Imagine: it’s the early 1900s and you leave your beloved home of Italy to start a new life in faraway Portland, Oregon. After an arduous journey, you arrive and settle in only to discover your worst nightmare: there’s no pasta.
According to lore, this was the story of Oregon Macaroni Manufacturing Company founder Dominique Blandino, who was horrified by the lack of commercially available pasta in her new home. She sent a plea for help to her brother Dominic, who then hurried halfway around the world to provide her with some much-needed pasta molds. Once he joined her in Portland, they got right to work making macaroni, vermicelli, and spaghetti.
For most of the 20th century, Oregon Macaroni proudly produced its wares out of a factory that still stands at the corner of today’s NE 8th and Davis. In the late ’60s, however, the company was bought out and dissolved by Golden Grain, the Rice-A-Roni pioneers. After changing hands a few times, in 1987 the building ended up in the ownership of photographer Tim Holmes, who had previously rented space in the building. (Rent was $320 a month, or $800 in 2016 dollars.)
Now, the 15,000-square-foot former factory has been fully restored and is on the market in the suddenly trendy Lower Burnside or (sigh) "LoBu" neighborhood. Two bright, spacious living units on the ground floor were once used for Oregon Macaroni’s office and shipping floor, while the top floor—where pasta-makers once hung fresh pasta to dry—is now an open office area with two meeting rooms and a studio.
Thinking about buying? No sweat, it’s just a cool $3.85 million.
Want to see some old-timey footage of macaroni being made? Check out this video: