Carol Phillips didn’t pick the most opportune time to buy a historic building in downtown Baker City, but she shrugged off a bit of bad luck to turn the structure into an award winner in less than two years.
Phillips bought the 1895 Haskell Building in January 2017.
Less than a month later, a heavy load of snow collapsed part of the roof of the adjacent Crabill Building, causing minor damage to Phillips’ new property.
But Phillips didn’t let that derail her plans to restore the Haskell Building’s facade and make other improvements to the 123-year-old building on the east side of Main Street between Court and Washington avenues.
Her efforts were acknowledged Wednesday with an award for best facade renovation at Oregon Main Street’s Excellence in Downtown Revitalization ceremony in Albany.
Phillips’ award was one of three bestowed on Baker City.
Barley Brown’s Brewing was honored as business of the year.
And the Baker City Little Big Show, a community art show, won the award for best downtown retail event.
Phillips, who also is president of Baker City Downtown, said she was excited about the city’s trio of awards.
“It was nice to have Baker receive so many awards,” she said.
Phillips said her goal was to make the Haskell Building’s facade more closely resemble not only its original version, but also to fit in with the many other historic buildings that have undergone renovations over the past 30 years.
“I just wanted to restore it back to a more vintage appearance, to get rid of the ’70s look,” Phillips said. “To me it was not attractive.”
The renovation included new paint, replacing metal window frames with wooden ones, and renovating the recessed street-level windows on the portion of the building that houses Delicioso restaurant to make them flush with the rest of the building.
The restoration also uncovered windows on the first floor, and Phillips replaced all the street-level doors.
She didn’t limit the restoration to the Main Street side of the building.
Phillips said she also renovated the eastern facade, which faces Resort Street, to complement the work the city did in 2013 along the street between Auburn Avenue and Campbell Street.
The project included burying utility lines, rebuilding the street and sidewalks, installing decorative streetlights and planting trees.
The Haskell Building houses two businesses — Delicioso, and Royal Artisan, a framing gallery owned by Phillips’ daughter, Kate Reid.
Phillips said she would like to use the building’s second floor as well, a 5,000-square-foot space that once was the Baker Elks Lodge.
“I hope to spruce things up there, but to leave it original as much as I can,” she said.
Baker City Little Big Show, best downtown retail event
This was the third year for the Little Big Show, which takes place in August.
“When we started The Little Big Show three years ago the goal was to do something bigger than First Friday and to incorporate all the galleries and shops as well as local charities to promote art,” said Brian Vegter of the Baker Art Guild. “Our audience of local and visiting art lovers has grown over the past three years and has also grown the number of participating artist with 2018 involving 67 from around the Northwest.”
This year’s show budget was $700. Vegter said there were more sales, an additional gallery, and more than $1,000 was donated to Baker County charities.
The opening night of the show has people visiting all locations in search of art, as well as through the month of August.
“It’s an amazing event to witness and the many volunteers and artists that help to bring it all together each year are what makes this event so special,” Vegter said.
Barley Brown’s Brewing, business of the year
The business, which includes a microbrewery, restaurant and taproom, in two separate Main Street buildings at the intersection with Church Street, celebrated its 20th anniversary this year.
Barley Brown’s beers have won more than 80 awards in national and international beer competitions.