Since 1991, the Bosco-Milligan Foundation and the Architectural Heritage Center have presented more than 300 education programs. Below is a representative list of our programs offered since the AHC opened in 2005.
Andrew Carnegie, ‘The Gospel of Wealth’ and Portland Libraries
Near the end of the 19th Century, the richest man the world had ever known, Andrew Carnegie, decided to give away most of his wealth while he was still alive. Building free public libraries became one of his first preferred charities. Between 1911 and 1922, seven Carnegie-funded libraries were built in Portland and Gresham, designed by four outstanding architects of the era.
Modern Living + Old House
Thinking of buying an older house? Or perhaps you already own one? Whether you’re a first-time home buyer or already have an older home, this panel discussion is sure to help answer your pressing questions. From prioritizing repairs to best practices for preserving the original materials and character, there are a myriad of solutions for accommodating your 21st century needs while preserving your home’s character. Please bring your questions and join us as Bosco-Milligan Foundation Board President Fred Leeson moderates a panel that includes Robert Kraft of Kraft Custom Construction, Anne DeWolfe of Arciform, and Portland architect John Hasenberg. The resulting discussion is sure to be lively!
House Styles—The Portland Prairie
The Prairie School was as much an aesthetic movement as an architectural style. Promoting the Arts and Crafts values of simplicity, utility and beauty; the Prairie Style began in the Midwest and spread across the U.S., influencing a generation of architects around the world. During the height of its popularity, between 1910 and 1930, several regional architects, applied design principles first articulated by Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright in Chicago, to their own communities and clients in the Pacific Northwest.
Shake, Rattle and Roll—Getting your house ready for the “Big One!”
The Pacific Northwest and the Portland area are no strangers to the threat of impending earthquakes and this is made alltoo- clear when an earthquake devastates some part of the world—whether near or far. The potential for the “Big One” has generated considerable press and anxiety, especially in recent years. So—what are Portland-area homeowners to do, to increase the chances that your house will survive? Our encore program “Shake, Rattle and Roll” is just the thing to help you answer that question. This new-and-updated program will share the latest information and advice, brought to you by experts in the field.
Railroad Architecture and the Northwest: Economics, Ethos, and Culture
Railroads were one of the driving forces in the settlement and urbanization of the United States. Through their station buildings, they left a profound architectural legacy on the country. From humble wooden depots that pioneered the concept of franchise architecture to the grand urban depots displaying the power of the country’s new “millionaire society,” these structures embody the story of America’s Gilded Age. Portland and the Pacific Northwest region include a number of fine examples of these structures, and collectively contribute to the understanding of our region’s past. Alexander B. Craghead shared his approach to railroad architecture as cultural history. Alex is a Portland-based writer and photographer whose work has most recently appeared in the National Railroad Historical Society Bulletin and Trains Magazine. You will also learn about the restoration work of two of the region’s grand urban stations with ties to important works of Italian architecture, as well as the miraculous, eleventh hour rescue of the oldest depot in Oregon. Culminating the presentation is a unique look at the history of Portland’s landmark Union Station of 1896. The presentation is supported by numerous photographs and illustrations, including the depot photographs of award winning photographer Joel Jensen.
The History of American Art Tile
In a companion program to our exhibit “A Glaze of Glory— the Artistry of Art Tile,” guest Curator Ron Endlich presented “The History of American Art Tile” at the AHC. Ron has collected tile for nearly two decades and developed nationally recognized expertise about the origins of American tile, its artisanship, and the multitude of early manufacturers. Specializing in American decorative tile, he regularly lectures at arts shows throughout the Northwest. Ron operates Tile Antiques, based in Seattle and has been known to travel near and far to track down a special tile to add to his collection. He has worked with us over many years and provided scores of hours of expertise to coordinate the professional inventory of our own collection of historic tile.
The Stained Glass of the Povey Brothers
The Povey Brothers Beveled and Stained Glass Window Studio operated in Portland from 1888 to 1926. Today, beautiful windows are scattered throughout the city and state, adding wonderful flourishes to both homes and churches. The Povey name is recognized for design excellence and quality craftsmanship and their work was a major influence on Jerry Bosco and Ben Milligan. Have you seen what you think might be a Povey window? Or perhaps you already own one? Either way, don’t miss this opportunity to learn more about Portland’s preeminent makers of stained glass. Presenter David Schlicker has operated a stained glass studio in Portland since 1975 and has repaired and restored many Povey windows. As David shares his collection of slides documenting the Povey’s contribution to our history, he’ll also shed light on the specific characteristics and design elements that will help you identify potential Povey Brothers pieces.
A House of Stone for Dr. Mackenzie: Rebuilding Portland’s Architectural History
The residence of Dr. Kenneth A.J. and Cora Mackenzie, now the William Temple House, has delighted observers with its intriguing design and exceptional craftsmanship ever since its completion in 1892. Acclaimed as a masterwork of Whidden and Lewis, this presentation makes the case that this Portland landmark was actually designed by another firm, McCaw and Martin. Masters of the Richardsonian Romanesque, William F. McCaw and Richard H. Martin, Jr. are best known as architects of Portland’s Dekum Building, the Armory (now the Gerding Theater), the First Presbyterian Church, and the University of Portland’s West Hall. They were briefly associated with architect F. Manson White, and who designed what among the three is confused in the historical record. Shaping a new history is made easier by the increasing availability of digitized resources. What does the detective work reveal? Ed Teague, head of the Architecture and Allied Arts Library at the University of Oregon provided an entertaining look at Portland’s past while we explored the lives and work of McCaw, Martin, and White.
Real Estate Development and the Re-Shaping of Old Portland
Focusing on the early days of Portland, Dr. Tracy Prince, author of Portland’s Goose Hollow, presented a slide show of historic photos and maps to demonstrate how dramatically different the terrain of Old Portland (the west side—from the Willamette River to the West Hills) was from today’s terrain. This changed terrain includes: building the Great Plank Road which ran through the narrow and dark Tanner Creek Canyon; burying Tanner Creek, Johnson Creek, and Balch Creek; filling Couch Lake and Guild’s Lake; filling the 20-block long, 50-feet deep Tanner Creek Gulch; building streets upon 30-50 foot pilings in areas that today’s residents would describe as flatlands; and 1870s Oregonian stories about 25-foot deep cuts required when B Street (Burnside) was graded beyond the gulch. Such incredible alterations to Portland’s natural landscape were seen as necessary for growing a young frontier city and to accommodate real estate development.
Christmas in November? ‐ Oregon’s State Architect William Christmas Knighton
For more than 30 years, William Christmas Knighton (born December 25,1864), designed fabulous buildings in Portland and the Willamette Valley. His work includes landmarks such as the Governor Hotel in Downtown Portland and the Deepwood Estate in Salem, but he also designed numerous yet lesser known homes, warehouses, schools, hospitals, and even bus depots. Knighton expert, Bob Clay, explored the career of William Knighton and his fantastic architecture, from his commissions during the post-Lewis and Clark Exposition residential building boom of the 1910s, through his service as first president of the Oregon State Architect Examiner’s Board and his work as Oregon’s State Architect.
The Visionary Aspects of the Arts and Crafts Movement
Explore the influences and aesthetic ideals that evolved into the International Arts & Crafts movement during this presentation by Barbara Pierce and C.J. Hurley. In marked contrast to Victorian era architecture, our presenters will illustrate what inspired Arts & Crafts architects to unite their designs with nature and ultimately to “bring the outside in” through structure and decorative details.
Along the way you’ll learn how Art Nouveau, Arts & Crafts, and Jugendstil were all connected rather than separate art and architectural movements. This well-illustrated program will share historic examples and highlight how the tradition continues today in historic and contemporary homes.
The Ladd & Reed Legacy: William S. Ladd and Simeon Reed
Richard N. Ross, shares the story and lasting impacts of two remarkable Oregon pioneer families on Portland’s development. William S. Ladd was Portland’s most prominent 19th Century business and civic leader, and Simeon Reed was Ladd’s foremost business partner and friend. Together Ladd and Reed shaped Portland and the Northwest through four decades of joint ventures in public service, steamboats, telegraphs, macadam roads, model farms, railroads, and iron. Through a program that includes Ladd and Reed’s common ventures, lost landscapes and living legacies, Ross will describe how the vision of Ladd and Reed led to the building of Portland’s strong neighborhoods, along with its civic, educational, and economic institutions – and the vibrant Downtown that we know today. We think you’ll find that the work of Ladd and Reed inspires us to continue to build and maintain high quality 21st Century communities and institutions.
The Arts and Crafts Houses of Emil Schacht
Portland is nationally recognized for its wonderful collection of Craftsman style bungalows, foursquares, and even sprawling mansions epitomizing the search for "authentic" American architecture in the early twentieth century. This treasure trove of historic homes resulted from an amazing alignment of influences: the Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition of 1905, the ambitions of a Scottish businessman to salvage a failing housing development, and the designs one of Portland's most talented architects – Emil Schacht. Jim Heuer and Robert Mercer will take you back to those early days of the last century, when a trolley ride might have taken you to see the "Modern Homes of Willamette Heights" from the exposition grounds. They'll show you the homes that inspired thousands of Portland residents. You'll also learn the sources of Schacht's ideas and how he adapted to the needs of Portland home buyers.
From the Russian Steppe to the Pacific Northwest: The Germans from Russia in Portland, Oregon
Steven Schreiber of the Center for Volga German Studies at Concordia University presents a documentary chronicling the story of the German Russian immigrants that made Portland their home in the new world. Concordia University was in fact founded by German immigrants. The story focuses on life in the Albina neighborhood of NE Portland where many Germans from Russia settled beginning in the late nineteenth century. You will learn about the history of their emigration from Western Europe to the Russian frontier in the 1760s, the reasons for the immigration to North America in the 1870s, the founding and growth of the Portland community, the importance of religion in their lives, social aspects and the eventual assimilation and dispersion of this ethnic group. The video was first shown at the American Historical Society of Germans from Russia Convention in Yakima, Washington in 2003 and has aired numerous times on cable television in the Portland metropolitan area.
The Houses of Vista Avenue
On your way to Washington Park or Council Crest, do you ever wonder what the neighborhood looked like a century ago? If you’ve been curious about the history of Portland Heights, from Thomas Carter’s Donation Land Claim of 1851 through today, this is your chance to learn more. Please join us as AHC Education Committee members Karen Peinl and Jim Heuer share the history of the Vista Avenue area in a one-hour lecture at the AHC. Jim and Karen will discuss the development of Vista Avenue from the earliest houses built in the late 19th century to the diverse residential architecture present today.
Artistry in Brick: The Distinctive Mid-Century Homes of Ken Birkemeier
The post-World War II building boom in Portland presented many opportunities for architects and builders to interpret the "modern" home. Ken Birkemeier was one such Portland builder, who designed and constructed completely original homes during this period. Though also credited with building Colonials and conventional Ranch Style houses, the Birkemeier Modern home remains his most identifiable house type. These brick (or partially brick) houses often incorporated avant-garde or whimsical features in their design and looked forward to an optimistic future filled with technological promise. Whether futuristic or conventional, the quality of construction in Birkemeier homes and his always pleasing designs have earned him legions of home-owning fans over the years. A real estate listing today with the name Birkemeier in the title always commands attention and respect.
Green Technology and Historic Preservation: A Panel Discussion
Preservationists already know that the greenest building is the one already constructed, but beyond that there are numerous ways in which older and historic buildings of all shapes and sizes can be made even greener. To discuss the many possibilities of “greening” our older buildings, the AHC gathered a panel of area experts.
Your questions stimulated a lively discussion with Joy Sears from the State Historic Preservation Office, along with Valerie Garrett, from the City of Portland, Marshall Runkel from EcoTech LLC, and Kyle Barton of the Conservation Services Group, and Lynn Lindgren-Schreuder, LLS Architecture. They offered their insight into the possibilities for preservationists to continue going “green,” while also preserving area history and architecture.
The Basics of Wood Window Repair
Original wood windows are the “eyes of a building” and contribute tremendous charm and authenticity to our older homes. But after many years of openings and closings, coupled with the impacts of seasonal weather changes, these windows can develop a set of maintenance needs that must be attended to.
To address the basics of wood window repair, the AHC welcomes Patty Spencer, owner of Fresh Air Sash Cord Repair Inc. Patty will share her years of experience in preserving and restoring the function of original, double-hung, wood windows found in homes built in the 1940s and earlier. With a focus on improving function, this workshop will cover the basics that owners of older homes should know, including: signs of window deterioration, preventive measures, good maintenance and repair practices, plus good ideas about weatherization. Window replacement is not an effective means of saving energy, and is certainly not “green.”
Discovering Edgar Lazarus: A Closer Look at a Legendary Portland Architect
Edgar M. Lazarus designed over 150 projects throughout his 40+ year career. Yet today only a small body of work has been attributed to him, including buildings long since demolished. His legacy includes Portland landmarks: the U.S. Custom House, the Electric Building, the Taft Hotel, and several impressive houses. Beyond Portland, his notable designs include courthouses for Morrow and Clatsop counties, early buildings on the Oregon State University campus, and the Dome Building at Salem’s Oregon State Hospital. The iconic Vista House at Crown Point is his masterwork. With a growing body of digital resources now available, it is possible for researchers to gain a deeper understanding of Lazarus, a fascinating figure in Portland’s cultural history. Descended from the Colonial Jews of Charleston, SC, and the son of a Confederate soldier, Lazarus earned recognition in early Portland for more than his building designs. This presentation showcases his achievements, and introduces works not previously attributed to him, including some buildings still standing in Portland.
The Future of the Past: Heritage Conservation in England and Portland in the 21st Century
How do they implement historic preservation (more often known as “heritage conservation”) in other parts of the world? Legal protection against demolition and unsuitable renovation work is but one important stage. Alina Congreve reviewed the system of legal protection in England and the roles of local government and volunteer organizations. Congreve discussed the positive role that heritage has to play in urban renewal projects—where heritage can be an asset rather than a burden to development. She concluded by looking at a range of successful projects to engage a wider audience in heritage protection.
Portland’s Stadium: The Many Lives of Civic Stadium
From its earliest days as the athletics field for the Multnomah Athletic Club to its status as a dog track, football stadium, baseball field, soccer pitch, ski-jumping arena and nearly every other sport, Portland’s stadium has been a constant downtown presence for over 100 years. The stadium was built in 1926 and has undergone facelifts, additions, and name changes ever since. Whether known as Multnomah Field, Multnomah Stadium, Civic Stadium or PGE Park, amateur and professional sports have long had a home on SW Morrison Street. The latest round of stadium renovations are changing the venerable arena into a permanently rectangular field as home of the Portland Timbers soccer team and Portland State University football team. Through controversy, grandiose plans, and spectacular failures, Portland’s stadium has been at the forefront of city planning and conversation, and will be a key part of the city’s changing landscape in the 21st century.
Historic Neighborhood Theaters of Southeast Portland
You might be familiar with the Moreland Theater, but what about Geller’s or the Ames? Numerous buildings in Southeast Portland once served or continue to serve as neighborhood theaters. Though often of modest design, these theater buildings helped bring the community together for entertainment and played an important role in Portland’s architectural heritage. Portland theater historians Steve Stone and Mike Mathews discussed the neighborhood theaters of Southeast Portland. Not only will you learn about the many theaters still in use, you’ll find out that many buildings that once showed moving pictures have been re-purposed. You never know, there might even be an old movie house right across the street!
“Live Where You Play”: The Transformation of Lake Oswego from an Iron Plantation into a Residential Playground
In the second half of the nineteenth century, Oswego was a bustling iron manufacturing center. Two of the first iron furnaces on the West Coast were built in Oswego with the financial backing of leading industrialists such as William S. Ladd. But Oswego’s iron industry collapsed at the end of the nineteenth century. The extensive land holdings of the Oregon Iron & Steel Company were then re-used in the early twentieth century, transformed into exclusive residential districts. A golf course, riding trails, a polo field, and swim parks, helped fulfill the promise of the Ladd Estate Company’s sales slogan, “Live where you play.” Two outstanding Lake Oswego historians shared the fascinating story of Lake Oswego’s transformation from an iron plantation into a residential playground.
From the Gilded Age to the Space Age: A Century of American Lighting 1870-1970
Nothing defines the interior of an older home like its lighting. Just as exterior building styles have changed throughout the decades, so have the designs and materials of light fixtures. Appropriate lighting is an important component of any home restoration project and we’re bringing in a top-notch expert to “enlighten” us about popular lighting styles. Bo Sullivan, Lighting Historian for Rejuvenation and the owner of Arcalus Period Design, shared rare images from original trade catalogs and vintage books on home décor. Bo traced the evolution of American lighting styles from elaborate Neo-Grec gas chandeliers through the out-of-this-world Sputnik lights of Mid-Century Modern.
It’s “Cooch” not “Cowch” An Insider’s Guide to Portland Architecture and History
Few people learn about Portland’s history or its architecture in a formal way. For the majority of new residents, learning is by happenstance. A building that went unnoticed on the morning commute suddenly emerges from the mist with a nickname and its place in the city’s history is revealed. And learning is often by mistake. Have you ever been corrected for mispronouncing the name of a new or unfamiliar street or building?
We hope newcomers and old-timers alike will join us for this informative and sometimes whimsical overview of Portland’s architecture and history. Did you know there was a typo on the exterior of Portland’s 1913 Central Library? Was it ever fixed? Other than poking your head out the window, where can you find a weather forecast while downtown? Who’s “Freddie?” What shopping mall was once the largest in the United States? And what is “Big Pink” anyway?
The answers to these questions and more will be provided by Portland native Amanda Tillstrom. Amanda has a Master of Arts degree from the Art Institute of Chicago, worked for several years on exhibits at the Oregon Historical Society, and was the guest curator for the AHC’s Artifacts and Archives exhibit in 2010.
The Portland Plan: Historic Preservation’s Future
The past 18 months of the Portland Plan “update” have been loaded with meetings, forums, websites to monitor, and a crush of additional issues that have been added to the mix. Historic preservation has gotten rather buried and the topic has been quieter than it deserves—given that more than 60,000 of Portland’s buildings were constructed before 1930. This session will be a full update on the various components of the Portland Plan—what’s in play and what lies ahead. How can we influence and impact what the Plan update does for historic preservation?
Presenting from the Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability will be Steve Dotterer and Nicholas Starin—both are City Planners with long tenure at BPS, and have deep interest in historic preservation. BMF/AHC Executive Director Cathy Galbraith will present an update on the Cornerstones African American Buildings History inventory, and how growth, development, zoning and Portland Plan policies have impacted these important buildings.
Marking Our Territory: How to Read Local Landscapes
Drawing upon the fields of architecture, environmental studies, urban design, and public policy, this discussion will pose the following questions: How do we mark our territory? How do the built environments we create reflect our values and aspirations? Whom do we include and whom do we exclude in the process? Touching on gentrification, the decline of public space, historic preservation, residential segregation, and suburban sprawl, Reiko Hillyer will lead a conversation about how to read the history of our communities through the landscapes we build and consider how we can be more aware of and more engaged in the creation of our surroundings.
Vocabulary of Architecture
Do you find yourself describing the elements of your home in terms of thing-a-ma-jigs and what-cha-macall- its? Join us as Jane Morrison, member of our AHC Board of Advisors, helps demystify the language of architecture. Learn about the parts that make up the whole of residential architectural styles common in Portland area neighborhoods.
Rebuilding South Portland
In conjunction with our new AHC exibit, Re-Building South Portland, please join us in the South Portland neighborhood, as PSU Professor Carl Abbott leads a discussion on the growth, destruction, and re-birth of South Portland. Dr. Abbott will give a short lecture on the neighborhood followed by what should prove to be a lively discussion with area residents and anyone curious about South Portland, its history and the effects of urban renewal.
Portland in Postcards
Beginning in the early 20th century, postcards rapidly developed into a hugely popular tourist souvenir item and postcards of the “City of Roses” were no exception. Nothing shows off Portland’s rich architectural heritage like vintage postcards. They can offer glimpses into the past of familiar places and those long since forgotten. Their often colorful imagery also gives insight into the lives of previous generations of Portlanders and visitors to the city.
Boston of the West : The Colonial Revival Home in Portland
The 1876 Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia ushered in an era of nostalgia for all things “Colonial” or “Early American.” The rapid industrialization of America had produced a backlash that yearned for the simpler, less urban life of the preceding century. This movement found architectural expression in the Colonial Revival house. In the early years of the 20th century, Portland became known as the “Boston of the West” because of the number of Colonial Revival homes being built here.
Architectural Historian Jack Bookwalter and Historic Design Consultant Karla Pearlstein traced the evolution of Colonial Revival styles in Portland, showing why they have endured to become America’s most popular house designs.
How to Research the History of Your Home
Every wonder who lived in your house before you? …Or what your house looked like originally? ...And why is there a bathroom on the back porch? Researching the history of your house can answer those questions and many others you might have, and can even shed light on the development of your neighborhood. Historian, Tibby O’Brien, takes you through the steps to uncover the history of your vintage house (as well as any other building). Using online sources, local archives, and libraries, she will show you that the process is not so mysterious when you know what steps to follow and where to look.
Elegant Arches, Soaring Spans: The Bridges of Conde B. McCullough - Encore
Civil engineer and builder Conde Balcom McCullough left an awe-inspiring legacy of bridge design in Oregon that is impressive on an international scale. McCullough’s bridges, primarily built between the two World Wars, were innovative in their use of reinforced-concrete arch construction. Of the nearly 600 bridges designed by McCullough and his staff, those along the Oregon Coast are some of the most beautiful.
Terra Cotta Portland: Downtown Walking Tour
Explore our downtown terra cotta district in a walking tour organized by Robert Jordan, Bosco-Milligan Foundation board member and longtime member of our EducationCommittee. You’ll find a new appreciation for this versatile material as we take a closer look at the architectural details and ornamentation it made possible.
A convergence of circumstances—the development of high rise buildings with elevators and steel construction, the growth in the streetcar system, and the move of the business district away from the river—gave rise to Portland’s collection of terra cotta buildings, one of the finest in the nation. Portland’s terra cotta riches range from the Wells Fargo Building (1907, the city’s first “skyscraper”) to the Art Deco Charles F. Berg Building (1930). Many of these buildings stand throughout the retail heart of downtown, from SW Oak to Yamhill, and SW 4th to SW 10th.
The South Park Blocks: The Evolution of a Portland Neighborhood
Pioneer Daniel Lownsdale had a visionary plan of a greenway that would extend from Portland’s northwest waterfront to the southwest hills. Unfortunately, his dream never came to fruition and Lownsdale’s park block property was lost to litigation after his death. During the past 130 years, property facing the South Park Blocks—the area to the south of Salmon Street—has consistently been used for educational, religious, cultural and residential purposes. Grand mansions and smaller residences later became boarding houses. Some of these houses were removed and were replaced by surface parking lots. In some cases these parking lot properties were later redeveloped into housing. Portland State University (PSU) has grown to cover most of the property south of Market Street. PSU has re-purposed many properties, including the former Shattuck Elementary School and Lincoln High School, as part of its expanding campus. Local author Don Nelson discussed the evolution of the South Park Blocks area the lecture based upon his book—The South Park Blocks: A Neighborhood History.
Ladds Addition: A Walking Tour of One of America’s Great Places
Prominent business and civic leader William S. Ladd designed the neighborhood that bears his name in 1891, but did not live to see any of the homes there constructed. This walking tour explores Ladd’s Addition, its importance in Portland history, and its connections to the City Beautiful movement.
Beyond Klickitat: A Walking Tour of Beverly Clearys Neighborhood
Beverly Cleary’s old neighborhood has changed little since the famous children’s book author lived there in the 1920s and ’30s. Adults who loved Cleary when they were children will enjoy this walking tour that takes participants to places where she and her characters lived, played, and went to school. It includes a visit to the old YMCA, now the NE Portland Community Center, and the old library building. You’ll even get a chance to see period newspaper articles about places from Cleary’s books. Freelance writer Polina Olsen, your guide, has contributed to national and local publications including Northwest Travel, Cat Fancy, and Country Woman. A contributing editor for the Jewish Review, she also leads tours through the South Portland immigrant area and has written three books on Portland’s ethnic communities.
Concrete Houses of Portland
In the early twentieth century, concrete challenged Portland’s ubiquitous timber as the building material of choice for “modern” residences. As early as 1906, Portland architects and builders had begun constructing homes from solid concrete blocks formed to look like stone. In following years, other local builders experimented with the “Edison mold”—houses built entirely of continuous poured concrete panels. Concrete houses never became the norm in Portland, but numerous examples can still be found in all quarters of the city.
Mid-Century Modern and the Recent Past: Documentation and Preservation
Buildings and residential enclaves from the mid-twentieth century are reaching and surpassing the 50 year mark, making them widely eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. Yet preservationists still face a number of challenges, even when advocating for buildings that can now be recognized as officially “historic.” Development pressures, the economy, and aging infrastructure—along with widespread misconceptions about the role of modern architecture in the U.S.—put these resources at risk in the Northwest and throughout the country. The recent discussion surrounding Memorial Coliseum brought this to our own backyard. We look at this debate as a new opportunity for our community to discuss Portland’s architectural “recent past” and work to identify the significant buildings and landscapes that make that era—and our region—unique and memorable.
Terra Cotta Portland: Downtown Walking Tour
Explore our downtown terra cotta district in a walking tour organized by Robert Jordan, Bosco-Milligan Foundation board member and longtime member of our EducationCommittee. You’ll find a new appreciation for this versatile material as we take a closer look at the architectural details and ornamentation it made possible.
Lost Oregon looks at a selection of resources from Oregon’s now-vanished built environment. In the past 250 years, Oregonians have built, and then lost, many remarkable structures, from Chinook longhouses to the Capitol Building, from nabob’s mansions to towering wooden trestles. Wood, our most common construction material, is cheap and adaptable; it also burns well and rots easily. Social and economic fluctuations have also driven changes in the built environment, as railroad trestles were superseded by freeway ramps, and country churches gave way to trailer courts.
The Fox’s Lady: Holistic Weatherization Meets Historic Preservation
Tour a fantastic 1884 home, learn more about the Clean Energy Works program, and how you can weatherize an older home without impacting its vintage character. Tours were given.
Click here to download a flyer about the program.
Guilds Lake Courts: an Impermanent Housing Project
Guild’s Lake Courts in Northwest Portland was designed as temporary worker housing for the steel and shipyard industries during the Second World War. When constructed in 1942, it was one of the largest housing projects in the United States. The massive development consisted of 2,432 units of housing, five community buildings, five childcare centers, a grade school, and a fire station. The population of the community peaked in January, 1945 at 10,000. Many of the residents were children from across the U.S. and 20 percent of the population were African Americans who had relocated to Portland from the South. During its short existence, the community underwent three rapid evolutions before being demolished in 1951.
This lecture will cover the significant social and architectural history of the community. Famed Portland architect Morris Whitehouse led the project’s development, but other wellknown local architects received commissions as well. Please join us as historian Tanya Lyn March shares her research on this little-known segment of Portland history. Ms. March interviewed 30 former residents of the community for her recent PhD dissertation in the Urban Studies Department at Portland State University.
Whidden and Lewis and the Maturing of Portland Architecture
At the turn of the twentieth century, architects William Whidden and Ion Lewis stood at the forefront of design in the Pacific Northwest, bringing new styles and innovations to Portland’s commercial, residential, and public buildings. From the six-story Concord Building to Portland’s City Hall, many of the firm’s buildings are today listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Additionally, their residential designs were so prolific that a 1989 book, Matters of Proportion, focused entirely on the firm’s Portland houses. Sponsored by: Hammer and Hand
Invisible Additions: Increasing Space, Minimizing Impacts
Local and regional planning goals emphasize the need for increased population density thereby putting pressure on our older and traditional neighborhoods—places that hold much of the City’s historic fabric. Homeowners, architects, builders, and developers have responded to this need, but often there are no specific guidelines or it is viewed as a far easier solution to just demolish and build something new. Fortunately, not everyone sees it that way. This panel discussion will bring together architect John Perkins of Perkins Architectural and builder Eric Eaton of Eaton Construction, along with Michael Musumeci of Space Down Under and a City of Portland building inspector to discuss how you can significantly increase living space in older homes and leave the original character intact, all the while limiting the visible impacts on surrounding neighborhoods.
Sponsored by: Craftsman Design and Renovation
Shake, Rattle, and Roll: Everything You Need to Know about Earthquakes and Your Vintage Home
It’s not OUR “fault” the Portland metro region is a seismically-sensitive area. There has been a great deal of media attention about the coming “big one”— that earthquake we all need to plan for. Fortunately, there are techniques you can use to make your home safer in the event of an earthquake. Cindy Hovind of Terra Dolce Consultants, Inc. will provide an overview of local geology and accompanying seismic issues. Greg Olson, Olson and Jones Construction, and Steve Gemmell, Earthquake Tech are both experienced contractors who will cover how older buildings behave in earthquakes, foundation “fixes” that will help protect your home, and working with a contractor. Mark Strauss of Leonard-Adams Insurance will explain the insurance programs that are available for homeowners. In the interest of protecting your own vintage home, this is an important and timely program.
Historic Preservation & The Portland Plan
Quite a bit of “buzz” has preceded the update of the long-revered “Portland Plan” – our city’s visionary plan from the 1970s and mid-1980s that looked ahead 30 years. That plan, and others, put a number of goals, principles and policies in place, but it is now the 21st Century and time for a re-examination of what we want Portland to look and feel like for the next 30 years. There are meetings scheduled by the city’s Bureau of Planning & Sustainability, of course, but we think that preserving Portland’s traditional neighborhoods through the consideration and adoption of new tools that meet 21st Century preservation needs is needed. How do we define the value of historic preservation for Portland’s future? How do we manage growth versus true sustainability – where the social and economic benefits are as important as the energy and environment? How do we tie all of these values together?
Please join us in this lively discussion as we develop an ongoing “tool kit” and collectively learn how we can all influence the right groups at the right time, as we advocate for knitting together the preservation values that the Portland Plan needs. We need to be sure that Historic Preservation plays its rightful role for the next 30 years.
Portlands Historic Theatres: Overview and Evolution (updated encore)
(Theatre Poster PDF)
A surprising number of buildings in Portland once housed movie theaters and their stories are full of artistry and personalities. Come find out this and much, much more about the history of theaters in the “Rose City” from Steve Stone (theater historian extraordinaire) and Mike Mathews, who have researched Portland’s theater world in depth. Their presentation will touch on theater history nationally, and its history in Portland from the 1905 Arcade Theater, through the Depression, and end of vaudeville, and into the 1960s. They will take a closer look at several major theaters which illustrate the history of the building type in Portland, and the forces which led to their construction, and in many cases, eventual destruction. The Arcadia-published Theaters of Portland book, by Steve Stone and photojournalist Gary Lacher, will be available for sale and author signing.
Historic Preservation Needs Assessment – for Clackamas County
Here at the Bosco-Milligan Foundation, we frequently get requests for assistance from members and friends throughout Clackamas County. While we all know that historic preservation crosses all geographic boundaries, our resources have been limited to providing technical assistance within the Portland city limits. Thanks to our Partners in the Field matching grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and after a year of practicing advocacy, we are ready to expand into Clackamas County – both incorporated cities and unincorporated areas. While “rules and regulations” may govern preservation differently in various jurisdictions, public interest in preserving our building heritage and community character is shared by all.
We have learned that the best way to focus our limited resources and to truly be effective, we need to collectively determine the preservation needs throughout Clackamas County. With that objective, we invite you to attend one of the two meetings scheduled – in Oregon City on March 10th, or in the city of Sandy, on March 16th. Both evening meetings will feature a workshop format for participants to discuss and respond to a Needs assessment questionnaire – where you can tell us as much as you like about the preservation concerns in your neck of the woods.
This program is assisted by a Partners in the Field challenge grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation
Portlands Versatile Stylist: The Architectural Legacy of John V. Bennes (Updated program)
Between 1906-41, John Bennes was one of Portland’s most prolific architects. Recent research has helped to define Bennes’ place in the architectural history of Portland and Oregon, and new information about him continues to be uncovered. This presentation by Larry Landis, University Archivist at Oregon State University, will explore the rich architectural legacy that Bennes created and share new information about some of his design projects. Born in Illinois and raised in Chicago, Bennes brought his knowledge of the work of Frank Lloyd Wright to Oregon in 1900. After six years in Baker City, he moved to Portland, where he introduced the Prairie Style to residential construction. He also designed hotels, movie theaters, warehouses, and other commercial buildings in a variety of styles, from Art Deco to Zigzag Moderne. Bennes also designed at least 35 buildings on the Oregon State University campus and the administration buildings at Southern Oregon, Eastern Oregon, and Western Oregon universities.
Houses Without Names - Portlands Everyday Vintage Houses
Portland’s finest houses can usually be identified according to their exterior architectural style. Yet the vast majority of Portland’s houses can not be easily “classified” architecturally. Often the more common and simple the house, the harder it is to identify and classify it--usually these houses are simply called vernacular.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. Come hear Architecture Professor Thomas Hubka, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, identify the most “common” types of Portland’s most familiar houses. Hubka’s Portland research is a part of a national study of America’s popular – common – vernacular - everyday houses. This includes the documentation of duplexes, cottages, bungalows, multi-unit, and manufactured housing. Instead of classifying housing exclusively by architectural style – and short-changing an abundance of wonderful buildings - Hubka emphasizes floor plan and room function analysis (as well as massing and style). Plan analysis has the advantage of not excluding any houses, even the most simple. Hubka’s articles and books have won numerous awards in vernacular architecture studies. He is currently writing a book about America’s “Houses Without Names.”
Energy Efficiency and the Historic Home
Just because your home is older or historic, does not mean it is energy-inefficient. Come learn from Joy Sears, of the Oregon State Historic Preservation Office, who will offer easy and relatively inexpensive ways to make your home more energy efficient while keeping its historic character intact. Whether you want to do-it-yourself or hire someone to do the work for you, this workshop will provide you with the information needed to get the job done right. You’ll even learn about contractors who specialize in historic repairs and suppliers of energy efficient products. Joy has served as a Restoration Specialist for the Oregon SHPO since 2005. Prior to joining Oregon SHPO, she worked as a Restoration Specialist for five years with the South Dakota SHPO. She received her masters in Historic Preservation from the University of Oregon in 2001, where she worked on the restoration of Villard Hall, a National Historic Landmark.
Stories in Stone: Geology and American Architecture
Most people don’t think of looking for geology from the sidewalks of a major city, but for the intrepid geologist any “good rock” can tell a fascinating story. All one has to do is look at the stone used to construct many buildings in downtown business districts to find a range of rocks equal to any assembled by plate tectonics. Furthermore, building stones provide the foundation for focusing on cultural as well as natural history.
Infill Development in Traditional Neighborhoods: Conflict & Resolution
The term “Infill Development” is common in Portland’s vocabulary, as new buildings arrive on the streetscapes of neighborhoods across our city and region. Typically, one thinks of “infill” as filling a vacant space between buildings, but instead we see the demolition of long-standing buildings, replaced with new or “mega” structures that don’t take their surroundings into consideration. During our late 2008 Portland Historic Preservation Needs Assessment meetings, an overwhelming majority of people identified “new large-scale infill construction in older neighborhoods” and the need for “better fit” as the city’s most pressing preservation challenge.
Alameda Neighborhood History: Its Founding and Early Life
Northeast Portland’s Alameda Park Addition was first platted in 1909. Construction soon followed and by 1920, hundreds of houses and a busy streetcar line had been built in the new subdivision. Successive waves of homebuilding in the decades that followed have shaped the neighborhood we know today. Doug Decker will track the initial development of the area, profile key builders and building styles, and share stories of the early years from former residents. Doug has lived in the Alameda neighborhood for 20 years and during that time has done research on many aspects of its history. He also runs a website dedicated to the Alameda neighborhood and old house research: www.alamedahistory.org. He and his family live in a 1912 Arts and Crafts bungalow built by William B. Donahue.
Portland's Classic Houses
The quality of residential architecture in Portland can be traced back to the city’s founding in the 1850s. Passing decades saw the rise and (sometimes) the fall of incredible homes designed by architects such as Justus Krumbein, Jameson Parker, A.E. Doyle, and John Yeon. Today, house styles ranging from late 19th century Italianate and Queen Anne to the Arts & Crafts and Northwest Style homes of the first half of the 20th century, continue to dot Portland’s architectural landscape. This pogram takes a visual stroll through Portland’s residential architectural history as Bill Hawkins, architect and co-author of Classic Houses of Portland, Oregon 1850-1950 (1999), shares images of some of the amazing residences that help define Portland’s irreplaceable architectural heritage.
Herman Brookman, Architect: Three Early Portland Works
One of Portland’s most important residential architects, Herman Brookman (1891-1973) practiced in the Northwest from the early 1920s until his retirement in the mid 1960s. Architectural historian Henry Kunowski presented an overview of Brookman’s remarkable early career in Portland and the influences that shaped it. The presentation featured three of Brookman’s most notable early buildings in Portland: the residence of M. Lloyd Frank, now part of the Lewis & Clark College campus; the Harry Green Estate north of Laurelhurst Park; and the main sanctuary at Congregation Beth Israel at NW 19th and Flanders.
Mid-Century Modern: Preserving the Recent Past
“Modern" buildings from the postwar era (1940s to '60s) transformed cities, suburbs, and landscapes throughout the country. Now preservationists are taking a serious look at these resources to consider which ones merit protection. Jeanne Lambin, author of Preserving Resources from the Recent Past, examined the historic context of the postwar building boom and the special challenges of preserving this legacy.
Window Pains -- Wood Window Repair Workshop
Original wood windows contribute tremendous charm and authenticity to a vintage home. But after many years of doing their duty of regular openings and closings, these windows can develop a set of maintenance needs. Robert Kraft, owner of Kraft Custom Construction, brought his “sash and pulley show” to the AHC, along with his many years of experience in preserving and restoring wood windows of all types and sizes. This hands-on workshop covered the signs of window deterioration, preventive measures, and good maintenance and repair practices.
Codes, Permits & Old House Renovation
There is a lot to think through and manage when you’re renovating an old house, not the least of which is the world of city permits. Jeff Eldredge, an inspection manager with the City of Portland, helped attendees to better understand and navigate the world of permits and inspections, avoiding the common pitfalls that can result in property owner liability, nullification of insurance coverage, and resale headaches.
Portland Comes of Age: 1890-1905
Portlanders today are living and thriving within the basic urban framework created by our predecessors a century ago. Still a small town in 1883 when Portland got its transcontinental railroad connection (and our own West’s Block building was constructed), it had grown up into a substantial city by the time it staged the Lewis and Clark Exposition in 1905.
Dr. Carl Abbott, professor of Urban Studies and Planning at Portland State University, shared how Portland built a new downtown during this era, received thousands of European immigrants, and expanded across the Willamette River. With new elbow room, the city sprawled (nineteenth century style) into new neighborhoods for the rich, the middle class, and working people.
Montavilla Memories: Walking Through the Past (walking tour)
Tourgoers learned about the development of one of Portland’s original streetcar suburbs on this walking tour of Montavilla guided by AHC volunteer Li Alligood. The tour included a stroll along the historic Southeast Stark Street commercial district and its adjoining residential neighborhood.
The Foursquare – A Very Un-Square Type House
The American Foursquare house, popular from just after 1900 well into the 1930s, is found in every older Portland neighborhood. AHC member Jack Bookwalter explored what constitutes a Foursquare and the many different ornamental details which have been appended to this form to create architectural hybrids. The style’s popularity peaked in the decade 1905-1915, nicely coinciding with Portland's building boom following the Lewis and Clark Exposition of 1905.
Portland’s “Versatile Stylist": the Architectural Legacy of John V. Bennes
Between 1906-41, John Bennes was one of Portland’s most prolific architects. Despite his volume of work, Bennes’ place in the architectural history of Portland and Oregon had not been well defined. This presentation by Larry Landis, University Archivist at Oregon State University, explored the rich architectural legacy that Bennes created.
Modern is Historic: Mid-Century Modern in Portland
Between World War II and the Viet Nam war, a sleek, forward-looking style of architecture arose known simply as "Modern." The hallmarks were large expanses of glass, stark horizontal and geometric forms, unadorned panel surfaces, and visible underlying structural components. This program traced the European, American, and Japanese inspirations for Mid-Century Modern architecture and how it was interpreted in Portland and along the West Coast.
The Buildings Of A.E. Doyle
Portland’s greatest period of growth was between 1905 –1930, when the city evolved from a frontier town to an urban center. Dominating the architectural revolution was Albert E. Doyle whose career spanned the Lewis & Clark Exposition to downtown’s Public Service Building, Portland’s last major structure completed before the Great Depression. Today, nearly all of Doyle’s major downtown buildings still stand. The program was presented by Philip Austin, who used the research materials of Doyle’s grandson George McMath, FAIA, who donated his personal library to the Bosco Milligan Foundation.
Period Lighting In The Age Of Electricity: 1880-1960
Historic lighting expert Bo Sullivan, Rejuvenation’s senior designer and historian, offered a basic introduction to gas and electric lighting from 1880 to 1960. In addition to covering lighting vocabulary, manufacturing methods, and technological advances, Bo reviewed the major American historical styles and their impact on fixture design.
After The Fair: The Buildings Of The Lewis & Clark Exposition
The 1905 Lewis & Clark Centennial Exposition celebrated the 100th anniversary of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark’s Corps of Discovery. Local historian Jan Dilg and Cathy Galbraith, the executive director of the Bosco Milligan Foundation, explored the history of the Expo buildings, including those that were lost and those that have been saved.
When Prairie Met Portland
The horizontality and ground-hugging characteristics typical of the Prairie style evoke the landscape of the American Midwest even when they are found in the Rose City. Volunteer and local historian Jan Dilg discussed the reasons behind the expansion of the Prairie style beyond its Midwestern origins and the architects who worked in this style in Portland.