Shaver-Bilyeu House

This Queen Anne farmhouse was built in 1906 by William and Lizzie Shaver. According to the National Register of Historic Places nomination form,

Adam Shaver, his older brother, Francis, and his mother, Elizabeth, were overland pioneers of 1852. They established adjoining claims on the good prairie bottomlands of the Tualatin Valley. In the familiar pattern of frontier settlement, the first houses on the claims were log cabins. The descendants of the initial settlers frequently acquired smaller acreages nearby the family claims and built houses reflecting the fashion prevailing at the turn of the century. Such was the case with the Shaver House, which was built by William, a son of Adam Shaver.

Shaver-Bilyeu House, c1984 (Oregon State Historic Preservation Office)

William farmed the land as his father had before him. 1906 tax records show that he and Lizzie had two horses, seven cattle, seven sheep, and four pigs.

William Shaver

After Lizzie and son Percy died William left the house and farm in 1919. He died at the Shaver family home near Durham Station on June 14.

Morris Moses and Alice Myers purchased the property in 1919. It was later inherited by their daughter Edna Bilyeu, who moved into the house with her husband, John. It remained in the Bilyeu family until 1965 when it was purchased by Robert Scott.

Shaver-Bilyeu House in the early 1990s (Oregon Digital)

Around 1970 the house was moved about 40 feet when SW 92nd Avenue was widened. At that time the house was also place on the diagonal, so it is no longer square with the street.

When Dan and Jacque Quello bought the house in 1990 it was in bad shape. According to a 2006 Portland Tribute article “The roof was caving in, windows were boarded up, and only dirt surrounded the house.” The Quellos set to work fixing up the 3,600-square-foot house. They also built a gazebo, added a pond, and created several English-style gardens. In 1993 the house was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Quellos used to host weddings until the City of Tigard denied them a conditional use permit in 2006.

The Shaver-Bilyeu House is now known as the Quello House. Trees and vegetation make it nearly invisible from the road.

The house in 2012

Location of the Shaver-Bilyeu/Quello House:

Barlow House

In 1845 when Samuel K. Barlow and his party traveled over the Oregon Trail, Barlow decided to find a better way between The Dalles and the Willamette Valley than the route pioneers were currently using, which was to float down the treacherous Columbia River. He scouted a route up and over the Cascade Mountains and the road he established became known as the Barlow Road.

Samuel Barlow
Samuel K. Barlow (Wikipedia)

In 1850 Sam Barlow purchased land from Thomas McKay, a former employee of the Hudson’s Bay Company. Sometime during the 1850s, Sam’s son William bought his father’s farm, and Sam moved from his farm to Canemah, near Oregon City, where he died in 1867. In 1859 two rows of black walnut trees were planted from the farmhouse to the road. They were the first black walnuts planted in Oregon.

William Barlow
William Barlow (Find A Grave)

During William’s tenure a community grew up near the farm. When the railroad came through in 1870 a station was built nearby and named after him. The growing community would eventually become the town of Barlow (incorporated in 1903). William Barlow started a sawmill, a grist mill, the first post office, and the Barlow Bank and Land Development Company.

The house that had stood on the property burned down around 1883. In 1885 William built a house on the same spot in the Victorian Italianate style, which was popular from the 1860s through the 1880s.

Barlow House
Barlow House, date unknown (Rootsweb)

The house passed to William’s daughter Mary in 1896, and it was later sold out of the family in 1906. William died in 1904 at the age of 81.

William Barlow House in 1976 (Oregon State Historic Preservation Office)

The house was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977 and still stands as a prominent landmark along Highway 99E in Barlow.

Barlow House in 2012

Location of William Barlow House:

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H. Russell Albee House

Harry Russell Albee was born in Rockford Illinois on September 8, 1867. In 1890 he married June Lewis. In 1895 he sold his Michigan business, the Bay City Lumber Company and moved to Portland. He won a seat on the Portland City Council in 1903. In 1910 he was elected to the Oregon Senate. In 1913 he was elected as Portland mayor. He was the first Portland mayor elected under the new commission form of government (Portland had just switched over from the ward system). He led the efforts to develop the city’s public docks and supported measures to implement the expansion of parks.

H. Russell Albee, 1913 (

In 1910 Albee purchased eight lots that stretched 500 feet along a ridge above the area that would eventually become Laurelhurst Park. He commissioned Portland architect A.E. Doyle to design a house, one of the first homes that would be built in the new subdivision that was developed by the Laurelhurst Company. Doyle designed a 120-foot-long house with an orientation and room layout that maximized views towards the park.

H. Russell Albee House, c1940 (Oregon State Historic Preservation Office)

The colonial revival house was built in 1912 and featured a solarium, living room, dining room, library, and kitchen on the ground floor and a sleeping porch, sitting room, and four bedrooms on the second floor. The house has undergone a few changes over the years. The kitchen was remodeled, a skylight was installed, and marble tile was installed in the solarium, among other things. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1992.

H. Russell Albee House, 1912

Location of H. Russell Albee House:

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Augustus Fanno House

Augustus Fanno was born in Maine on March 26, 1804. He worked as a seaman and then a teacher. While teaching in Missouri in 1933 he married Martha Ferguson. In 1846 they traveled the Oregon Trail with their five-year-old son, Eugene, and settled in Linn City, across the river from Oregon City. Martha, who had been pregnant during the overland trek, died in childbirth shortly after their arrival.

Augustus Fanno, 1846 (Oregon State Historic Preservation Office)

Fanno set out to find some land to call his own and found a suitable spot along the banks of a creek that would later be named after him. He and Eugene settled on the 640-acre land claim in September 1847. His was the first claim to be filed in what would eventually become Washington County. He recruited local Native Americans to help him build a log cabin. In addition to farming his land he also served as a teacher for local children. On April 17, 1851 Augustus Fanno married Rebecca Jane Denney, the daughter of a neighbor, and their first child was born later that year.

Rebecca Fanno 1849 (Oregon State Historic Preservation Office)

Fanno grew onions and became quite successful at it. His success allowed him to build a 1.5-story wood frame house in the Classical Revival style. It had a double-center chimney (later removed), two large front rooms, two small downstairs bedrooms, a sleeping area upstairs, and a kitchen wing on the back.

The Fanno house in the 1940s (Beaverton Historical Society)

By the 1870s Fanno’s farm was the main producer of onions in Oregon. Augustus Fanno died in 1884, and his son Augustus J. Fanno, continuing his father’s legacy, came to be known as “The Onion King.” In 1958 the farm was designated an Oregon Century Farm, a designation that went to farms owned and operated by the same family for at least 100 years. Fannos lived in the house until 1974. The house and 14 acres were donated as a park in 1982.

The Fanno House in 1983 (Oregon State Historic Preservation Office)

Today the house is known as the Fanno Farmhouse and is rented out by the Tualatin Hills Park & Recreation District for meetings, wedding, and social events. It is part of a park that is attached to the Fanno Creek Greenway.

Fanno Farmhouse
The Fanno House in 2012

Location of the Fanno House:
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Linn City

Robert Moore was born in Franklin County, Pennsylvania, on October 2, 1781. In 1805 he married Margaret Clark and together they later moved to Illinois. In 1839 they headed west on the Oregon Trail with the Peoria party and arrived in Oregon City in 1840. He negotiated the purchase of a 1,000 acre site from Chief Wanaxha of the Wallamut Indians. The site was on the west bank of the Willamette River, directly across from Oregon City, the territorial capital at the time.

In 1843 he established a community on his land and called it Robin’s Nest. According to Oregon Geographic Names,

On December 20, 1945, Ernest E. East of the Illinois State Historical Society wrote Miss Nellie B. Pipes of the Oregon Historical Society as follows: “It is not impossible that Robert Moore got the poetic inspiration for ‘Robin’s Nest’ from the name of the log house in which lived Philander Chase, first bishop of the diocese of Illinois, Protestant Episcopal Church. Chase bought land in the valley of Kickapoo Creek about 12 miles west of Peoria and established Jubilee College. His first house was called ‘Robin’s Nest,’ because, as he said, it was ‘built of mud and sticks, and filled with young ones.’”

The photo below was taken from the bluffs on the east side of the river and shows Oregon City in the foreground and Linn City in the background.

Lorenzo Lorain photograph of early Oregon City
Oregon City and Linn City, 1857 (Oregon State Historic Preservation Office)

By 1845 the town had two log houses and a large number of tents occupied by settlers who had arrived the previous autumn. On December 22, 1845 Robin’s Nest was renamed Linn City in honor of Senator Lewis F. Linn of Missouri. (Linn was a friend of Moore’s and and later authored the Donation Land Act of 1850.)

Lewis Fields Linn
Lewis F. Linn (Wikipedia)

In 1846, about 15 houses were occupied by mechanics, men employed in Moore’s flour and lumber mills, and men worked on the ferry that Moore had established as a connection to Oregon City. Linn City was home to the Oregon Milling and Transportation Company, which built a sawmill, gristmill, a warehouse, and wharves. There was a breakwater to allow boats to load and unload cargo, making Linn City a major transportation center on the river. By 1850 Linn City had a post office, hotel, and two general stores.

Linn City and Oregon City in 1858
This 1858 drawing shows Linn City in the foreground and Oregon City in the background (The Centennial history of Oregon, 1811-1912)

On September 2, 1857, Robert Moore died before he could fulfill his dream of making Linn City a thriving and prosperous town. According to the 1860 census, the population of  Linn City was just 225 people. Disaster struck twice in 1861. On April 23 a disastrous fire destroyed the mills, warehouse, and the steamer James Clinton. An Oregonian article on April 25 described the blaze:

Business owners in the community refused to give up, however, and men started rebuilding what had been lost. Then in December a catastrophic flood swept through. Here’s how the flood was described in the Oregon Historical Quarterly:

The flood of December 1861 washed clean the rocky banks of both sides of the Willamette just above and below the falls and inundated the entire Willamette Valley. It swept the flouring mills of Daniel Harvey and James Guthrie, the machine shop of Moore & Marshall, the Linn City warehouse and basin owned by Colonel James K. Kelly and Robert Pentland, Abernethy’s pioneer brick store and two hotels on the Oregon City rock bank of the river, and carried away to destruction every structure and building in the neighborhood of the falls. On December 5, the steam flatboat St. Clair, Captain S. R. Smith and Engineer Alonzo Vickers, passed over the falls, close to the Oregon City side, the river having swelled to the condition of navigable rapids. It was estimated at the time that below the falls the river had risen 75 feet. The trip of Smith and Vickers is notable, as they were the only persons who ever came over the falls of the Willamette in a boat under steam.

Only two houses and a warehouse still stood after the flood waters had receded. Linn City had been wiped clear off the earth. Residents admitted defeat and the town was not rebuilt. The photo below shows Willamette Falls, the Oregon City Paper Mill, and the west bank of the river where Linn City once stood.

Willamette Falls area, 1867 (Clackamas County Historical Society)

Over time people started trickling back. The Willamette Falls Locks were built at the former site of Linn City in the 1870s, and the Crown-Zellerbach Pulp and Paper Company established its mill near the locks in 1889. Houses started appearing on the west bank of the river, albeit on high ground this time. In 1913 West Linn was incorporated as a city.

Former location of Linn City:

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Doriot/Rider Log House

Harry Garfield Doriot was born in Columbia City, Indiana on July 30, 1881 and Delpha Loy Rouch was born there on 30 April 1886. They married there on 28 September 1907 and at some point (it is not known when) moved to Oregon.

In 1925 Harry Garfield and Delpha Doriot built a log house on their 20-acre property on Bull Mountain (so named when all the wild cattle that had ranged there were killed except for one bull). According to the National Register of Historic Places nomination form, “the rural nature of Bull Mountain in the Tigard area lent itself to the Doriots’ participation in the trend of building log houses in the mid-1920s when travel and recreational opportunities were expanding and rustic architecture was popularized by the Arts and Crafts movement and the National Park Service.” They go on to say, “Various journals and magazines beginning in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries have described a fascination with the American log house. The popularity of the log house and its association with the spirit of adventure and departure from the stresses of rapidly growing and polluted cities provides a nostalgic look at our history.”

The Doriots built it as a guest house for friends and family who visited them during the 1920-1930s. The one-and-a-half story log house features simple saddle-notch log construction with mud and horse hair chinking, a steeply pitched gable roof with asphalt shingles, and a brick chimney. During the 1940s, the Doriots rented the log house to military men and their families. Harry died April 29, 1944, and in 1945 Delpha rented the house to Charles (born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1901) and Alberta (born in Pima, Arizona in 1913) Rider, who purchased it in 1947. They had a son in 1954 and they named him Douglas in honor of the large grove of Douglas-fir trees that grew around their house.

Doriot/Rider House in 2007 (Oregon State Historic Preservation Office)

Charles (better known as “Ren”) died in 1980. Alberta Rider sold a portion of the land to the Tigard-Tualatin School district and the Alberta Rider School was built in 2005. As part of the sales agreement Alberta was allowed to live on the property for as long as she wished. She would sometimes walk over to the school and eat lunch with the kids in the cafeteria.

Today the house is the only known historic log structure in Tigard and it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2008. Alberta Rider died August 12, 2009 at age 96. In 2010 the ivy and blackberry vines that had engulfed the house were cut and the nearby school announced plans to use the house as part of a curriculum for teaching about the Oregon Trail.

Doriot/Rider House in 2012

Doriot/Rider House in 2012

Location of Doriot/Rider House:

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Francis Ermatinger House

The Francis Ermatinger House is the oldest house in Oregon City and the third oldest house in the state of Oregon. In the photo below (a Lorenzo Loran photo that was the first ever taken of Oregon City) the house can be seen.

Oregon City
Flat-roofed Ermatinger House circled in this 1857 Oregon City photo (Oregon State Historic Preservation Office)

Francis Ermatinger was born in Portugal in 1798. He began working for the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1818, and came to the Oregon Territory in 1825 to work for John McLoughlin at Fort Vancouver. In 1841 Francis married Catherine Sinclair, who was Mrs. McLoughlin’s granddaughter.

Francis Ermatinger
Francis Ermatinger (Oregon Pioneers)

After Ermatinger was promoted to chief trader he managed the Hudson’s Bay Company store in Oregon City from 1844 to 1845. Dr.McLoughlin deeded land to Ermatinger in 1844, who had a house built there in 1845. The house was built in the Federal Style with a flat tin roof. He only lived there a short time, though, since he was transferred back to England in 1846. (He died in Ontario, Canada in 1858.)

Francis Ermatinger House in 1910
The Ermatinger House at its original location in 1910, before it was moved to Center Street (Oregon State Historic Preservation Office)

It was in this house that Portland got its name, or so the story goes. In 1845 during a dinner party at the house Francis Pettygrove and Asa Lovejoy disagreed about what to call the town that was going to be built on their land claim downstream from Oregon City. Pettygrove wanted it to be called Portland after his hometown in Maine. Lovejoy wanted it to be called Boston, after HIS hometown. Pettygrove won two of the three tosses.

Pettygrove    Lovejoy
Francis Pettygrove and Asa Lovejoy (Find a Grave)

The riverfront portion of Oregon City had become a busy downtown area, so in 1910 the house was moved from its original location on McLoughlin Blvd to Center Street. The house was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977, then purchased by Ruth McBride Powers in 1986.

Francis Ermatinger House
The Ermatinger House at its Center Street location (Oregon State Historic Preservation Office)

She had the house moved to a lot on 6th Street and the house was restored and converted into a museum. A unique feature of the house is its original flat tin roof which is still intact under the present hipped roof that was added sometime before the turn of the century.

The museum was closed to the public in November 2010 because of structural problems and in May 2011 the Historic Preservation League of Oregon named the house as one of the state’s most endangered buildings. In February 2012 Oregon City commissioners approved a $65,000 contract with Architectural Resources Group to prepare plans for rehabilitation of the house.

Francis Ermatinger House
The Ermatinger House in 2012

Francis Ermatinger House
The Ermatinger House in 2012

Location of the Francis Ermatinger House:

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West Linn City Hall

Prior to 1936, West Linn’s city offices were housed in one room of the train station for the Willamette Falls Railway.

West Linn Trolley Station and City Hall
Willamette Falls Railway station, c1909 (Historic Photo Archive)

The interurban line was shut down in 1930 and the station torn down in 1936 to make way for a new building that would become the City Hall. It was a Works Progress Administration project. When the new building was dedicated by Mayor Frank A. Hammerle in 1936, the city’s population was just 2,000.

West Linn City Hall, c1936 (Old Oregon Photos)

The ground floor housed a grocery store run by Bud Heath and a post office. Municipal offices were upstairs, as well as the library when it opened in 1939.

West Linn City Hall
West Linn City Hall, c1983 (Oregon State Historic Preservation Office)

The post office got its own building and moved out in 1956, and the police department took over the entire ground floor. In 1979 the library moved into bigger quarters at the Bolton Fire Station. In 1999 the building was decommission as City Hall and turned wholly over to the police department. The various city offices that had been scattered amongst various buildings moved into the new City Hall on Salamo Road.

New West Linn City Hall
Current City Hall on Salamo Road

The West Linn Police Department still occupies the old brick building, although a new police station is in the process of being built and is scheduled to be completed in the spring of 2014.

Old West Linn City Hall
The old City Hall in 2012, still occupied by the police department

Location of the old West Linn City Hall and current police department:

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Asa Sanders House

Abby and Asa Sanders moved from Connecticut to Oregon in the early 1850s. In 1858 they bought more than half of the Mathias Sweigle land claim, which had been one of the earliest donation land claims in the Molalla area. The Sanders made their living growing wheat and fruit. Asa, Abby, and several infants are buried in a family cemetery on the property.

They built this house on their land in 1878. The unique-looking house features cathedral-style windows on both sides of the second floor.

Asa Sanders House
Asa Sanders House, date unknown (Oregon State Library)

Asa Sanders House
Asa Sanders House, c1984 (Oregon State Historic Preservation Office)

The house still stands, but it is hidden behind a wall of vegetation. All that can be seen from the road is a bit of the front door at the end of a long driveway.

Driveway to the Asa Sanders House in 2012

Front door of the Asa Sanders House in 2012, courtesy of a zoom lens

West Linn Inn

The West Linn Inn was built in 1918 by the Crown Zellerbach Corporation. Stories differ about the original purpose of the place. One story says that it was built to provide homes for the mill employees as well as other workers in West Linn. Another story says it was built to house strikebreakers that were brought in when mill employees tried to unionize.

This postcard shows the inn from Oregon City, probably around 1950 (

As the town grew and the workers found homes in the area, the building’s 85 rooms were opened to the public as hotel rooms. The large lobby had terrazzo marble floors and a huge stone fireplace, and there was a bowling alley in the basement. A long veranda overlooked the river with views of Willamette Falls, the mills, and Oregon City.

West Linn Inn as seen from Oregon City, date unknown (Bolton Walking Tour)

The hotel shut down in July 1972, although dining and banquet service continued to be offered for another few years. But eventually the owners realized they could either spend a lot of money renovating the old building or shut the place down. The West Linn Inn closed its doors in the early 1980s and was soon demolished.

The photo below shows the intersection of 5th and Main in Oregon City with the West Linn Inn in the background at right. This photo was probably taken from the railroad tracks above the tunnel on McLoughlin Blvd.

Oregon City and the West Linn Inn, c1939 (Oregon State Archives)

The next photo shows the same scene about 20 years later. This one appears to have been taken from the bluff behind High Street in Oregon City.

Oregon City and the West Linn Inn, c1960 (This Week in OC blog)

Compare the photo above with the photo below, taken in 2012. The hotel has been gone for 30 years and many of the buildings in Oregon City are gone or significantly altered from the 1960 photograph.

View of West Linn from Oregon City in 2012

Former location of West Linn Inn:

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