When Charles Beardmore opened the 32,000 sf Beardmore Block in 1922 there was a gala celebration in Priest River, ID (population 1,754). The facility was the center of life in Priest River, housing the local theater, Beardmore’s timber and mining offices, a department store, butcher shop, grand ballroom and hardware store.
As with many old buildings in small towns, the building has gradually deteriorated, needs a new roof and become a bit of an eye-sore. A year and a half ago, Beardmore’s great grandson Brian Runberg decided he wanted to preserve the unique building. Runberg is a Seattle architect and developer who used to spend his summers in Priest River.
I was in Priest River two years ago and was incredibly impressed with the way that the natural beauty of the region is attracting so many people to the community. Runberg probably said it better, “This building is a tangible link between the rich heritage of Priest River and its future as an emerging region in the early 21st century.”
Runberg is pursuing Gold-Certification for the building, planning to recycle 95% of all of the materials used in the reconstruction. Plans include professional office suites on the upper floor and retail on the ground floor with the old theater reopened.
It’s great to see someone come back home and resurrect the heritage of the community.