Jan. 14, 2014
The Rinehart Building in Portland is Oregon’s latest entry in the National Register of Historic Places.
The two-story blond-brick Rinehart Building was constructed in 1910 along an important streetcar line in Portland’s historic Albina neighborhood. It is notable as one of the few remaining commercial buildings in Albina associated with the social and cultural fabric of the African American community. In 1939 Albina was already home to the majority of Portland’s African American population. The number of African Americans in Portland swelled during WWII to fill the large number of war-time shipbuilding jobs, and discriminatory housing practices funneled these new residents to the Albina area. After the war, African American-owned businesses along Williams Avenue flourished. The Rinehart Building was home to a number of African American-owned enterprises, including the Cleo-Lilliann Social Club. Begun in the 1950s, the Club served as a community and charitable organization that provided entertainment, social support, and fundraising, and was a forum for community activism. The Club hosted many notable African American musicians, such as B. B. King and George Foreman. When the Club closed in 2001 it was considered to be one of the oldest African American social organizations of its kind in Oregon.
Oregon’s State Advisory Committee on Historic Preservation recommended the building’s nomination in October 2013. More than 550 historic Portland properties are now listed in the National Register, which is maintained by the National Park Service under the authority of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966.
More information about the National Register and recent Oregon listings is online at www.oregonheritage.org (click on “National Register” at left of page.