Pioneer Hall is a much-loved community building in the tiny retirement village of Ryderwood, Washington. The building was originally the first aid station, during Ryderwood's days a logging town. For the past several decades, it has served as the social epicenter of the small town, notable for being the clubhouse of the local Women's Club.
Backstory and Context
The First Aid Station, now known as Pioneer Hall, is situated on the south side of Ryderwood, across the street from the city park. When first built by Long Bell Lumber Company in 1923, the building was isolated, but over time the land around it has been developed.
Pioneer Hall is a simple, rectangular building with small front and rear porches and a plain façade. The original asphalt shingle roof has been replaced with a metal roof; it was replaced when the windows were updated and the wooden sidewalks replaced with concrete ones. One original element of the exterior, is the Douglas Fir narrow horizontal lap siding, which is still intact. Original or historic interior features include: horizontal bead board paneling, Douglas Fir wood flooring, built-in cabinetry and original trim. The kitchen cabinets appear to be of the 1950’s vintage.
The building was one of the original buildings constructed in the Ryderwood logging town of 1923. Originally known as the First Aid Station, the building was a vital part of a logging town that was relatively isolated from other communities. The nature of the work of loggers made the First Aid Station a necessary addition to the camp. The First Aid Station had its share of joy too, as many babies were born in the building!
After the sale of Ryderwood to the Senior Estates Company in 1953, the building served various purposes, including a real estate office. The building was renamed “Pioneer Hall” by the Ryderwood Achievers Group, upon their purchase of the building in 1976, to honor all of the women who came before them. The Ryderwood Achievers Group, and its successor,the Ryderwood Women’s Club, have used the building as a gathering space and club house for several decades. Currently, the building is a point of pride for the Ryderwood community and is still a critical part of social life for many of the townspeople.
M. Zweifelhofer, personal communication, Feb. 14th, 2017, with help from D. Brittell.