Category Archives: Local History

The Rose City Neighborhood and Lindquist Built Homes

Thanks to the work of intrepid Rose City neighborhood researcher Caryn Brooks, we now have a lot more information about one of the more prolific builders in this NE Portland enclave.

A Lindquist built home on NE 61st Avenue.

A Lindquist built home on NE 61st Avenue.

According to Brooks, if you have a 1930s English Cottage-style house in Rose City you may have a home built by the Lindquist family. The father, Eric Lindquist, along with his sons Fred, Harold (Hugo), Gus and Norman built a lot of houses in the 1930s, many with common features that are easily recognizable – if you know what to look for.

Advertisement for three new Lindquist built homes.  Oregonian October 29, 1933.

Advertisement for three new Lindquist built homes.
Oregonian October 29, 1933.

Most Lindquist homes have unique handmade fireplace tiles from the Markoff Mosaic Tile Co.

Example of Markoff tile. Image courtesy of Historic Preservation Northwest

Example of Markoff tile. Image courtesy of Historic Preservation Northwest

They almost all have ornate leaded glass picture windows.

Leaded glass window in a Lindquist house built in 1937.

Leaded glass window in a Lindquist house built in 1937.

The Lindquists built homes that are not excessively large, but they were built to last. Other architectural details that are common to Lindquist built homes include: mahogany trim and doors, colorful tile bathrooms, Tudor archways, and entry doors with “speakeasy” windows. All are hallmarks of the English Cottage style that was extremely popular in Portland in the 1920s-1930s.

One way to find out if you have a Lindquist home is to go to portlandmaps.com, plug in your address and click on the “historical permits” tab. If the oldest permit notes a Lindquist (sometimes spelled incorrectly as “Lundquist”) as the owner, it’s quite possible that you have a Lindquist built home as these homes were generally built on speculation.

Plumbing permit from 1937, showing Gus Lindquist as the property owner. You can often learn the name of the home builder by looking at permits like this one. Courtesy of PortlandMaps.com

Plumbing permit from 1937, showing Gus Lindquist as the property owner. You can often learn the name of the home builder by looking at permits like this one.     Courtesy of PortlandMaps.com

The Lindquists were not architects, but they reportedly worked with an architect who had an office on Sandy Blvd. We have yet to determine who that architect was, but by the 1920s it was starting to become quite common for architects to sell their designs to area builders.

One family member, Fred Lindquist also built an apartment building, in 1929, that today is on the National Register of Historic Places. The complex, located at 711 NE Randall,  was designed by noted apartment building architect Elmer Feig.

Lindquist Apartments at NE Randall and Hoyt. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Lindquist Apartments at NE Randall and Hoyt. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Advertisement for Lindquist built homes from the Oregonian, June 2, 1940.  The Lindquists built homes in several Portland neighborhoods.

Advertisement for Lindquist built homes from the Oregonian, June 2, 1940.
The Lindquists built homes in several Portland neighborhoods.

While little-known, the Lindquist’s  houses in Rose City provide a distinctive appearance to the neighborhood and are great examples of a style that dominated Portland’s residential neighborhoods in the two decades prior to the Second World War.

A Lindquist built home on NE 62nd Avenue.

A Lindquist built home on NE 62nd Avenue.

If you think you have a Lindquist built home and want to discuss it with Caryn, contact the Architectural Heritage Center - info@VisitAHC.org – and we’ll pass along her contact information.

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Historic Cornelius Hotel May Soon Be Demolished

According to this article in the Daily Journal Of Commerce (subscription required),  the owners of the historic Cornelius Hotel, located at SW Park and Alder, are applying to demolish the building.  The building has languished for many years, receiving one of the City’s notorious “U” signs in the process.

TMT Development which owns the property,  backed away from their 2008 plans to rehabilitate the hotel and re-open it as boutique accommodations. Apparently a more recent deal to rehab the building for veteran housing has also been set aside. That deal reportedly hinged on money from the City of Portland, a deal that has since fallen through.

The Cornelius Hotel is one of the few remaining Portland commercial buildings with a mansard style roof, giving it a European flair while also standing out amongst its neighbors, even in its current state of disrepair.

C.1920 postcard of the Cornelius Hotel from the Architectural Heritage Center collections.

C.1920 postcard of the Cornelius Hotel from the Architectural Heritage Center collections.

The building is also historically and architecturally  significant. The architectural firm of Bennes, Hendricks, and Tobey designed the hotel in 1907.  Mostly known for his buildings on the Oregon State University campus, John V. Bennes also designed numerous Portland buildings and homes – in fact he has been credited with bringing the Prairie Style of residential architecture to the Rose City.  In later years, Bennes worked with partner Harry Herzog on one of Portland’s most famous landmarks – the Hollywood Theatre.

The hotel’s namesake is also an interesting, if somewhat forgotten, historical figure in Portland history. Dr. C.W. Cornelius came from a pioneering Oregon family (the town of Cornelius is named after his brother). He attended medical school and was a practicing physician, but he also acted, managed a theater, and spent time in Alaska during the height of the Yukon gold rush. In 1907 he apparently decided to get into the hotel business and soon afterward the Cornelius Hotel was constructed. Cornelius, however, hired out the day-to -day management of the hotel to a series of individuals and for a time, the hotel gained local attention for hosting everything from railroad officials to the king and queen of the burgeoning Rose Festival. Cornelius owned the hotel until his death in 1923 and by the 1950s it had become low-income housing. It remained that way until the 1980s. In 1985 a fire badly damaged the upper two floors of the building and since that time the building has been mostly empty, although a series of tenants have used the main floor spaces over the years.

Postcard from the Architectural Heritage Center collections.

Postcard from the Architectural Heritage Center collections.

While certainly never as large or as grand as the Portland Hotel, Benson Hotel, or the Multnomah Hotel, the Cornelius has stood for more than 100 years as a testament  to Portland’s aspirations as a growing city after the 1905 Lewis & Clark Exposition. After years of dereliction, the much larger Multnomah Hotel was rehabbed and opened once again as a hotel. Just down the street from the Cornelius, the Calumet Hotel (now known as the Esquire Apartments and home to Brasserie Montmartre), was rehabbed and reopened a few years ago. In Buffalo, New York, the Lafayette Hotel was recently rehabbed. It would be wonderful to see something similar happen to the Cornelius rather than the proposed demolition. Surely there is enough creativity in town to make that happen and perhaps there is  some insight that can be gained from some of these similar projects. The building was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1986. Perhaps there are some tax credit possibilities out there that have yet to be fully explored?

Postcard from the Architectural heritage Center collections.

Postcard from the Architectural Heritage Center collections.

Detail of Cornelius Hotel roof (c.1986). Courtesy of University of Oregon Libraries.

Detail of Cornelius Hotel roof (c.1986). Courtesy of University of Oregon Libraries.

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15th Annual Kitchen Revival Tour Showcases Work of Homeowners and Local Craftsmen

This Saturday, April 13th is the 15th annual Kitchen Revival Tour organized by the Architectural Heritage Center. The tour is the largest education program of the year for the AHC.

Eight homeowners are generously opening their homes for this tour showcasing some great DIY work as well as the work of local craftsmen, designers, and contractors. If you are thinking of renovating the kitchen in your older home, this tour is a great idea-generator. Of course it’s also a lot of fun just to see inside some great older Portland area homes.

This year’s tour features a fantastic 1923 home in Laurelhurst that once served as a model for a local brick and tile company. At the time the home was built, it received tremendous local press. The current homeowners recently completed their kitchen renovation and were featured in the Oregonian. The home is now on the National Register of Historic Places.

The "Brick Home Beautiful" as advertised in the January 28, 1923 Oregonian. For homeowner privacy concerns, this image was slightly edited to remove the address.

The “Brick Home Beautiful” as advertised in the January 28, 1923 Oregonian. For homeowner privacy concerns, this image was slightly edited to remove the address.

The other homes on the tour are easy to locate and offer a variety of renovation budgets and house styles, from an 1892 Queen Anne to a 1958 Mid-Century Modern Ranch. The homes are scattered mostly throughout Northeast Portland, and besides Laurelhurst are in the following neighborhoods: Irvington, Eliot,  Concordia, and Beaumont-Wilshire. Other stops are in the Portsmouth and Richmond neighborhoods.

Tickets are still on sale – Follow this link for more information about the 2013 Kitchen Revival Tour.

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Changes May Be in Store at the Historic I.O.O.F. Orient Lodge, No. 17

Willamette Week recently reported, that the Portland Police Athletic Association has sold its building at SE 6th and Alder and plans are in the works for potential redevelopment. With that in mind, we thought it would be interesting to share a little of the building’s history.

The Francis J. Berndt designed I.O.O.F. Orient Lodge, No. 17 located at SE 6th and Alder. Built in 1908.

The Francis J. Berndt designed I.O.O.F. Orient Lodge, No. 17 located at SE 6th and Alder. Built in 1908.

The I.O.O.F. Orient Lodge, No. 17,  was built in 1908 and designed by little-known Portland architect Francis J. Berndt. Berndt was also the designer of the Henry building located at SW 4th and Oak downtown.  We don’t know much about Berndt, but what is most fascinating about his design for the lodge, is how it is almost identical to a building in London, England designed by  C F A Voysey and built only a few years earlier, in 1902. That building was constructed for the Sanderson Wallpaper Company and still stands today – known as Voysey House. Berndt’s Orient Lodge meanwhile, is the only known building in Portland reflecting Voysey’s unique version of an Arts & Crafts industrial building. In fact, according to sources, the wallpaper company building was Voysey’s only industrial building design.

Voysey House in London. Originally Sanderson's Wallpaper factory, the building was designed by C F A Voysey and built in 1902.

Voysey House in London. Originally Sanderson’s Wallpaper factory, the building was designed by C F A Voysey and built in 1902.

Oregonian article from December 20, 1908, announcing the first meeting to be held at the new I.O.O.F. Orient Lodge.

Oregonian article from December 20, 1908, announcing the first meeting to be held at the new I.O.O.F. Orient Lodge No. 17.

We’re still researching, but around 1962, the Portland Police Athletic Association acquired the lodge building from the Odd Fellows. Since that time they have used the upstairs as a gathering place and reportedly a members-only bar. The main floor retail space housed a long-time Portland office supply retailer until a few years ago when they retired and Citizen’s Photo moved into the space.

The I.O.O.F. Orient Lodge, No. 17, is listed as a primary contributing structure in the East Portland-Grand Avenue Historic District. Hopefully with this in mind, the new owners will pursue a renovation that celebrates this historic, architecturally significant, and one-of-a-kind, Portland building.

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Libraries Are Powerful

You know how it is. You hear a story about where you live and you think, “Hey – that’s pretty interesting,” and you tell someone else. Eventually the story comes back to you and you think, ‘Wait – that’s not what my aunt/neighbor/friend told me.” You resolve to find out what really happened with your house/block/region. Truth. Wow. A very big idea that probably involves History. Primary documents. Maps. Plans. Books. Wi-fi.

One of the places you can find all these things and answers about building and neighborhood history is the library at the Architectural Heritage Center. Named after Rejuvenation, its founding donor from when the Center opened in 2005, the library contains a wealth of architectural and local history resources. Staff, members, and scholars use the library for program creation, to research for the media, to help neighborhoods document their past and preserve their future, and more. Cataloging goes on and on, and there are literally thousands of research documents already available. And yes, there is wi-fi, so you can research on-line at the same time.

This Saturday’s library open house from 10 am to 3 pm is a great time to learn more. Staff and volunteers will be on hand to help answer your house history questions, and show you our recently-completed seismic upgrade measures. Items from the collection that are not normally on display will be available for viewing and you can see some things that are just cool whether you need them for a research project or not.

Two short courses on preserving personal archives will be offered at 11 am and 1 pm by Richard Engeman, historian, archivist, and author.

History is powerful. Recent news reports about rebels in Mali attacking Timbuktu’s Ahmed Baba library, a repository of unique and rare manuscripts dating as far back as the early 1200s, remind us to take care of our own libraries. Why would retreating rebels take time under fire to destroy a collection of documents? Because they know that culture and history are powerful forces and the destruction of them is a punch to the heart and soul of a people. Why did Stalin order photographs altered to remove the images of those he had killed? Because he knew that by manipulating the physical record, he could exercise control over not only his own time, but the historical interpretation of it. The historical record is influenced by who manages the story line and the documents that support it. As Churchill wrote, “History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.”

In the world of our own library here at the AHC, our members and staff are careful stewards of what was collected by founders Jerry Bosco and Ben Milligan, and given to us later by other thoughtful donors. Our repository of history doesn’t date as far back as Ahmed Baba’s, but we have many unique and rare items of local import and usefulness to share and preserve.

And there’s the ongoing query and challenge. What do we save, and how do we pay for saving it? What will best tell the story of our own time and what do we infer from the past by what items people “back then” felt were important enough to save, or saved randomly? What resources are most useful for architectural history researchers now, and how do we predict which ones will be of most import in the future? One solution today is to make digital versions that can be accessed online from anywhere, and the AHC has done some of that. But, that process, too, costs money, and we must balance the accounting books as well as the importance of the research books. In a digital era, there is still worth in preserving the originals, while at the same time making wise decisions about what best belongs online.

As a Facebook meme tells us, a certain subset of people, including me, still regret the destruction of the great library of Alexandria. In our time, we must not take the libraries in our lives for granted. Use them, support them financially, donate documents to them, and tell other people why they are important. For all of us here, and, yes, for the world.

Fiction is great and stories are powerful ways to transfer culture and teach people about life and how to live it with meaning and understanding. However, primary documents set the story straight when we need culture to be history, instead of folklore.

Come see us on Saturday. Truth can be stranger than fiction. Find out.

Written by Holly Chamberlain, Deputy Director, Bosco-Milligan Foundation/Architectural Heritage Center

 

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Two Potential New Historic Districts Under Review

Through the hard work of many volunteers, two new Portland area historic districts are now up for review and potential listing in the National Register of Historic Places. The Oregon State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) has recently posted information about the two districts on their website. The documents contain a wealth of great history and architecture in two very distinctive (and different) Portland metro area neighborhoods.

The first is North Buckman in Southeast Portland. It is perhaps the oldest east side Portland “suburb”, and contains a wealth of late 19th and early 20th century homes and other buildings.  The Historic Buckman Association, has been working tirelessly to nominate at least a portion of their neighborhood to the National Register as one of the few tools that can slow down the the influx of neighborhood-character-destroying redevelopment. You can read and download the nomination here: http://www.oregon.gov/oprd/HCD/NATREG/Pages/Central-Buckman-Historic-District.aspx

The second neighborhood seeking historic district status is Oak Hills in Washington county. This 1960s neighborhood has a number of architecturally significant homes, from the like of Robert Rummer, and is also a classic example of a planned unit development from that period. Oak Hills has been in the news in recent years as residents there have been trying to avoid the impacts of an adjacent road widening project. You can read and download the Oak Hills nomination information here: http://www.oregon.gov/oprd/HCD/NATREG/Pages/Oak-Hills-Historic-District.aspx

If all goes as planned both nominations will be forwarded to the National Park Service, with a recommendation for National Register listing, in May, 2013.

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Update on Endangered Hawthorne Houses – Public Meeting

Back in August we reported on two endangered historic homes on SE Hawthorne at 27th. Redevelopment at this site is moving forward and now it appears that one of the homes may be saved from deconstruction and moved to a nearby lot.

If you are concerned about these homes or have questions about the development, the Buckman Community Association will be discussing the issue at their monthly board meeting tomorrow evening.

Here are the meeting details:

Location:  Multnomah County Boardroom – 501 SE Hawthorne

Time: 7:00 PM

For more information about the Buckman neighborhood click here.

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The Short Significant Career of Architect Rolph H. Miller

Rolph H. Miller
Source: Oregonian March 12, 1901

Numerous architects who once worked in the Portland, OR area have been forgotten or simply lost to the passage of time. One such architect was Rolph H. Miller, who died in 1901, just as his architectural career was hitting its stride. He was only 41 years old when he died – the result of complications from an appendicitis.

According to his obituary, Miller attended school at Washington University in St. Louis. He was then hired by the University of Toledo (OH) where he became an instructor and administrator for the Scott Manual Training School. Later he took courses in architecture in the Boston area, possibly at what is now the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  It remains unknown how he became connected with them, but in the early 1890s, Miller came to Portland and was hired by the architectural firm of Whidden & Lewis to assist with their designs for the new Portland City Hall.

By 1895, Miller had joined the Portland Sketch Club and started his own architectural firm. From his offices in the Sherlock Building on Southwest Third Avenue,  he designed buildings for the Boys & Girls Aid Society and for Portland Public Schools. He also started designing homes.

Holladay School, designed by Miller, once stood on NE 9th Avenue, where the Lloyd Center is today.
Source: Oregonian May 12, 1900

In 1899, Miller designed a wonderful Classical Revival style home for Julius and Delia Durkheimer in northwest Portland. That home, with its fantastic interior woodwork, is one of the few projects completed by Miller that is still standing. On July 28th, the Durkheimer home will be featured on the Architectural Heritage Center’s third annual Heritage Home Tour.

The Durkheimer House in northwest Portland

Miller died on March 11, 1901, with several projects still in development. One of those was a home he designed for his own family, at NE 21st and Hancock, in the Irvington neighborhood. Miller’s widow never moved into the house, which was then sold later in 1901. It has since been demolished.

Another of  Miller’s incomplete projects was that of the Portland Crematorium in Sellwood. That project was taken over by architect Joesph Jacobberger, opening in September 1901. Miller actually became one of the first to be interred there.

Like Portland architect Warren H. Williams before him and A.E. Doyle  a few decades later, Miller’s career was sadly cut short. In Miller’s case however, he apparently had no business partners or family member to take over his business, so his projects were taken over by others within the local architecture community. This has led to a dearth of information about Miller. Thankfully, we still have a few places like the Durkheimer home, the Portland Crematorium (now Wilhelm’s), and City Hall to remind us all of the quality of his work.

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Kit Houses: A Significant, Yet Difficult to Identify Aspect of Portland’s Architectural Heritage

In case you missed it, the Architectural Heritage Center recently hosted a presentation on “Kit Houses” – as in homes that one could order from a catalog and receive delivered to a building site with all the pieces cut to size and coded for easy construction. Most people associate companies like Sears Roebuck or Montgomery Ward with such homes, but there were clearly other companies that had a bigger impact on building in the Portland (OR) area.

The Captain Nathaniel Crosby house was once located at SW First and Washington. This photo was taken around 1910 after the house had been moved to SW Fourth and converted to commercial use. Later demolished, it is believed that this was the first “kit house” to be constructed in Portland. Newspaper and other accounts claim the home was shipped “around the horn” already cut and ready to assemble. Image courtesy of the Portland Archives and Records Center.

Two such companies were Aladdin and Fenner. Aladdin, based in Bay City, Michigan sold homes all over the world for more than 75 years, finally closing down in 1987. In 1920, they actually opened a mill right here in Portland, where they built house kits and most certainly sold many of the kits locally, to both individuals and real estate speculators. Several Aladdin homes showed up in local newspapers when they were first built, but in reality no one really knows where all of the Aladdin homes in Portland are. However, recent research has uncovered the fact that the University of Central Michigan’s Clarke Historical Libraryhas a collection of Aladdin sales records. Perhaps one day an intrepid researcher will head to Mt. Pleasant, Michigan and discover just how many Aladdin homes were built here in the Rose City. Until such time, if yo have a home you think might be from a kit, keep an eye open for telltale signs such as some sort of alpha-numeric coding stamped on the lumber. Keep in mind, however, that there were several manufacturers of kit houses and they often used plans that were nearly identical. Naming the exact company that built your kit may prove extremely challenging.

Fenner advertisement in November 14, 1920 Oregonian.

Aladdin advertisement in January 1, 1920 Oregonian.

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The Barnes Residence: A History Revised

The Frank C. Barnes residence in the Alameda neighborhood of NE Portland (OR).
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

In 1913,  a notable Portland businessman by the name of Frank C. Barnes, had a home built on Alameda Ridge. The home was filled with amazing details like a mahogany stairway and wonderful stained glass windows.  In many ways it rivaled the Pittock Mansion, which was under construction at about the same time.

For decades the home was thought to be the work of architect David Lockheed Williams. Williams was an important architect in early 20th century Portland and the son of Warren H. Williams, architect of many of Portland’s fantastic cast-iron fronted buildings. Indeed D.L. Williams may have been involved in early plans for the home, but recent research has identified the firm of Stokes & Zeller as the architects of the home as it was constructed. Stokes & Zeller were a prolific firm, designing homes all over the east side of Portland – including many in the Sullivan’s Gulch, Irvington, and Buckman neighborhoods.

The discovery of the connection between Stokes & Zeller and the Barnes residence points out how helpful some research tools that weren’t around 20, 10, or even 5 years ago, can be.  In the past couple of years, one of the most helpful tools in researching buildings in Portland has become the Oregonian Historical Archive. Available online through Multnomah County Library, this word-searchable archive has uncovered all sorts of evidence connecting some (until now) little known architects to some very significant projects. The Barnes residence is but one example.

Over the years the Barnes residence has seen several ownership changes and at one time it was almost demolished and replaced with a synagogue, but today it has been lovingly renovated and on July 28th, the home will be part of the Architectural Heritage Center’s  Heritage Home Tour.

So now the question remains, as we continue our efforts to ensure that those interested in Portland’s past have access to the most complete and accurate building histories, what will we uncover next?

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