Thursday, July 5, 2018

Those Places Thursday: Ainslie Court Apartments in Portland, Oregon - Designed by Ewald Pape?

I recently returned from a trip to Portland, Oregon, where I spent some time driving around and taking photographs of houses, apartment buildings, and other structures designed by my architect first-cousin-twice removed Ewald Theodore Pape (1894-1976).

So what did I photograph?  In some cases, I started with an article in the Portland Oregonian, found a few years back when I won a one-year subscription to GenealogyBank.

The Sunday issue on February 7, 1926, had a long article entitled "Home Construction Starts in Earnest" on page 2.  One paragraph in that read as follows:

"At a cost of $20,000 a six-suite, three-room bungalow-court will be erected at East Twenty-first and East Madison streets, by R. S. McFarland, from plans by E. T. Pape."

Figuring out exactly where this is has been tricky, and I'm still not sure I have the right location.  I used a number of websites brought to my attention by Val C. Ballestrem, Education Manager at Portland's Architectural Heritage Center, whom I met with one morning during my visit.

The City's property information database, PortlandMaps, has scanned historical plumbing permits.  These show the original owner (but unfortunately, not the architect) and can give a rough date for construction.  Sometimes subsequent owners or other changes are shown with additional permits for plumbing revision work.

The Oregon Historic Sites Database can be used to check addresses to see if they are listed on or were nominated for the National Register of Historic Places.  You can search by a number of criteria, including address and architect (but I quickly learned the architect is often NOT listed on National Register paperwork).  You can also pull up a copy of the National Register paperwork as well as the City of Portland Historic Resource Inventory sheets, if applicable (there's also a spreadsheet with all the information from the latter).

Like Chicago, Portland underwent an extensive street address renumbering, but in the 1931-1933 time period.  PastPortland can be used to convert current addresses to those before the transition, or vice-versa - old addresses into today's.  You can also download a PDF of the renumbering information, as well as a PDF with street name changes over the years.

Using all of this information, I think the Ainslie Court Apartments, at the southwest corner of SE Madison Street and SE 25th Avenue, are the ones described in the Oregonian article.  It is a six-unit bungalow-style apartment building, very much in Ewald's style.  The view below shows four of the units (1403, 1405, 1407, and 1409 SE 25th) as viewed from the 25th Avenue side:

This view is from the corner of SE 25th Avenue and SE Madison Street:

And this view is on the Madison Street side of the apartment building, showing the entrances to 2442 SE Madison and (strangely) 1411 SE 25th:

Here is the February 9, 1926 plumbing permit for the building, clearly showing six units.  The date dovetails well with the newspaper article, and the owner of the building is shown to be R. S. McFarland.

The Portland Historic Resources Inventory notes that the building is English Cottage style garden apartments with primarily stucco siding.  Special features include a low gable roof with returns on gable ends, projecting gable pavilion entrances, and multi-pane windows.  Recent real estate listings (rentals and sales) note hardwood floors.  The six units are each one-bedroom, one-bath (along with a living area and kitchen) and around 700 to 750 square feet.

Below is a map (click on it to make it larger) showing the location of the Ainslie Court Apartments (outlined in blue on the right) along with three nearby apartment buildings originally owned by McFarland.  More on those in a future post - Ewald definitely designed two of those.

The details of Ainslie only differ from the newspaper article with the cross street of [South-]East 21st rather than 25th.  There is a possible property near that point, but I think it's another apartment complex referred to in yet another newspaper article that may *also* have a misprint on the street names.  But more about that in the future too.

© Amanda Pape - 2018 - click here to e-mail me.

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