“I am trying to date this bread bag (pictured) I found partially buried in the sand under Breakaway Lodge in Gearhart,” Jeff Johnson wrote. “The sand under the building seems to preserve things well, and can mummify dead squirrels. The structure was built in 1924 as St. Margaret’s by the Sea Convent, a summer retreat for Holy Names Sisters. It was built right over the dune vegetation, and the roots are still well-preserved.”
A little research revealed the Butter-Nut Baking Co. was owned by James H. Kelley and B. Rupert Koblegarde, a name that can be found in Portland even now (http://tinyurl.com/butterbake).
The Ear suspected the bakery bag probably dates prior to the 1922 fire — which started under nearby Thiel Brothers pool room, at what was then 532 Commercial St., and wiped out most of downtown Astoria (http://tinyurl.com/Ast1922). If so, 661 Commercial St. would not be the same address now, as the city was re-platted after the fire.
“You are right,” Liisa Penner, archivist at the Clatsop County Historical Society, said. “The numbers roughly doubled. 661 Commercial would be about 1440 Commercial today.” (Sweet Relief Dispensary is now at 1444 Commercial St.)
“At 661 Commercial (the bakery) would have burned in the December 1922 fire …” Liisa explained. “The 1920-1921 Astoria City Directory lists Dixie Bakery at 626 Commercial, close to the 661 address, maybe adjacent to it.” After the fire, “in the September 1924 Astoria Phone Book, the Oregon-Dixie Baking Co. was located at 221 Seventh St., almost across the street from what is now the Flavel Carriage House. … It is later listed at the southwest corner of Seventh and Duane.” So, the bag definitely predates the 1922 fire.
Bonus history tidbit: Also before the fire, “in 1904, Bridget Grant, who is noted for her shanghaiing activities, was living at 614 Commercial St., upstairs,” Liisa noted, “and was still living there, according to the 1920-1921 directory, almost over the Dixie Bakery.”
The only mystery remaining is how the bread bag wound up in Gearhart. A picnic at the beach, perhaps?