Carolyn Ernstrom Welch

Carolyn Ernstrom Welch

Carolyn Ernstrom Welch

About 1950 through 1957

In my experience, having lived in Garden Home in 1950 when I was eight years of age, and then again in 1955 through the summer of 1958, when I was twelve through fifteen years old, the following is my recollection of the community in both those time frames.

The Johnson gas station owners’ daughter, Dorothy Johnson, was first runner up for Miss America in 1956 or 1957. Her pageant clothes were made by the local seamstress, Mrs. Pearl  Munsen, who lived on 74th. Dorothy went on to pursue a career in Hollywood and was not heard from again.

The Hunt Club off Oleson Road, adjacent to the intersection of Oleson and Canby Roads, had both an indoor training and show arena as well as an outside track. In 1955-1957, we could have English style riding lessons for one dollar for one-half hour. People boarded their horses there as well.

Aaron  Frank Estate (Frank of Meier and Frank) was off Oleson Road between Garden Home Road and Canby Road. This is just a note of interest as he was not active in the community.

Whitney’s cannery was on the corner of Garden Home Road and Multnomah Blvd. where people brought and bought their fruit there and canned it themselves. I don’t know if the cannery also canned commercially and sold their goods.

Throckmorton’s mom & pop store was the only store within several miles in the 1950’s. The Throckmorton’s were involved in community activities involving the Methodist church and Garden Home Grade school. For larger grocery runs, people used to go into Multnomah to buy most groceries.

Garden Home post office was housed next door to Throckmorton’s store. The lady was there for many years – I have a friend who knows her name.

There was also an old shoemaker with a wooden leg named Cecil who occupied a store front beside the post office. He was there in 1950-51 but I don’t know how long he stayed as I moved back to St. Johns for the next five years.

By 1956, a Texaco Station had been built on the corner where the orchard was, and then a strip storefront was built, housing an ice cream shop, a dentist, and a drug store. Lamb’s grocery store was then built near where it sits now as a Thriftway Store.

Garden Home Grade School was very small in the 1950’s.  Our eighth grade graduating class of 1956 had 36 students, eleven of whom were girls.  I have class pictures of each year from first grade through the eighth grade. Some of the faculty names that  I remember were: Mrs. Patella, 3rd grade teacher; Mr. Griffin, 7th grade teacher, Mr. Gustafson, 8th grade teacher, Mrs. Harrison, 8th grade teacher, Mrs. Lawrence, 7th grade teacher and Mr. Thurston (or Thurman) principal.

A few of the local boys were able make some money by working as caddies at the Portland Golf Club.   They were not old enough to drive to the club but they could access the grounds through a hole in the fence at the end of 78th Street off Garden Home Road and walk to the club house.

In 1956-1958, while riding on the Beaverton High School bus, we passed through Progress and there was a sign on an old defunct gas station stating “Watch Progress Progress”. I thought that was very funny at the time as there was nothing there. Now it is the home of Washington Square.

There was a bus service through Garden Home, going into Portland which ran a few times a day. It was not Greyhound, nor a Portland City Transit System bus. I believe it might have been a Trailways bus.


1950 aerial view of Oleson Rd and Garden Home Rd intersection; 4 corners, clockwise
1. Garden Home Grade School
2. Orchard
3. Throckmorton’s store
4. Johnson’s Gas station

1949 or 1950 – Roy and Mina Ernstrom bought the Garden Home Feed and Seed Store on the corner of Garden Home Road and 74th Street from Mr. and Mrs. Williams.  They kept the store open for only a year or so, and Roy Ernstrom started a Body and Fender shop (car repair shop) in the same building.  Within the next six years, Roy built another concrete block one-story building and rented it to a mechanic (Tom). There was also a barber shop around 1957 (I think called Ray’s Barber Shop) on the Garden Home Road side of the main building.  The Elks Club bought the main building in the early sixties for their lodge and then eventually sold it to another party. This bright blue building currently houses Scotty’s. I don’t know if Scotty’s owns the building.

Roy also bought the house and property on Garden Home Road next to the building with the intention of tearing down the house for future commercial buildings. There was a hassle trying to get the zoning changed from residential to commercial, so the house was rented as a residence, and it was eventually sold.

The Methodist Church on Garden Home Road was the only church in the area, and they had a very active MYF (Methodist Youth Fellowship) group in 1955 and 1956. We had a baseball team and we took several trips to various recreational places. Reverend John Wood was the pastor.

Some other possible contacts would be Tim O’Callahan, Mike Herzog, (Herzog-Meier Motors in Beaverton) and Roger Mullen.

Mrs. O’dell was the egg lady.  She was elderly and you would see her walking up Garden Home road in her Sunday best with her bag full of eggs. My mother thought that was her only source of income and we always bought our eggs from her.

There was also Hiller’s chicken farm behind their house on 74th. I don’t know how much commercial trade they had but they had lots of chickens.

By Carolyn Ernstrom Welch

Further comments from Carolyn Ernstrom Welch, March 9, 2018, telephone call to Elaine Shreve.

After reading your email about the presentation on the old church bell, I was remembering Garden Home again. Rev. Woods was the minister of the Community Church. We had a very active MYF (Methodist Youth Fellowship) and played softball a lot. Our teams had both boys and girls on them and we played other churches or other similar teams. I was in the 8th grade in 1955-56. We had 35 kids in the 8th grade.

At that time there was no Little League so church activities were important. Parents drove us to the games. I think we played ball at the school. I remember the good food in the lunch room and Mrs. Steele.

My Dad bought the Seed & Feed building in 1948 (today, the Dugout and the Local Leaf store). In 1955 we moved back to Garden Home. My mother really wanted to live in N. Portland where her four sisters all lived in one block so we seemed to move back and forth a couple times. We lived in a cement block building which my dad built, just south of the Seed & Feed building. My dad would carry cement blocks up a tall ladder to finish the Seed building but perhaps we either moved or couldn’t afford to put the roof on so it stood open for many years. The Elks finally put the roof on.

This entry was posted in Memoirs, People and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Carolyn Ernstrom Welch

  1. Pingback: Memoir of Dorothy Lois Upchurch (1919-2009) | Garden Home History Project

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s