Dedicated to Ruthie for all her help on the project and her friendly way of making everyone feel welcome at her Ruthie B's Antiques and Tea Room.
From a modern home in 1928 to the present time, the house which is now the location of Ruthie B's has been a landmark in the city of Springfield. Ruthie B's is a fancy little antique store with an authentic tea room. This intriguing old house has a somewhat unusual past.
In 1928 the house was actually located at 100 Mill Street because Main Street did not come out past the house yet. One family did live there until the early 1930s. The park behind the house made it a pleasant place to live. Today the park is called Island Park, but it was referred to as the Springfield Mill Race then. The Mill Race is one of the earliest man-made features in the Springfield community, located on the east bank of the Willamette River in Lane County, Oregon.
During the 1930s Main Street was expanded when a bridge was built right next to the house. The bridge connected Springfield to Glenwood. The address for the house then changed to 100 Main Street. The family that lived there moved and the house then became a bordello.
A bordello is a house of prostitution. The bordello was owned by a black man and his white wife. It became very popular and was in a prime spot by a fairly busy street. Eugene was actually considered more of a quiet and dry town than Springfield. Most people would come to Springfield if they wanted to go down town. Logging truck drivers would often stop to visit the bordello. The mayor ended up closing the place down because the loggers were stopping there too much with their big trucks and were causing traffic problems. The house was a bordello for about two years.
By 1935 another family bought the house and opened a veterinary in the basement. They lived there for about five years and sold it. The house then became a beauty parlor.
The beauty parlor was called "Bailey's Beauty Salon." Most people referred to it as "Bailey's by the Bridge." It opened in the early 1940s and stayed opened as a beauty salon until the 1960s.
The Kurilo family bought the house after Bailey's closed, and they still own it today. They have leased it to two different businesses over the years. They leased it to be a flight school around 1980. It was just a small school used to train people to fly planes. Then they leased it to be a tax office about 1985.
It wasn't until the 1990s that the house was totally out of business and empty. The Kurilos actually had a man living there to watch over the house until someone came along who wanted to lease from them. The man lived there with a sleeping bag and his dog. The house needed a lot of work.
In 1998 Ruthie had been looking for a place for her antique store. Her first location was set up in two trailers. She had to move it because it was illegal for her to have her shop there.
A costumer who had gone to Ruthie B's at its old location describes what it was like. She visited the store in 1996 on her fifteenth birthday. She said that her experience at Ruthie B's was "fun, cute, and fancy. Everything seemed perfect and it smelled like cinnamon potpourri, it was Christmas time and Ruthie had candles lit all around." Her mother took her there and they were served tea, hot cocoa, and delicious cookies. Her first impression of Ruthie was that she was very out going and made her feel welcome.
When Ruthie saw the house at 100 Main Street she knew that it needed a makeover, but she also knew that it was the perfect place for her antique store. She decided to lease it from the Kurilos. During the first two months Ruthie had the house cleaned up and a beautiful garden planted out back. The store opened September 1, 1998.
Today everyone is welcome to come to Ruthie B's cozy little store. You can have hot English tea served in a variety of flavors with fresh clumps of brown sugar and smooth Devon cream. Ruthie also serves soup and sandwiches which are both wonderful.
Ruthie B's holds theme Tea's and Private Tea's (by reservation only), Mad Hatter's Alice in the Wonderland Tea Party, and the 30s Gurlfriends Tea Party featuring "Big Red and the Gurls." IF you haven't been to any of these parties or you have never hear of them, then you should come have fun and see for yourself.
Mainly Ruthie B' is an antique store where you are welcomed right in, and if it's your first visit they serve you fresh hot coffee of your choice. You can then wander about the house and buy antiques.
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Thurston High School
May 24, 2000
Project in its entirety available at
The Springfield Museum
590 Main St.
Springfield OR. 97477
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