By Joanne Carlson
For the Hollywood Star News
During the Architectural Heritage Center’s (AHC) fifth annual Heritage Home Tour, visitors can view some of the spectacular homes that make Portland neighborhoods unique and interesting. The Tour will take place Saturday, July 26, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The self-guided driving tour features five architecturally distinctive homes with five different stories to tell about Portland history. The homes, which are not normally open to the public, were designed by some of Portland’s most notable architects, including Roscoe Hemenway, William Gray Purcell, Stokes and Zeller, Ellis F. Lawrence and Johnson and Mayer. Tour tickets can be purchased at the AHC’s website, visitahc.org, and cost $35 for AHC members and $45 for the general public. Proceeds support advocacy and historic preservation education programs of the AHC.
Two East-side homes are on the tour:
• The Bolina Jacobs-John T. Wilson House is a well-preserved and unusual Portland example of a “Swiss chalet.” Designed by Johnson and Mayer and completed in 1913, this was the first house to be built on the west slope of Mt. Tabor. The Swiss character is expressed on the exterior with its ground-hugging massing, scalloped-edge broad eaves, and balconies with cut-out railing. The stone for the foundation and chimney is believed to have been quarried in the Mt. Tabor area. Vertical-grain fir finishes are found throughout the interior, and the entrance hall and much of the first floor are richly paneled. A low-arched fireplace features a tile with the Latin phrase “terar dum prosim,” which can be translated as “may I be consumed by service.” This unique house, listed in the National Register of Historic Places, sits on half an acre with a garden restored by its present owners, including a three-story rhododendron believed to be one of the largest in the city.
• Located in the Irvington Historic District, the Arts and Crafts-style Lewis and Harriet Gilliland House was designed by Ellis F. Lawrence and built in 1910. Lawrence was inspired by a plan and perspectives in Gustav Stickley’s The Craftsman magazine published in April of 1907. The interior detailing exemplifies Craftsman ideals of “honesty of construction, beauty of finish and straightforward simplicity,” promoted by Stickley in his many publications. Throughout the home are Craftsman elements such as built-in cabinets and window seats, exposed structural elements, natural wood surfaces and an impressive stone fireplace as the focal element in the living room. The library, located on the second floor and open to the living room below, is one of the most notable features of the interior. The exquisite woodwork and original lighting fixtures in the living room exhibit the attention to materials and fine craftsmanship which are the hallmarks of architect Ellis F. Lawrence’s work.
Three West-side homes on the tour:
• After moving to Portland from Minneapolis for health reasons, internationally prominent architect William Gray Purcell designed a c. 1922 residence for his family which drew on his Midwestern roots. The Minneapolis firm of Purcell and Elmslie, active between 1913 and c. 1921, was well-known for its Arts and Crafts and Prairie style designs. Purcell’s mastery of both stylistic traditions is much in evidence in the intriguing Prairie design for this multi-gabled home which reveals his inventiveness and masterful sense of balance.
• William R. Stokes and Richard L. Zeller designed and built a home for Mina S. Mathews in 1910 in Southwest Portland after the death of her husband, George R. Matthews. This house, with its large windows and abundant wall space, became the perfect spot for its current owners to display their collection of original art posters. Not only is this house a gift to look at but the poster collection of the owners will amaze you.
• Roscoe Hemenway designed a Ranch-style home for Manuel and Tillie Nepom in 1950. The current owner bought the house in 2012 and has worked with architect Stephen Korbich to make this house a showcase for the owner’s Northwest art collection. The ceilings were raised for a simple dramatic effect that is enhanced by the eastern exposure. The garden was recently redesigned by Craig Kiest of Huntington and Kiest for a wonderful setting that reinforces the character of the house.