History project

Posted on November 23rd in Feature Story

Input from citizens welcome on design

Photo courtesty HARNEY COUNTY LIBRARY The Arrowhead Hotel played a significant role in Burns’ history. Plans to create a plaza on the lot where the hotel was located are underway by the HCOT.

Creating a Plaza in downtown Burns is the newest project being undertaken by the Harney County Opportunity Team (HCOT).

In July, the former Arrowhead lot owned by Bill and Ulaberl Allen, was generously donated to the HCOT.  This was the foundation for fulfilling a dream of the HCOT to provide a downtown Plaza for the community. According to Linda Johnson, HCOT’s desire is to create an attractive respite, where local citizens can stop and take a break when downtown shopping, a rest stop for visitors and a venue for community events.

The plaza, which will be known as the Arrowhead Plaza in recognition of the historical significance of the site, will be located across the street from the Harney County Chamber of Commerce. This will provide easy access to maps and information about the area, enticing visitors to stay a little longer or, perhaps, to plan a return visit to Harney County.

The Arrowhead Hotel, originally located on the vacant property at the corner of East A and Broadway, was built in 1914 by Henry (Hank) Levens, a rancher who at one time, served as Harney County Judge. The building, when it was constructed, housed a theatre, the Welcome Drug Store, a Chinese restaurant and a tailor shop on the balcony.

In 1934, Grover Jameson, D. C. Jordan and Daniel P. Jordan bought out Levens.  Daniel P. Jordan built the frame and mounted Grover Jameson’s impressive arrowhead collection for display, and the Levens building became the Arrowhead.  Don Casey purchased the property in 1945.
The building underwent many changes, with additions and remodeling taking place periodically.  A 100-foot x 50-foot annex was constructed to the rear of the original building in late 1938, connected with the second-floor guest rooms. Built of native stone, the Arrowhead was a handsome example of the early 1900s architecture.

However, as the years progressed and habits changed, the hotel’s usefulness as a hostelry decreased until the hotel portion closed. The cost of keeping it going had made it decidedly unprofitable, although the restaurant and lounge were still doing well, increasing in gross revenue each year, according to Van Wilson, who was the manager of the Arrowhead in 1973.

In 1973, a devastating fire destroyed almost the entire structure. Rather than rebuild, the stone walls were torn down and it has remained a vacant lot since that time. (This historical information was provided by Jan Cupernall, the Historical Society and the Harney County Library.)

Several ideas have been discussed for the design of the Arrowhead Plaza, including a small amphitheater at the east end for music events and educational and scientific lectures.

Creating a place for a permanent community Christmas tree has also been a topic of discussion. HCOT is also determining how they can utilize the Arrowhead Plaza to depict the county’s western culture and heritage.

However, the first step in the process is to obtain a conceptual design or architectural drawings. Detailed drawings are necessary for discussions with individual donors and particularly, for foundations.  The design will also provide HCOT with the information necessary in determining the actual cost of the project. HCOT is working with the Architecture Foundation of Oregon and others on a design for the Arrowhead lot.

Anyone who has knowledge of a design from past groups or individuals relating to the Arrowhead lot, is asked to contact HCOT. Once the design phase is complete, the fund raising will commence, with construction starting after all necessary funds have been raised.
The HCOT said, “Your support of the Arrowhead Plaza is essential to the success of the project.”

All donations are tax deductible as a charitable contribution. A donation form is available on the HCOT website, that can be filled out and mailed to HCOT. Go to www.harneycounty.com and click on the HCOT link on the far right-hand side of the page — this will take you to the HCOT web page — the donation link is near the bottom of that page. Donations can also be dropped off at the HCOT office, located in the Chamber of Commerce at 484 N. Broadway.

For more information on this project, contact any of the following HCOT board members: Peggy Asmussen, Fred Flippence, Bill Wilber, Bill Renwick or Joyce Moser.

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