Research Services

The places we live and work have been shaped and known by many before us.


I prepare architectural, historical and social histories of buildings and places through interviews, document and archive research, photo research and other explorations to create a thorough understanding of a property and its impact, significance and role over time. In many cases, I’ve helped clients connect with former residents or their families who have shared memories and photos. Click here to see how I found photos that helped us restore our own home.

A House History Study usually goes like this:

Utilizing old city building permit documents, city directories, census records, early neighborhood maps, county land records, newspapers, and interviews with past residents, I will compile for you:

  1. Information about the builder of your house, the date your house was built, and a discussion about the style and construction of your home. Included are the original construction and plumbing permits for your house.
  2. A detailed chronological listing of the former owners of your home, complete with information from and about past residents and their families.
  3. Copies of early aerial photos that show your property, and an early map of the neighborhood that shows your house and its pre-1933 address.
  4. A narrative report that ties these pieces together into an interesting narrative synopsis of how your house and the immediate surrounding neighborhood have evolved over the years.
  5. A visit and walk-through to understand the unique historic characteristics of your home.

History Study prices vary depending on the property, with more complicated properties requiring more time. The final product, usually about 25 pages, is bound and makes a special keepsake or gift. I’m glad to prepare a proposal for your consideration. If this is something you’d like to pursue, drop me a note at

Other specific research services are available including assistance locating historic photos; biographical research about former residents, builders or architects; architectural identification and construction mystery solving.

Just for fun, see what The Oregonian wrote about how our old-house research came in handy.

9 responses

  1. Hello
    just stumbled on you. Love it. I do genealogy research and would be glad to do free lookups on Ancestry. I also have a great interest in Alameda History. Also have a small collection of old Alameda Photos.
    please pass along my email to those wanted lookups.

    • Hi, I’m looking for a photo of my house before the original windows were removed. Do you have any photos of NE 21st Ave near Ridgewood? Thanks Tony

      • Hi Tony. Sorry to report there is no single collection of old house photos, nor has there been any systematic documentation of Portland’s old houses, that would make it easy to answer your question. I’ve been exactly where you are…trying to find original photos to guide restoration work. I am confident there are pictures of your house somewhere, most likely in private collections of people who have lived there over the years. That’s how I found photos of my house and have helped clients find photos of their own homes (in fact I’m working on a project like this right now). I’d point you to the Resources section of this site for some ideas about how and where to begin looking. I’d be glad to offer some coaching advice if you like, or I’d also be glad to take on a little research project if you like. Good luck!

  2. Have always been interested in the house at 3533 NE Klickitat. It is listed as the Frank Barnes house, but I seem to remember that was not the first owner. Is there any other information on the history of the owner of this house. Thanks, Heidi

    • The Barnes Mansion, as it was known to a generation of kids growing up in Beaumont. Yes, an interesting house. Let me do a little digging on this and I’ll post something in the near future about this place. Thanks for asking the question…

  3. F.C. Barnes was the original owner of the house at 3533 NE Klickitat St. He handpicked most every piece of lumber that went into that house. It was a wonderful warm home that welcomed the many family members and guests.

  4. I have been looking for information about the history of the houses between 42nd and 47th on shaver and that area. I have been told bye some of the older residents that it used to be a orchard. I would like to know more about who lived there, how big the orchard was and when it was taken over for houses.

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