Preserving the Past... and a Nesting Site!

Preserving the Past... and a Nesting Site!

Many of our fans are familiar with our efforts to restore a historic roller rink into our current shoemaking workshop. In the 1950s, people from all over the local community would come together at the roller rink to enjoy snacks, skating, and friendship.

One of the most iconic features of our building over the years has been a vertical sign that originally read "SKATE" in neon red letters back in the 1950s. The building became a flea market in the 1970s, prompting the new owners to remove the lettering and paint a rainbow on the sign. This sign has stood the test of time since then and, along with a painted rainbow on the front of the building, has inspired the name "Rainbow Building" that members of the Philomath community have called this location for years.

Original Placement of Rainbow Sign
The original placement of the rainbow sign.

We restored and preserved many original features of this building, including remnants of the old skating rink floor, wood planks from the original ceiling and this rainbow sign. Not only has the sign acted as a historical reminder of the building's past, we were also delighted to discover that it has served as a home for a family of birds! Because the sign was weathered from years of exposure, we decided to give it a fresh wooden frame to ensure that it lasts for years to come… both for our community and our new avian friends.

A few weeks ago (before self-quarantine rules were in place), Softstar founder Tim Oliver took on this project with the help of local woodworker Will Fowlkes. Will gathered materials and constructed a new wooden frame to securely hold the sign in place, and we are thrilled to share the final result with you. The rainbow sign itself remains in its original condition from when it was painted 50 years ago.

Drilling Post Hole with Auger
Tim and Will drill a hole for sign's new location.

Tim and Will also dug holes in the ground for the poles and, with help from Softstar CEO Tricia and elves Tory and Levi, lifted the sign up to install it in its new home. The sign is now on display in the lawn of our courtyard behind the workshop, and we love it! Birds continue to explore their new digs, and our employees get great enjoyment out of the view.

Finished Sign
The finished product, with a little help from the team.

We hope this story makes you smile. If you ever find yourself in Philomath, Oregon (after social distancing rules are lifted) then we would love for you to visit our workshop so we can share its history and beauty with you.

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