HOUSE AND BUILDING HISTORIES:
Researching and writing house histories are ongoing projects. In Portland, I have researched house and building histories for residences in the following neighborhoods: Alameda, Laurelhurst, Buckman, Mock’s Crest, Hillsdale, downtown, West Hills, Skidmore/Old Town, Goose Hollow and more.
I was recently featured on Oregon Public Broadcasting’s Think Out Loud to discuss my knowledge of house history research in Portland and have taught several classes on the subject at the Architectural Heritage Center.
A typical house history will include original research, identifying such information as the original owner and builder and/or architect, all past owners and tenants and significant changes to the building over time. A house history will also include historic context, by placing the home within the history of its neighborhood, detailing its architectural style(s), understanding other buildings designed by the builder and/or architect. Historic maps and images, contemporary photographs and other research materials will accompany historical narratives for each building, all bound in a presentable manner.
The Martin C. Thompson House
3104 NE Dunckley Street was constructed in 1921 in Portland’s Alameda neighborhood. Victor and Barbara Russell of Yamhill County purchased the lot in the Olmstead Park plat in 1914. The Russells never developed the land and in 1921 it was sold to Martin and Cathenka Thompson. The Thompsons contracted Norwegian builder Knut J. Clifton to design and construct a one-and-a-half story frame house for them on the lot. Clifton built other residences in Alameda, including his own home on NE Mason Street. The house was completed in the fall of 1921.
The Kathryn Stein Buck House
3070 NE Dunckley Street was constructed in 1911 in Alameda's Olmstead Park. Plans for the new residence were first announced on December 30, 1910. Kathryn Stein, a young Portland resident, was designing her own home, to be constructed by her father, Ernest Stein. This was to be the home for Miss Stein and her fiancé Bernard Carsten Buck, following their wedding in the spring of 1911. Kathryn Stein designed all of the elements of the home, preparing the architectural drawings herself. The plans were accepted by the city building inspector and construction began in January 1911.
The Brick House Beautiful The unique English Cottage house, known locally as the Brick House Beautiful, was built between 1922 and 1923 as a model home for the Standard Brick & Tile Company of Portland, Oregon. The house showcased nearly the entire catalogue of Standard Brick & Tile materials, with the exterior facades boasting impressive brickwork, laid in a multitude of patterns, shades and textures. The rich exterior details were carried into the interior, with textured plastered walls, tiled floors and a striking brick and tile fireplace. The home also served as an exhibition of “ideal brick hollow wall” construction, a building technique first introduced in the United States in 1921.
Designed by Otis J. Fitch in the neighborhood of Laurelhurst, the Brick House Beautiful became the center of a major advertising campaign undertaken by Standard Brick & Tile. Construction progress was reported weekly in the Oregonian and architects, contractors and prospective buyers were encouraged to visit the site and watch the house rise. The Brick House Beautiful opened to the public in early 1923, one of the first model homes in Oregon to encourage major public inspection and exhibition.