Masterton Building

The William G. Masterton Building is located at 110 North Molalla Avenue in Molalla, Oregon.  The building was the first one built from bricks and structural-clay tile made by the new Molalla Brick and Tile Company.  Masterton Garage was built in the Spanish Colonial Style, i.e. "mission style", an architecture that was unique for Molalla.  The construction of this building started a whole new trend of brick commercial buildings in the area.  Other than one bay being enclosed, the building is intact as originally constructed with massive inside beams.  It is stucco with a brick bulkhead.  It has a red clay tile shed roof at the parapet and brick outlines the corbel.  Sidelights flank the front door.  The 92 year old building is in excellent condition today.

 

On July 30, 1925, the Molalla Pioneer announced the "New Fireproof Garage:  One of the oldest buildings which marked the beginning of Molalla is being torn down to make room for a modern structure.  It is the building occupied by the Masterton Garage and is known as the Fermann building.  Masterton is erecting a 50 foot X 80 foot concrete and iron building.  It will be strictly modern and as near fire proof as possible.  There will be two entrances off the street which will have folding iron doors.  The stock department will be in the center of the building with plate glass windows with iron frames.  The roof will be tar and gravel.  Floor Concrete.  The front will have a very pretty design with stucco finish and brick trimmings.  It is to be finished by September 20th.  J. D. Owens is the chief contractor.  He has sub-contracted the iron work and a few other special jobs."

 

William G. Masterton

William G. Masterton was born September 20, 1858, at Simcoe, Ontario, Canada.  His father was also named William Masterton.  The father, born in 1829, had immigrated from Ireland to Canada in 1849.  He met and married Eliza Ann Madden and they raised their family in Simcoe, Canada.  William G. was the second oldest of ten children.  William took up the occupation of his father who was a blacksmith and horseshoer.

In 1872, William G. immigrated from Canada to the United States.  On July 1, 1884, he married Jennie Naomi Jones at Livingston City, Michigan.  Their only child, Laurence Earl, was born in Michigan in June of 1893.  Laurence served in World War I, came back to Molalla and became the first paid Fire Chief at the Molalla Fire Department.

 

The 1910 U. S. Census, lists William G. as a blacksmith, who owns his shop.  It was located on Fourth Street in Canby, Oregon.  Around 1914, the family moved to Molalla, where William opened a blacksmith shop in a wood frame building.  In March of 1921, he took out a three year lease on the Fermann building.  He expanded his business to include "Cars for Hire or Drive It Yourself" and "Cars Stored by Hour or Day".  By August, he was also advertising "Guaranteed Auto Repairing" with the opening of an auto repair room.

 

By late October, 1925, the new garage was finished.  A new ad stated that they would continue the cars for hire business on an enlarged lot.  By 1927, he was selling Firestone Tires and Dodge Motor Cars.  He continued this business until February, 1932, when he sold the garage property to J. J. Tobin.

 

Around 1920, the Masterton’s built a new home at 222 East Third Street in Molalla.  The architectural style is 20th Century Vernacular/Craftsman.  It is a very pretty house with “W. G. Masterton” engraved in the front sidewalk.  William died in Clackamas County, Oregon, on September 21, 1934.   Jennie died in Washington County, Oregon, on March 4, 1950.

 

In 1956, James Bentley bought the property from Fogleson Feed.  He ran the Bentley Feed and Seed Store until his son, Tom, took over in 1981.  In 2010, Tom’s son, Brian, took over and serves the community today, making a good use of the building.

 

 

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Photo #1: This is a 1990 photo of the Masterton Garage, now Bentley Feed and Seed.  The Spanish Colonial architectural style is unique in Molalla.  Photo from the author’s collection.

 

Photo #2: As soon as automobiles came on the scene, they started rumbling down the streets of Molalla.  They quickly became popular, encouraging several garages to set up businesses in town.  The Fermann building in the photo was the building torn down and replaced by Masterton’s Garage, now Bentley’s Feed and Seed.  Photo courtesy of the Molalla Area Historical Society.

 

Photo #3:  The Masterton family home at 222 East Third Street is one of the historical homes in town. Built in the early 1920s, it has “W. G. Masterton” engraved in the front sidewalk.  Photo from the author’s collection.

 

Bibliography:

“Bentley Feed Store”, Rural Voice, Date unknown

“Masterton Garage”, Building #809, Clackamas County Resource Form, 1984

“Masterton Garage”- Ads, Molalla Pioneer, April 27, 1921, July 7, 1921, August 11, 1921, May 22, 1922

“Masterton Garage Nearly Finished”, Molalla Pioneer, October 29, 1925

“Masterton’s Garage”, Molalla Self Guided Walking Tour, Judith Sanders Chapman & Lois Helvey Ray, 2009

“New Fireproof Garage”, Molalla Pioneer, July 30, 1925

“W. G. Masterton Leases Formann Building”, Molalla Pioneer, March 24, 1921

“William G. Masterton”, 1881 Canadian Census, Simcoe, Ontario, Canada

 

@2018 Gail J. McCormick

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