the walls along East Wishkah and South F streets. Larson said these bricks would be used in the construction of the Gateway Center as a way to recycle building materials.
On Monday morning there was a pile of about a half dozen wooden beams next to the Pourhouse site, a few of which were cracked apart.
The Pourhouse was the last wooden building to survive Aberdeen’s major fire in 1903, and some on social media lamented the demolition and said this was the last link to the early architecture of Aberdeen. The Pourhouse was used as a two-story hotel in the early 1900s, when it was on the corner where the Selmer’s building was, according to local historian Roy Vataja in a Facebook post. In 1922, it was moved over to make space for the Selmer’s building, Vataja wrote.
The bar was also a popular music venue. Some in Aberdeen recall Nirvana playing at the Pourhouse, but former Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic told The Daily World he doesn’t remember performing there.
After the demolitions are finished, Larson said the next step for the Gateway Center would be a soil analysis, and then engineering and architecture design for the center. Funding is already available for those stages.
The city hopes to get some funding for construction in this January’s state capital budget, and Larson said the city is talking with potential private donors. Larson said construction of the Gateway Center would probably be sometime in 2020.
From 8:30 a.m to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, Wishkah Street will be reduced to one lane on the block of the demolitions, and the northbound lane of F Street next to the Selmer’s building will be closed down to facilitate demolition.