Ken Birkemeier, Prolific Alameda Builder

A collection of images relating to Ken Birkemeier. Top left, Ken and his wife of 50 years Marge. Photos and drawings courtesy of Dan Birkemeier.

A collection of images relating to Ken Birkemeier. Top left, Ken and his wife of 50 years Marge. Below, homes he built in the neighborhood. More pictures in The Builders section. Photos and drawings courtesy of Dan Birkemeier.

After a very interesting few weeks of research, correspondence with the Birkemeier family, and lots of walking around the neighborhood looking at dozens of houses he built, I’ve posted some background on local architect and builder Kenneth L. Birkemeier. You’ll find the details (and some more photos) over in the new section called The Builders (click here). It was great to hear memories from various family members, particularly the story from his grandson Dan, who is today an architect in Seattle.

You’ll note that I’m inviting your stories or photos of Birkemeier homes, so let me hear from you and I’ll share them here on the blog.

The new section is up to four major builders now, with dozens more to go. One thought that occurred as I walked around the neighborhood this week is that Irwin, Read and Berkemeier must have known each other. Between the three of them, they designed and built dozens of houses here in the neighborhood…they must have been bumping into each other along the way.

Next on my list is Harry Phillips, who designed and built many of the homes along Ridgewood and Gile Terrace in the late 1920s. I also want to delve into the history behind the reference to the “Town of Wayne,” which is a small plat south of Fremont and between 32nd and 29th.

Inquiring minds want to know: Who was Wayne?

7 responses

  1. Thank you for this blog about Alameda. We stumbled upon the neighborhood (through a Craigslist scam, believe it or not, listing a home for rent for $500, at the top of the ridge). I’m enjoying reading your blog about this architectural treasure trove.

  2. Hello! I’ve been looking for information on the history of Birkmeier style houses for a while. We moved into one in 2003, it’s on Alameda, just East of 33rd. It was built in 1940. I came across your website in last week’s Oregonian. What a pleasant surprise to find this article! Thanks for your good work. Please let me know how to send you a photo of our house. Thanks again!

  3. Hi there,

    We just put an offer on a house at 2935 Hancock Street in the Grant Park neighborhood. The realtor told us it was a “Birkemeier” which didn’t mean anything at the time but now I am coming to appreciate his role as a building in this area. How can I verify that our new home is, in fact, a Birkemeier?

    Thanks!

    • Hi Erin. I’ve sent you a copy of the original plumbing permit. Yep, it’s a Birkemeier, built in 1940-1941. Good luck with the offer!

      -Doug

  4. Hi. We found a Birkemeier ranch that’s going for more than similar sized homes in the same area. Is that to be expected?

    • Oh yes!!! Birkameier was an amazing and fastidious builder. Only the wealthiest could afford to buy or commission his work………….. Any home he built, is and was, a precious jewel set amongst many other wonderful homes.
      Jane McCallum Buck

  5. Can you tell me if 8205 SW Second Ave 97219 is a Birkemeier? It originally the Leonetti’s (of Leonetti’s Furniture) house.

    Thanks,

    Lene’

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