I imagine many of our fellow Houseblogs.net members are familiar with the blog Bungalowicious. For those of you who aren’t, much like Bungalow Insanity, it follows a Portland, Oregon couple’s adventures in remodeling a bungalow.
Recently, the author of Bungalowcious – Dawn – made an offer we couldn’t refuse. Dawn, as her blog’s regular readers already know, has quite a talent for house geneaology, and she very kindly offered to find out what she could about our house. This is something that we’ve been interested in for a long time, but have never had the time to pursue (and if I’m being honest, really had no idea how to do.)
We’ve been wanting to give Dawn credit for doing this, but it’s taken us a month to do it. (Sorry Dawn!) That should give you an idea of why we (at least speaking for myself) were not able to accomplish this ourselves!
If you are curious about the history of our house, or the process of discovering it, keep reading. Hopefully Dawn doesn’t mind us plugging her! We were just so surprised and impressed by this!
What we knew about our house until recently was this: It was built in 1911 and remodeled in 1962, at which time the owner enclosed a back porch to expand the footprint of the kitchen. The house had been a rental for a number of years before we bought it, and the man we bought it from had grown up here. The only other thing we knew about the house was that it was built on an oversized lot which was subdivided in the late 90s or early 2000s to make room for a duplex in what used to be this home’s side yard. (That duplex is now inhabited by our awesome rocking chair neighbors.)
One of the first things Dawn discovered was that our house used to have a completely different address. Our current street address wasn’t assigned until the early 1930s. She also discovered that our house was built in 1910, not 1911, as we’d previously been told.
According to a 1910 census record, the original occupants were a bank president by the name of Edwin S. Burger (or possible Burgar or Burges – it’s hard to read), his wife Emma, their son James, and their housekeeper (who apparently, being a housekeeper, wasn’t considered worthy of having her name recorded.) Julio and I found this very interesting – it may explains the presence of two staircases in such a (relatively) small house – one may have been a main staircase and one may have been for the “help.”
By 1920, the house was inhabited by a new family: a widow named Nellie Earsley and her daughters Bessie, Anna and Ruth, sons Merit and Robert, and her mother, Christie Henry.
By 1930, a newspaper advertiser named George Skiff was living here with his wife Mayme and their two adopted children, Duane and Phillip.
Some other interesting tidbits:
The 1910 occupants of our house (Edwin Burgar/Burger? and family) rented the home. Weird that a bank president with a housekeeper would be a renter. The 1920 occupant, Mrs. Earsley was also a renter. Maybe “Mr. Imlay” who is on the 1927 oil tank permit was the long-time owner. (Something we should research.)
The 1930 owner, George Skiff, did own the home and valued it at $4650.
According to Dawn, we may be able to track down the builder if we can find an early permit. This is how she found the builder of her home.
While this sort of research doesn’t tell too much about our actual HOUSE (just who lived in it), if we were able to find living descendants of previous owners, and could get photos from them, that could tell us a lot about the way the house itself used to look. (One thing we are particularly curious about is what the original siding looked like. This house’s twin down the street has narrow clapboards. Our house currently has wide cedar clapboard siding we believe was added in the 1960s at the time the kitchen was remodeled.)
And when we asked Dawn how she dug up all of this information, she shared this “simple” process with us: