Thursday, January 10, 2019

Those Places Thursday: Burrell Heights Apartments, Portland, Oregon - An Ewald Pape Design

The first of three apartment buildings designed by my architect first-cousin-twice-removed, Ewald Theodore Pape (1891-1976), that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is the Burrell Heights Apartments at 2903-2919 SE Clay Street in Portland, Oregon.  It is part of the "Middle Class Apartment Buildings In East Portland" Multiple Property Submission (MPS).

An article in the Sunday Oregonian dated April 15, 1928, was headlined "Apartment Permit Issued" with the subtitle "$40,000 Building To Rise On East Clay Street."  It stated,

Application for a permit to build a two-story apartment house at 881 East Clay street [the pre-1932 address] for R. S. McFarland, owner and builder, has been filed at the city hall by E. T. Pape, designer. 
Estimated cost is $40,000.  Ground dimensions will be 103 by 38 feet.

Pictured below is the plumbing permit, issued three days later:

The building, consisting of twelve two-story, two-bedroom, one-bathroom townhouse-style apartments, is roughly L-shaped, as can be seen in the site plan below.  The inset in the inner part of the L is to allow a back door and windows for the corner units:

It was the first apartment complex in Portland to be entirely composed of two-story townhouses.  The building's style is described as Modernistic, with its lack of ornamentation, flat roof, and emphasis on rectangular forms and horizontal and vertical lines.  Below is the north end of the building, on 29th Street, with the driveway on the left leading to the parking area in the back.

By this point, Ewald Pape had done a number of rowhouses and courtyard apartments with separate addresses and back doors for each unit, but they were limited in size (500-700 square feet) due to being single-story.  The Burrell Courts next door included three two-story units among the ten, but Burrell Heights was the first to be all townhouse-style in the Portland area.  This allowed for 800-900 square feet of living space.

Some of the building's features (pictured below) include the decorative concrete panels of contrasting color on the northwest corner, and a flat roofed portico on the entrance to the two northernmost units, 1530 and 1532 SE 29th Avenue.

Another decorative concrete panel is pictured below.  With the exception of the window below the sign in this picture, all of the living room windows are Chicago School style - tripartite windows where the central window is fixed pane (in this case, with a ribbon of small single panes at the top), flanked by sash windows (in this case, four-over-one double-hung).

SE 29th Avenue slopes downward towards Clay Street, resulting in parts of the building being at different levels, and this interesting entrance (pictured below) to 1542 SE 29th.

The Clay Street side of the building has a basement with a laundry room and storage lockers for each apartment.

Some of the entries have red-tile pent roof hoods supported by decorative wrought iron brackets.

I couldn't find any recent photos of the interiors of any apartments, but here is  a link to a photo of the interior of a dining nook from the National Register application, probably taken in 1996 or early 1997.  Complete descriptions of the interiors are available in that application.

© Amanda Pape - 2019 - e-mail me!

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