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Celebrate the people of LO's past

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Oswego Heritage Council's 10th-annual tour on May 20 features seven historic places

REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Oswego Heritage Council Executive Director Nancy Niland (left) and Historic Home Tour chairwoman Nancy Dunis visit The Needham House, one of the stops on this year's tour.For Nancy Dunis, the Oswego Heritage Council's annual Historic Home Tour is about much more than vintage furnishings and original hardwood floors — it's about the people who built the foundations for the city.

"In the past, the home tour has been primarily just about the houses and architectural design and history of the houses," Dunis says. "My goal this year was to get people to experience and explore ... the historical aspect of it besides just the houses — the people who lived in the houses, their stories."

Dunis, a Heritage Council member and the home tour's chairwoman, is eager for attendees to connect with several people from Lake Oswego's history during the 10th annual Historic Home Tour on Saturday, May 20. The tour, a fundraiser for the Heritage Council, will feature seven stops at historic locales around the city.

This year's tour features an unexpected stop: the Oswego Pioneer Cemetery, where many of the city's earliest residents are buried.

"A lot of people have never been to the cemetery," Dunis says. "It's a beautiful place — very park-like."

Tour-goers can also check out the Heritage Council's Heritage House and History Museum, along with the Iron Company Worker's Cottage, the Shipley-Cook Farmstead and the Dhooghe-Johnson, Needham and Peters houses.

Participants will be shuttled between locations by a fully restored vintage 1945 green school bus owned by Sean Kennedy of The Vintage Tour Bus Co. — another new feature this year.

Oswego Heritage Council Executive Director Nancy Niland says she's looking forward to seeing tour-goers' reactions to the variety of stops on the tour. She says that celebrating historic homes helps the city maintain its sense of place.

"The history behind every home is unique and important, and once those homes are torn down, part of that history is lost," she says. "I think that having the Historic Home Tour in Lake Oswego is continually inspiring people to protect the older homes, to see value in them."

Here are a few more details about the homes on the tour:

  • The Dhooghe-Johnson House: Also known as the Vose House, this folk Victorian and vernacular-style house was built around 1898. Visitors can meet relatives of the home's original occupants and get a peek at family heirlooms, photographs and recipes.

  • The Iron Company Worker's Cottage: One of the longest-standing structures in the Old Town neighborhood, this cottage was one of roughly a dozen built around 1880 to house iron industry workers. The City of Lake Oswego purchased the cottage in 2003 and is currently leasing it to the Lake Oswego Preservation Society as a history center and museum.

  • The Needham House: Named for former Lake Oswego Mayor Charles Needham, who bought the home in 1950 while he was in office, this 1904 home features vintage fir ceiling boards and an original back door. One of Needham's sons, Paul Needham, will be onsite to discuss the home and his family's history there.

  • Oswego Heritage House and Museum: A colonial revival-style structure that's almost 90 years old, the Oswego Heritage Council's home base offers visitors the chance to hear stories from costumed characters, check out videos and maps about some of the area's earliest settlers and search through the Heritage Council's wealth of reading materials.

  • The Peters House: Featuring vintage light fixtures, an original chimney stack and a 1920s-era Magic Chef oven, this bungalow-style home was built in the 1920s. During the tour, Anne De Wolf, co-owner of Arciform — a Portland design firm that specializes in restorations and remodels — will discuss the work she did to enhance and maintain the home's character.

  • The Shipley-Cook Farmstead: Built in 1862 and renovated in 2003, the Shipley-Cook barn is one of only a few local barns still standing from its era. Visitors to this working farm can see family heirloom quilts and furniture from 1912, taste wine made from grapes harvested on the property and sample fudge provided by the Cook family.

    Contact Lake Oswego Review reporter Kelsey O'Halloran at 503-636-1281 ext. 101 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..