Out of My Mind, March 8, 2012

Sad to see the Peerless name change, but….

It is sad to think that with the sale of the brick Peerless building to the owners of the Rancho Chico’s Restaurants the “Peerless” name will be retired. However, as sad as this historical name change is, it’s not the first time the building has undergone changes – just look at the historical sign recently erected on the building’s side by the Okanogan Borderlands Historical Society. The building started out as the DeGrubb and thankfully adopted the Peerless name that at one time adorned first one, then two wooden hotels located to the north of the brick building. And since the fire in the 1970′s the building, which was once a three story hotel, has been used as a single story restaurant. That was quite a change in itself.
Although the Peerless is so very rooted in the town’s history, checking out some of the other new historical signs will show you that Hometown Pizza and Pasta was once the Red Front Store — it has been home to a hardware store, insurance agency and Drummond Drugs before becoming Hometown. Fire has made other changes in town, many can still remember the Kozy Kitchen Cafe, which once stood between Hometown and my late father’s and his partner’s business, the Pastime Tavern – fire took out that restaurant and threatened to take the surrounding buildings with it. Things change.
Instead of worrying about a name change (Rancho Peerless perhaps?), Oroville should be excited one of our empty buildings will be filled with a business. That side of the street has been looking pretty empty, with the exception of Hometown, the dental clinic, Trading Post, Sun Lakes Realty and NVH’s therapy center. The office building on the opposite corner from our offices remains empty, as does the Pub and Pastime and on the west side of the street Yo Yo’s is vacant (talk about name changes). However, the new owners of the Pastime say it will be reopened before May Day and that’s something to look forward to. From a purely selfish point of view, I hope it keeps the Pastime name, but if it doesn’t that’s not the end of the world either. At least another business will have new life breathed into it.
We’re not a ghost town, but sometimes it looks like it. If we can just get occupants for these other empty buildings Oroville’s downtown core will be much improved. Rather than creating competition for existing businesses, it will be helpful to everyone, bringing more people to town for the added things to do while they are here.
Maybe all this name changing means it’s a good time to start a historical sign display out in back of the Depot Museum. I could see the Peerless sign and maybe the Pastime and Pow Wow Drive-In signs living on at the museum as one more way to honor the history of businesses past.

About Gary DeVon

Gary DeVon is the managing editor of the Okanogan Valley Gazette-Tribune and celebrated his 25th year at the newspaper in August 2012. He graduated from Gonzaga University with a degree in Communications - Print Journalism, with an emphasis in photojournalism. He is a proud alumnus of Oroville High School. His family first settled in Okanogan County in the late 1800s. His parents are Judy DeVon and the late Larry DeVon and he has two younger brothers - Dante and Michael. Many family members still call Oroville home. He has a grown daughter, Segornae Douglas and a young granddaughter, Erin.

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