A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Just sayin’: Looks fine without the chimneys

Written January 24th, 2020 by Hasso Hering

The historic Goltra House on Jan. 1, 2020: Anybody miss the chimneys?

In November 2019, the Albany Landmarks Commission approved contractor Joel Dahl’s restoration of the historic Goltra House at Montgomery Street and Fourth Avenue, but members were interested in preserving a future possibility of recreating the appearance of two elaborate brick chimneys sticking out above the roof.

Dahl had told the commission that the chimneys were in such bad shape that they were dangerous and had to be removed. The commission members by and large agreed. But they asked Dahl, owner of the 1892 house he is restoring for his family to live in, to document the chimneys so they might some day be recreated.

Members talked of the chimneys being an important factor in the appearance of the house. They mentioned that someone might some day want to fashion nonfunctioning replicas from fiberglass, much lighter than the originals.

I went by the place on New Year’s Day, while work on the exterior was continuing and after the crumbling and unsafe chimneys had been taken down. It’s just an opinion, but it seems to me that the house looks just as stately with a clear roof as it did before, maybe even more so. Its hard to see why anybody would miss the look of those two brick pillars.

The restoration of this nice old house in the Hackleman Historic District is quite an accomplishment, I would think. And I doubt anybody will ever want a future owner to plop a couple of artificial, fiberglass chimneys on the roof. (hh)

These photos of the chimneys were part of the staff report before the Landmarks Commission.


3 responses to “Just sayin’: Looks fine without the chimneys”

  1. J. Jacobson says:

    It is not clear as to Hering’s motivations vis a vis the remarks he associates with Landmark Commission members when he writes, “… but members were interested in preserving a future possibility of recreating the appearance,” in relation to possible chimney reconstruction.

    This begs a question. What if the 2050 version of the Albany Landmarks Commission decides that whomever owns this home at that point in time must recreate chimneys because, in 2020, ” … members were interested in preserving a future possibility of recreating the appearance…”

    It would seem that if the Commission seeks to influence architectural restoration from the grave, then they must be explicit as to the outcomes they expect so that potential buyers can be aware of the future traps build into the purchase.

    New chimneys by Date X or else. Anything less definitive leaves too much open to Commissioner-interpretation between now and 30-years in the future.

    The open-ended nature of these Commissions is antithetical to democratic virtue. Please ask Ward 3 Councilors, Johnson and Kellum to support City codes which would make interpreting Landmark Commission voodoo, now and in the future, easier

  2. Gordon L. Shadle says:

    Applying the twisted logic of Albany’s wise old sage…..

    Griping about the Albany Landmarks Commission with the same old arguments doesn’t doesn’t change anything and doesn’t shed any light. If anyone wants to complain about the Albany Landmarks Commission, let him run for city council and then organize a council majority to end it.

    I’m thinking Albany’s wise old sage isn’t so wise after all.

    • Dad McKay says:

      Not the same. HH is not bemoaning the landmarks commission as you were CARA in a previous blog and a previous blog and a previous blog. Besides, you didn’t let your revenge get cold before serving! Emotional skin, like physical skin gets thin with age for some, it seems.


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