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Day 207- Gettin’ down to our roots

January 15, 2011

January 15, 2010 – Still looking for that “perfect” door. Found a very good candidate in the green tag clearance area at Home Depot, but alas, it was 36″ not 34″. It’s kind of difficult to to make our rough-in opening that much bigger. The search continues…

I wanted to share another side project – researching our house history. It’s been a very lengthy project for us, sort of an on-again, off-again sort of thing, and there’s been some dead-ends as well as exciting finds. Most of research has been done in the county records office, pouring over 116 years worth of direct and indirect deed transfers. I’ll share more on where we’re at on that in another post.

For now, I want to share what I think is exciting: newspaper clippings from over a century ago that provide brief glimpses into the history of our house. The one below is from what I think is the start of the development in which our house sits (not 100% sure, more like 72%). It’s cool nonetheless. It’s called “Willamette on the Willamette” as it is/was the Willamette tract which is bordered by a street of the same name.

This is from 1891 (click to see bigger). Text is as follows:

“Willamette on the Willamette: The crown of the Peninsula, the Gem of Albina. Where is Willamette? Willamette is located in Albina just north of Terminus (?), and just south of Arbor Lodge, right upon the high river bluff – the highest point between the car shops and St. Johns. In the east and north in full view Mts. Hood, Adams and Rainier lift their might-capped heads to the clouds. In front and just beneath your feet, rolls the beautiful Willamette with it’s wonderful progression of boats, steamers and gallant ships. This tract having been withdrawn from the market for some time past is today offered to buyers for the first time. These lots are BROAD GAUGE. Remember they are STANDARD GAUGE 50×100 feet, not HALF LOTS, BUT WHOLE LOTS. The St. Johns Motor Line runs directly through the center of this beautiful tract. The trolleys are frequent and rapid and the fare is but five cents to and from the heart of the city of Portland. An abundant supply of water for the tract is now being arranged for and will positively be furnished by the company. Prices $425 for inside lots, 50×100 feet and $450 for corner lot 50×100 feet. Terms 10 per cent, cash, $10 per month on inside lots and $15 per month on corner lots without interest. Everything guaranteed as represented in this advertisement.”

In 1891 our house, or at leas the land, was actually part of a city that no longer exists today. In fact, the city was absorbed by Portland the same year. Here is another, boasting of the new water lines being installed. Ironic that the Albina Light and Power Company is a precursor of my employer today.

The next clips are more recent, when our house went for sale in 1950. Note that in 1950 our house is considered “modern” at only 60-some years old.

This is when our house went for sale in 1951, and $450 more than the previous year. Note that one year later, it’s now considered an “older” home.


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  1. Christopher permalink

    your lot was even bigger than what they called over sized back then with the lot being 75×100 instead of 50×100. Although when i measured its 101.6 feet long

    • We are actually tracking two lots when we go back in history. They weren’t owned by the same person until 1907 or so, and he held them for a decade until he moved and split the lots.

  2. Kathleen permalink

    I love that your home boasts a furnace. Was that not standard in 1950?

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