Ryderwood, Washington ~ "The Village in the Woods"
1923-53: "World's Largest Logging Town";
Since 1953, the Oldest "Planned Community for Retired Persons".
Located at 201 Morse St., the building was the logging town's First Aid Station and Infirmary. It has belonged the women of Ryderwood since 1957. The building was placed on The Cowlitz Co. Historical Register in April 2017 by the Ryderwood Women's Club.
Ryderwood Community Church
Photo date "2/2/26"
Photo date "1924"
Pioneer Hall (former First Aid Station)
Photo date "Mar 1959"
Ryderwood, WA 98581 - U. S. Post Office since 1924
Today's Community Library was former Loggers Cafe
At the request of early residents, Long-Bell built a non-denominational church for Ryderwood, stipulating that it be open to all for as long as the building stood. Architect E. N. Larry designed both wings of the Church. What is today's Annex was constructed first. The church was re-organized in 1954 and incorporated in 1966 as a non-denominational church.
Both wings completed by 2/4/1927
Photo date "2/2/26"
Historical and pictorial documents confirm that Long-Bell architect E. N. Larry designed the following Town buildings that stand today.
This 1924 photo is the earliest known showing the First Aid Station (lower right) Community Hall (middle left) and "Merc" (middle right). By early 1926, the E. N. Larry designed "Tavern", Cafe, Post Office and Community Church had been constructed.
The building at 208 Morse St. was the logging town's Cafe. The porch was added early and the front windows remain intact today. It has served as a Library since the Town became a retirement community. All materials are donated and loaned on the Honor System. The variety includes books, video and audio media, and jigsaw puzzles.
Mail has been continuously delivered to this Post Office since 1924. At first, Long-Bell's Longview, Portland, & Northern Railroaddelivered mail 3 times a day - the “Galloping Goose” (a "speeder") brought the early mail. After 1930, a Star Route from Vader provided twice- daily service. Payroll came in by registered mail and the carrier had to be armed.
The original Long-Bell "Merc" burned in the late 90's. The current structure was made possible with a Gates Foundation grant and volunteer labor. Unlike other community properties, the Cafe is not supported by Association dues. It is self-supporting due to volunteer participation. While is is called a Cafe, its offerings are limited to those on the Activities shown on the "What's Happening?" page.
"The Merc" / Ryderwood Cafe
One of the original Long-Bell buildings. The left (shorter) end includes a Dining Room, inspected Kitchen, Exercise Room, Public Restrooms, and "The Nest" Gift Shop. The taller section contains the Auditorium with a stage. The Town Office and Men's Club & Game Room are located at the far end of the building.
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