It’s been a quiet year so far on the AH blog, in deference to a busy batch of research for home owners and architects, several presentations, and ongoing exploration of our standing lines of history inquiry. We’ve been saving up some favorite old photos sent our way by history friend and photo collector Norm Gholston. Here’s one you’re going to want to take a close look at: the interior of a home in the vicinity of North Albina and Webster just after the turn of the last century.
Click in for a good look and then let’s take it apart in the way we like to do with Norm’s great old photos.
Part gallery, part living room, part library, apparently part dining room, this room is dressed to the nines. These picture rails are fully engaged with local art: Mt. Hood, the Coast, maybe the Columbia River.
The mantlepiece tells multiple chapters of the family story and serves as home for the heirloom clock (and the rabbit). Our very favorite thing in this whole picture is the yawning baby on the wall.
Formal table setting, with two forks at each plate, cloth napkins, the good china. Are the flowers silk or the real thing?
The texture of the plaster—and the various cracks and wear marks—make us think this house has seen a few years. And interesting fireplace: we’ve never seen a wooden fireplace surround quite like that one with corner trim that steps back following the line of bricks.
Bookcases filled. Thin carpet. Painted antlers. Victorian parlor lamp. So much to see.
The actual location of the house remains a bit of mystery. Norm tells us that on the back of the photo is written the address “5021 N. Albina,” which is curious for several reasons:
The address format is post-address change, meaning someone wrote that on there after 1931, which certainly could have happened. But the photo appears earlier than that to us.
The current building at that address is a mid-century brick duplex at the southwest corner of N. Albina and Webster…definitely not this place.
A look back at aerial photography of that corner in 1939 and in 1925 shows a vacant lot, as does the 1924 Sanborn map.
Could be that this is the interior of a house that stood there but was demolished before the 1925 aerial photography, but why would someone write 5021 Albina on the back given that it was never known as 5021? Hmm.
So we’re glad to consider this the interior of a house in the neighborhood from the turn of the last century and leave it at that. One of those mysteries that may never be solved. We like to solve them, but we’re glad just to continue contemplating too.