More Demolitions on the Docket

According to the Portland Bureau of Development Services, the owners of a house at 3058 SE Woodstock are proposing to demolish the home and replace it with two single family residences. Eastmoreland, like many Portland neighborhoods, is constantly facing this sort of piecemeal redevelopment, which all too often ignores existing neighborhood context and history. With no protections in place, these neighborhoods are feeling the full brunt of the renewed interest in real estate redevelopment in the Rose City. Here’s a link to a recent real estate add for this classic 1958 home. The home was originally built for Kathryn Swenke, who moved here after her husband’s death in 1957. Swenke was apparently an avid gardener. In he 1960s, she hosted meetings of the Eastmoreland Garden Club at the home and also hosted annual picnics for the local chapter of the Red Cross Gray Ladies.

On Tuesday, July 23rd, there is also a meeting to learn more about the proposed demolition of the Cornelius Hotel located at SW Park and Alder.  Follow this link to learn more about that meeting, but public comments are not allowed at this particular meeting.

Most demolitions in Portland happen without notice of any kind, but we do know there is one planned for the home at  713 N. Humboldt and another at 2606 SW Buckingham.

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Cornelius Hotel Update as of 6/26/13

To follow upon our recent posts about the proposed demolition of the Cornelius Hotel (531 SW Park Avenue), TMT Development has gone ahead and applied for the demolition permit. You can now find this information on PortlandMaps.com. This is just the beginning of a process that will likely take several months and is not yet open for public comments. According to City staff, there will be a required “pre-application conference,” regarding the proposed demolition, on July 23rd at 8:30am at the Bureau of Development Services (BDS), 1900 SW 4th Avenue (time/date subject to change). While the public can attend this meeting, no public  testimony is taken at such pre-application conferences. Therefore, while it may be good to show TMT that  many people are interested in seeing the Cornelius saved, this is not the place to give public testimony. That time will come soon enough, however.

After the pre-application meeting, TMT can then apply for the demolition review.  Once that application is determined to be complete (and this could take some time), then the BDS will schedule a public hearing on the matter. In a nutshell, it may not be until sometime this fall that the public has an opportunity to weigh in on the future of the Cornelius Hotel.

Hopefully, this means there is still time to find a solution that leads to the rehabilitation of the Cornelius and its continued presence at SW Park and Alder.

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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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The Cornelius Hotel – Demolition and Designated Historic Buildings in Portland

As of this afternoon, there is still no additional information about TMT Development’s plans for the Cornelius Hotel. The City claims to be unaware of any application to demolish and nothing shows on-line via PortlandMaps.com. Regardless, there is a detailed process in Portland when someone wishes to demolish a designated historic structure like this.

You can download the City’s Historical Reviews information here.  http://www.portlandonline.com/bds/index.cfm?a=53488 This explains the various review processes for historic buildings, including demolition review, which can be found in the last section of the document.

If TMT decides to move forward with a demolition, it is likely that the City Council would ultimately decide whether or not to approve such action. The process could take several months, but we will continue to monitor the situation and post any information we can get about the status of the Cornelius Hotel.

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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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Future Uncertain for Now Closed University Station Post Office Building

According to the Portland Business Journal,  St.  Mary’s Academy has purchased the building that, until recently, was home to the University Station Post Office. As yet we don’t know what will become of the building that was once a showroom for the Francis Motor Co. auto dealership.


We do know, however, that the building was designed by architect Richard Sundeleaf in 1946 and constructed in 1948.  Later alterations have taken away some of the International Style flavor of the building but the distinctive exterior columns – a trademark of Sundeleaf’s industrial designs – remain intact. Perhaps St. Mary’s will consider returning the building to its former glory. Given that the building was very solidly constructed, it should be adaptable to new uses.

Francis Auto Sales at 1505 SW 6th Avenue in Portland c.1956. University of Oregon Photograph.

Francis Auto Sales at 1505 SW 6th Avenue in Portland c.1956.  University of Oregon Photograph.

To put this building in context – at the same time it was being constructed,  Pietro Belluschi’s Equitable Building, now the Commonwealth Bldg., was being built at the other end of SW 6th Avenue.  Together these two buildings marked Portland’s entry into post-war commercial architecture and the modern age of glass and aluminum building construction. New uses for aluminum became popular in post-war America as factories shifted away from military applications toward other uses in order to sustain corporate income and employment levels.

Pietro Belluschi's Equitable Building (Commonwealth Bldg.) at 421 SW 6th Avenue. University of Oregon Photo.

Pietro Belluschi’s Equitable Building (Commonwealth Bldg.) at 421 SW 6th Avenue. University of Oregon Photo.

The old Francis Auto Sales building may not be as architecturally significant as the Equitable Bldg., but nonetheless it should not be forgotten for the new age of building construction and the Golden Age of the automobile that it represents.

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