Fifth Annual Walking Tour

Historic Homes of Old Nob Hill

Six stately, private residences in Northwest Portland’s Old Nob Hill will be on the 5th annual Walking Tour of Historic Homes benefiting the Northwest Children’s Theater & School on Father’s Day, June 19,2016.

The 1908 Harmon/Neils House on Northwest Lovejoy Street is one of the stops.

“All six homes are beautiful and historic, but the home at the head of Lovejoy is said to be the most intact and original [by famed architect] A.E. Doyle in the city,” says organizer Dan Volkmer.

Doyle (1877-1928) shaped early Portland during the explosive building boom after the 1905 Lewis & Clark Centennial Exposition until the Great Depression. He designed such classical icons as the Meier & Frank Building (now The Nines hotel), Lipman’s store (now Hotel Monaco) and Reed College.

The biography, “Beauty of the City: A. E. Doyle, Portland’s Architect” by Philip Niles, details Doyle’s rise from a residential architect to the designer of city landmarks.

Tour organizer and historian Tanya March adds that Doyle graduated from 8th grade in 1891 and then immediately “cut his design teeth” working a dozen years at the city’s most prominent firm Whidden & Lewis.

After time working in New York and taking a grand tour of Europe, Doyle returned to Portland to start his first firm with construction expert William B. Patterson.

“He went one to not only have a successful and prolific career but he passed on that generational master architect torch to Pietro Belluschi and John Yeon,” considered the founders of Northwest Regional Style, says March.

Thirty-seven of Doyle’s buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places, including the magnificently designed Craftsman/Colonial Revival-style residence on the tour.

In 1907-1908, the first two years of Doyle’s practice, he designed 10 Portland houses, seven of which were done in this style, with exposed rafters and beams, shaped soffits, informal floor plans and interior classical detailing, according to historians.

Doyle’s mastery of Eastern and European architecture is evident in formal spaces in the house he designed for insurance agent Edward Lansing Harmon.

In 1923, the property was purchased by the Julius Neils family, who made their fortune in the regional lumber industry and pioneering “sustained yield” operations.

Honduras mahogany was used for the dining room’s sliding pocket doors, windows, baseboard, ceiling beams, fireplace trim and the paneled wainscot.

Here, facing on the fireplace is a Nile green ceramic tile with a cast-in raised design of cattail reeds. Ask the tour volunteer where the double-acting door adjacent to the fireplace leads to.

Stained glass made by Portland-based Povey Brothers Studio, consider the Tiffany of the Northwest, was installed in the two-story house, which is known for its  13-inch thick brick bearing walls.

Three of the six stops on the self-paced 5th annual Walking Tour of Historic Homes are on Northwest Lovejoy Street. In addition to the 1908 Harmon/Neils House, the doors will be open to ticket holders at the 1895 Queen Anne vernacular Isaac Van Duyn House and the 1908 Craftsman-style Van Schuyler/Gevurtz House.

Two houses will be open on Northwest 24th Avenue: The 1892 Queen Anne shingle-style Bernard Goldsmith Home, which was saved from the wrecking ball, and the 1909 Arts and Crafts Lutke House.

Another stop on the walking tour, the Tudor-style Honeyman House on Northwest Cornell Road, was designed by architect David C. Lewis and built in 1911.

Copy from Janet Eastman
Homes and Gardens of the Northwest
The Oregonian/