Ernie Nathan Johnson (1890-1971) & Nelson P. Anderson (1868-1931)
Johnson & Anderson first began to appear on the scene in the early 1920s as a homebuilding company. The two principals were both immigrant carpenters who built houses as sole proprietors previously but partnered in 1921 and hired a small crew as the homebuilding market accelerated.
Ernie Nathan Johnson was born as Ernst Natan Johanson in Sweden on March 12, 1890 and arrived in the U.S. in January 1911. Upon arrival in New York, he changed the spelling of his name and after a short stint in Minnesota began learning the trade by working for other building contractors in Portland.
Nelson P. Anderson was born in Denmark in 1868 and came to the U.S. in 1887. Anderson was primarily a cabinet maker, though he built multiple homes in the Boise neighborhood before partnering with Ernie Johnson, including the home at 3835 N. Commercial, which he built for his mother in 1899, where he later lived (and which stands today).
Advertisements for their company began to appear in The Oregonian in 1921, focusing on new construction in the Alameda Park district. 924 Skidmore is today’s 3016 NE Skidmore.
From The Oregonian, July 27, 1921
Other neighborhood homes built by Johnson & Anderson include the following:
2407 NE Skidmore, built in 1921
3126 NE Skidmore, built in 1921
4136 NE 31st, built in 1921
4053 NE 32nd Avenue, built in 1921
3621 NE 25th, built in 1922
4706 NE Glisan, built in 1922
4412 NE 26th, built in 1923
2013 NE Fremont, built in 1923
2419 NE 21st, built in 1924
3145 NE 20th, built in 1924
During these years, Johnson & Anderson routinely worked from architectural plans drawn by two Portland architects: Ora M. Akers and Clarence K. Birdsall. Both Akers and Birdsall published books of house plans that were in wide use by homebuilders in Portland and beyond.
Newspaper advertisements for the company cease after 1924. Ernie Johnson later formed M & M&M Woodworking and retired in 1960. In 1926, Ernie Johnson built his own family home in Alameda at 2223 NE Regents, where he and his wife Agnes lived until his death on November 26, 1971.