The Dalles Historic Landmarks Commission meeting – Clock Tower Ales & the Tony’s Town & Country Building

The Dalles Historic Landmarks Commission met last night with a pair of items on the agenda. Commissioners approved an application from Mark Powell, owner of the Clock Tower, to make a number of changes in the exterior and interior of the building, which served as Wasco County’s second courthouse from 1883 to 1915. The changes would restore several parts of the building to what it looked like in that period. This is how Powell explained some of the changes:

“Just another chapter of restoring the building, put it a little more back to historically correct, and also giving an opportunity for people driving by on Third Street to look into the entrance of what would be the courtroom there. I’m doing the inside of that room where the steps go up to the second floor to look historically correct as well. So when they peer in there’ll be a chandelier and the appropriate flooring and of course spittoons and everything to make it proper for the age.”

Powell said he hoped the work would be completed and he could reopen the Clock tower by next spring or early summer.

The second decision by the Commission will mean a big change to downtown, as they unanimously approved a request by the Columbia Gateway Urban Renewal District to tear down the former Tony’s Town and Country building on Second Street. Tony Foote bought the building in 1977 and sold it to the Urban Renewal agency in 2016. The agency paid $420,000 for the building with the intent of tearing it down and replacing it with a new structure with retail on the ground floor and housing above. But a deal with Tokela Development fell through in 2018. A second proposal to rehabilitate the building for an exercise facility fell through when inspections discovered the building had deteriorated to the point where it would cost over $700,000 to repair.  The urban renewal district said that demolishing the building would leave a shovel-ready space for future development.