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If the walls could speak

Cedar Place on the list to be considered a historic landmark in Troutdale


by: OUTLOOK PHOTO: JIM CLARK - Cedar Place was built In 1907 for the Olsen family on South Troutdale Road.Every old house has a story.

Cindy and Rod Walston knew that when they bought Cedar Place on 2611 S. Troutdale Road.

A California transplant and self-proclaimed history buff, Cindy Walston says she and her husband love the character and history of old homes. “It’s not a cookie-cutter house,”she says.

Hidden from street view, the three-story house built in 1907 with an attic window sits atop a hill at the end of a tall stairway, protected by old Douglas firs, gardens, 10 columns and a wrap-around porch.

Emil Olsen, a wealthy saloon owner, had the home built as his family’s summer country home, and after his wife Florence died, he moved in with his two teenage kids, Olive and Roy.

by: OUTLOOK PHOTO: JIM CLARK - The porch on Cedar Place extends around two sides of the house. The Walstons moved in just over a year ago with the idea of renovating the century-old home to its original features after it served as a bed and breakfast for a number of years.

It is one of two homes (the other is the Strebin house) on a list the Troutdale Historic Landmark Commission is considering to be registered as a local historic landmark.

Right now Troutdale has eight local historic landmarks, and 48 sites have potential for eligibility. Two of those are the Walstons’ place and the home of Bob Strebin, owner of the longtime family farm house built in 1949 on South Troutdale Road.

Property owners must agree to have their homes registered.

Troutdale Elementary School and Troutdale City Hall also have been recommended for the list as local historic sites.

To be considered, a property (or natural site) must be 50 years or older and have historic or architectural significance.

A home renewed

On her kitchen counter, Walston flips through a binder of old newspaper clippings and sepia-toned photographs, given to her by local historian Sharon Nesbit. It is the gathered history of Cedar Place.

Walston, a self-employed grand master nail technician and antique collector, points to a newspaper clipping from The Outlook dated 1916.

It’s an announcement for Miss Olive Olsen’s stepping out party to be chaperoned at Cedar Place.

by: OUTLOOK PHOTO: JIM CLARK - Cindy Walston reads stories about her home's former owners.“It was their summer home, but the kids went to school here,” she said.

Walston reads on to find that at Olive’s party, the girls embarked on a sleigh ride escapade, and when they returned, danced at home until 1 in the morning.

“She was quite the debutant in Troutdale,” Walston says.

Fascinated by the history, Walston says, “I think, ‘Wow, that happened in this house!’”

It makes her wonder where in the house Olive danced and what her friends dressed like.

The Olsen daughter made the paper again, only this time, it was because of a tragic incident.

After her father had left for work, Olive went for a drive with friends. Sadly, their car crashed into the creek that runs by Cedar Place, and Olive’s two friends were killed.

“There’s gotta be a ghost story somewhere,” Walston says.

Walston says she and her husband are bringing Cedar Place back to its early-20th-century look.

by: OUTLOOK PHOTO: JIM CLARK - The Walstons have decorated their dining room in a century-old fashion.She says the house style is American Foursquare, a boxy design popular from the mid-1890s to late 1930s. Walston is painting the house in colonial colors.

The couple has left alone its century-old oak hardwood floors and wavy glass windows, but stripped the walls of their former pink wallpaper and repainted them a warm oatmeal beige.

The bright key-lime green exterior soon will become a buttery yellow to match its historic image, etched in a wooden door hanging on the front of the house.

With years’ worth of collected antiques, Walston has decorated the parlor, dining room and living room with what she calls “French country mixed with Old World antiques and modern comfort.”

One of Walston’s favorite historic features is the dining room’s brick fireplace.

She has painted it a pewter green, and above its mantle, her husband installed 200-year-old floor paneling salvaged from their California house, a renovated Victorian.

Another interesting part of the house is a small room that connects to a “secret” staircase, which Walston says likely led to the maid’s bedroom, (now her closet).

“We think this was the maid’s living room,” she says.

As a tribute to the former housekeeper, Walston has decorated the staircase with vintage washboards, irons, brooms and a “housekeeper wanted” sign.

While Walston plans to keep Cedar Place close to its historic rendition, she plans to convert the former guest house adjacent the creek into her salon, the Cedar Place Salon.



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