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Medford’s Jennings Building Has Long History

A shop built in Medford, Ore., in 1927 still stands on North Riverside Avenue and Fourth Street.

Surrounded by a new development, the lonely little Sam Jennings Building has been a fixture in Medford for nearly 90 years, used mostly by automobile-related businesses.

Due to its mission-like appearance and a long ago connection to Texas, the little structure earned the nickname “The Alamo.”  The area was known as “Auto Row” during the 1920’s and 30’s. The 1930 Polk Directory lists Ellison McEwen as the owner of Medford Auto Wrecking at the building.  Also listed are the F.E. Sampson Auto Freight and Fuel Company, and the Pierce Auto Freight, one of the largest motor   haulers in Oregon at the time.

The Jennings Tire Company, established in 1923 at another location, moved to the present building in 1936.  Roy’s Feed Store occupied the building until 1942, and Jennings has been in the building since the mid-1950’s.  The Medford Historic and Cultural Resources agency considers the Sam Jennings Building as one of the best examples of late 1920’s-era automobile development on Pacific Highway. 

 

Sources:  Kramer, George S. "History of Historic and Cultural Resources City of Medford ." 1995. 66-68. Web. 19 May 2016. https://www.ci.medford.or.us/SIB/files/Survey%20Phase%202.pdf; Mann, Damian. "Remember the Alamo." Mail Tribune 15 Aug. 2012 [Medford, OR] . Web. 19 May 2016. .

Luana (Loffer) Corbin graduated from Southern Oregon College, majoring in Elementary Education.  The summer after graduation she was hired to teach at Ruch Elementary, where she taught for 32 years. After retiring, Corbin worked for Lifetouch School Photography and then returned to Ruch as an aide helping with reading instruction and at the library.  More recently, she has volunteered at South Medford High.