Thousands of hands have shaped our homes and surroundings here in the neighborhoods of Northeast Portland: designing, digging, building, crafting, selling.
The men and women who imagined and then built our neighborhood in the early 1900s are gone now, and mostly unremembered. But their work is durable enough that today, we take it for granted. Do many of us wonder about how the bones of our houses came together, or the people behind the construction? Probably not. But there are important stories to be told. Remembering them adds context to our own residency here. And tipping our hat to the builders is the right thing to do.
A few things to keep in mind as you read through these pages:
- The research behind these stories is ongoing and based on first-person interviews and information gathered from descendants of the builders and other primary sources. If you have information about any of these people, can offer a referral to someone who might, or have suggestions or tips about other builders, please drop me an e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Many of these builders were Mom-and-Pop (or brother-and-brother) operations. So when I focus in on Frank Read, for instance, let’s not forget the contributions of his wife Mae, who undoubtedly helped with everything from keeping the books to applying for the building permits. The people who built these houses put their hearts and their hands into it. It was their life’s work.
- Eventually, this section will be filled with stories and memories of the builders, but for now I’ve identified a handful of the most prolific builders and the addresses of their work. I have builder information for just about every home in the original Alameda Park plat. So this is going to take a while, and it’s going to be a long list. But check back often: I’ll add to the collection as I learn more.
Click on the builder’s name to see the addresses of his work and a short biography.
Builder of Craftsman homes in Irvington, Alameda, Beaumont and Laurelhurst, and convicted con man. Busy here in Portland from 1912-1915.
Prolific mid-century builder of cottage, ranch and contemporary homes, often in unique and challenging building sites, 1932-1952.
A long time “lumberman” who had already had a career in the upper Midwest, Bohn incorporated to capitalize on the opportunity of the 1920s building bungalows.
Builder of bungalows in Alameda and Beaumont from 1911-1921.
A flare for Norman and Tudor styles, built in Beaumont, Dolph Park, Alameda, Portland Heights, Overlook and many other neighborhoods from the 1920s-1940s.
Advertised himself as the “builder of pleasant homes,” later a real estate agent.
Homebuilder and cabinet maker teamed up in the 1920s to build many Alameda-area homes.
Austrian immigrant who started his homebuilding career at age 45, former waiter, brother of owner of Jake’s.
An enterprising young builder form the 19-teens, Kibler returned from his service in World War 1 to become Portland’s “reliable builder,” constructing more than 300 homes on Portland’s eastside.
One of Portland’s most prolific home builders of the 1920s and former Alameda resident.
Prolific builder in Beaumont, 1922-1970.
Swedish immigrant, favored Craftsman-styled homes.
A Russian immigrant who started his building career as a violin maker, and later worked on Portland’s eastside from the 1920s through the early 1950s.
One of Portland’s earliest big builders, this company operated from 1912-1917 before going bankrupt.
His work defines the Gile Terrace and NE Ridgewood area.
Colonial revival style in Alameda both above and below the ridge, from 1923-1940.
Rose City Park, Roseburg and Seattle 1908-1939
A “builder’s builder,” known for exacting standards and larger homes.
Portland’s busiest concrete sidewalk and curb contractor; Alameda resident.