Arleta Library listed in National Register

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Arleta Branch Library, renamed the Wikman Building, is now on the National Register of historic buildings.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

For several years, Multnomah County officials considered what to do with a former Arleta Branch Library building that they renamed the Wikman Building, and used as a program administrative office.

In community meetings ideas were bandied about ranging from turning it into a community-run cafe, to a farmer’s market, to a business incubator space.

>> See past stories about selling this building: CLICK HERE.

However, on October 15, 2016, it was sold to private buyers for $260,000.

Neighbors were concerned that it might be turned into another strip club, tavern, or merely torn down to make way for housing.

While the exterior of the building remains intact, new businesses have taken root in the historic structure, the Saint Frank’s Music retail music store, Justin Phelps Recording, and Hallowed Hall.

“We’ve been really excited to be here,” said Deanna Phelps of Saint Frank’s Music. “We’ve had visitors who have been doing tours of old Carnegie libraries. They were excited to see the way the building has been preserved.”

At a later date, Phelps invited East Portland News in for a tour of the building that she said hosts the largest live recording studio in the Pacific Northwest.

The Wikman Building, built in 1918 as the Arleta Branch Library, is now listed in the National Register of historic buildings.

And, as of March 15, the 1918 brick Colonial Revival-style building has new significance; it has been assigned record #16000088 in the National Register, which is maintained by the National Park Service under the authority of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966.

“This is one of only three libraries in Portland that are individually listed in the National Register,” said State of Oregon Historic Preservation Office Historian Ian Johnson.

With new owners, and a unique creative use, this important building will continue to be an iconic structure in the Mt. Scott-Arleta neighborhood.

© 2016 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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