Dallas Forty to refresh facade

Photo by Jolene Guzman

DALLAS — Dallas Forty will soon be known as Corby’s again.

The downtown bar, located on Main Street, is the recipient of a Diamonds in the Rough grant through the state Historic Preservation Office. The Dallas Downtown Association applied for the grant on behalf of the longstanding business.

Diamond in the Rough pays for historical facade restorations and, in this case, will take the front of the building back to what it looked like in the 1940s. The grant, which awards up to $20,000, will be combined with another through the Dallas Urban Renewal District.

Owners Jason and Christine Wright said the building has been a bar since the 1930s, but was known as Corby’s for the longest time, from 1946 to 1996.

“Corby’s was the most memorable in this place,” Jason said. “A lot of the regulars still call it Corby’s.”

The restoration will open up the front windows, including the transom windows that have been boarded over for years.

“We are looking forward to bringing some of the outdoors in here,” Christine said.

Work on the facade will begin after being given the go-ahead from a structural engineer, Jason said.

The couple met while serving in the U.S. Air Force. They moved to Salem where Jason grew up. They purchased the bar last August after researching the business.

“I think that we saw a lot of potential in the history of it,” Christine said.

She said they aren’t certain just how long that history is, with some documents saying the building was constructed in 1910, while the deed says 1925.

“We know it’s old, though,” Christine said.

Eddie Nelson, the DDA’s treasurer, said she was thrilled to learn the DDA had received its first Diamonds in the Rough grant.

“The DDA is very excited to be working with Jason and Christine in restoring the Dallas Forty,” she said. “Taking the business back to the historic name of Corby’s will be bringing a lot of wonderful memories back to so many Dallas residents.”

Jason said at some point they would like remodel the inside, which could include remodeling a second floor that is hidden by a drop ceiling. He said they will apply for the state’s Main Street program grant, which pays for interior remodeling.

Given how competitive the Diamonds in Rough grant is, Christine and Jason still are celebrating that their application made the cut. Jason said he didn’t have a lot of hope it would.

“It’s based on funding, so it’s good to know that Oregon is supporting its businesses and its history,” Christine said.

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