Cleek building

The walls of the C.C. Cleek building yield after nearly a century.

NOTE: The following article originally ran in the Thursday, Feb. 13, 1958, edition of the Albany Democrat-Herald.

Wrecking crews this week started dismantling a downtown Albany structure built during Civil War days. The building at Second and Lyon St. now owned by Dr. C.C. Cleek was built as a two-story frame structure about 1864.

It was the first meeting place for the Christian church here, and for many years it housed the Beam and Hecker insurance office.

Purchased about 1906 by Con Sullivan, superintendent of the Corvallis and Eastern Railroad, the building soon underwent a facelifting. The two existing floors were jacked up, and a third one built under them. The Sullivan home place then included the three-story home and a larger barn on the Second Ave. side.

It was the Sullivan home until 1915, when Dr. Cleek took over management, but it was converted into office space.

A barbershop moved from the building early this year, and the building has been vacant since that time. A corner wine shop had moved earlier.

Auto display lot

When the destruction has been completed, the lot will be leased to to the Nissen Motor Co. for displaying cars, Cleek said.

His reason for tearing the building down, he said, was that it had become a fire hazard, and too expensive to remain standing. Its construction was of such a nature that the city would not grant a permit to remodel it, he said, and the aging foundation was in need of repair.

Paint long since has started peeling from the building's face, and the distinctive steep-sloped roof showed need of repair.

But inside both the carved banister leading up the flights of stairs, and the carpeted stairways remained solid. The several rooms which from 1915 to 1935 had been Dr. Cleek's dental office still had the spaciousness of 19th century homes, but today plaster and loose boards cluttered the rooms and hallways.

Since 1935 the rooms had been preserved as storage space for his equipment.

Recalls nearby building

Standing on the third-floor level today, Cheek looked eastward from the building and could recall when in place of tar-colored rooftops, a yard and barn were in view.

To the north was a building which once housed the city fire station, but that and most of the other frame buildings visible from the upper story had vanished, he said.

Already the windows have been removed, and boards from the building's sides are yielding with a creak. Within a matter of days the building will be gone, and a line of cars will be in its place.

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