Exner: Generations through Corvallis

The Peacock Bar and Grill is located at 125 SW 2nd Street. They are open for outdoor seating and takeout seven days a week from 7:00am to 12:00am.

“Go Beavs!” can be heard as one Oregon State student shouts to another while walking down Monroe between bars on a typical, COVID-free Friday night.  

Like every great town, Corvallis is filled with years and years of history to tell. Founded nearly two and a half centuries ago, and named after “heart of the valley,” Corvallis immediately began to prosper.

For many people, Corvallis has helped them grow into the humans they know themselves to be today. It’s taught some how to transition from childhood into adulthood, and so many other unforgettable and valuable lessons. Not to mention, what better way to make an already exceptional town even more exceptional, you may ask? Well, one way of doing so is by building the greatest college of all time amongst it: Oregon State University.

On a more personal note, an immense reason as to why I chose to attend OSU is because this place felt like a community the moment I drove through those town lines. It’s a place where your neighbors are your friends, no matter whether you know them or not. 

While I may be a bit biased about that last statement, being a senior who attends OSU and all, let’s discover other perspectives who also feel as passionate about this town and its classic hangouts as I do.

Three OSU community members, including current student Ellen Conway, class of 2022 and majoring in Business Management with a minor in Communications; Tammy Conway, class of 1996, and Erin Haynes, class of 1972, each have a different frame of mind about Corvallis and their time well spent here. With a time span of 40 years difference, Corvallis then is a different world compared to what it is now.

Nonetheless, the quality of Corvallis is no different, as it is still the same great little town. This is how Tammy, being Ellen’s mom, played such a major role in Ellen’s deciding factors of attending Oregon State.   

“After looking at schools out of state, it was definitely in my best financial interest to stay in state for college. Also, both of my parents attended OSU and loved their time there. Hearing all of their stories my whole life definitely helped my choice,” says Ellen. 

One of the most prominent ways of noticing how this town has evolved is through its buildings and the memories that correlate with what those places once were. For places like Peacock and Squirrels, both located downtown, they’re timeless. While they are both still standing, however, they are not the only popular places anymore for college students to wander their way into. 

“I would say Downward and Clods are my two favorites,” Ellen said on what her go to bars are in Corvallis.

I know from first hand experience that she is not alone with this statement. I think other students here may agree that they are the most popular bars nowadays and it’s a scary world envisioning life without them. Just think back to those never ending lines outside of Clods or the packed patio seating at Downward pre-COVID to see their popularity. 

Not only do we have bars in the Best College Town in the PAC-12, but we have some long-standing restaurants too. Some of the current fan favorite options include American Dream Pizza, Sky High Brewing & Pub and Block 15 Brewing Co. 

Let’s rewind time, and take a look into what the restaurant scene looked like for Tammy back 1996 when she was a student herself at OSU. 

“Well, The Dream was probably the most popular for a more casual thing, but when my parents came to town there was a restaurant called Michael’s that was right down on the river,” Tammy said.  

She also mentioned a place by the name of Gables, which was also a popular place for students to take their parents from out of town. Haynes spoke very highly of this famous Gables. 

“Really the best restaurant was called the Gables,” he said. Haynes was a former recruiter of the Oregon State Football team, and Gables was his go to place when taking any recruit out for a nice steak. He spoke about a place that was where Tommy’s is now, which used to have roller skating waitresses who would come to the cars and serve. 

“That was always fun,” Haynes said as he reminisced about what once was a much simpler town. 

I mean, it can’t get much better than a 50 cent pitcher from a bar called Dons Den, which Haynes used to hop over to once he was done at Peacock. Or as Tammy and many others once called it, “the top of the cock.”

While many things have changed within the town lines of Corvallis, one thing will never change, and that’s the feeling of home. I cannot wait to one day tell my story to a fellow class of 2060 Beav, about how my time was spent while getting a drink at Downward and eating at Sky High way back in 2021.

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