In downtown Brookings, Oregon, the Central Building dominates the intersection on U. S. Highway 101 between Wharf and Center Streets. The city’s oldest historic building was built in 1915 as the administration building for Brookings Company. This company was comprised of the Brookings Land and Townsite Company, California and Oregon Lumber Company, the Brookings Commercial Company, and the Northwest Railroad Company. Together, these entities owned and operated Brookings from 1906 through the late 1920s.
Located on the Chetco River, Brookings had a hotel, hospital, commissary, theater and mercantile store, in addition to the lumber mill and houses for its workers.
From 1915 through 1921, the company cut and shipped about five million dollars worth of lumber each year from Curry County to Oakland, Redondo Beach, San Pedro and Long Beach, California. The company owned five steam schooners, one of which was the S. S. Brookings. It also owned a railroad, a lumber yard in Oakland, and two barges in Oakland Bay.
Mr. W. Ward, a Civil Engineer who graduated from Cornell University in 1901 and came to Brookings in 1907, designed the administration building. Now known as Central Mall, the spacious structure houses offices, shops, and a tiny museum of historical artifacts.