Ruth Martin’s history of Garden Home (written 1959)

This history of Garden Home was written by Ruth Martin, wife of Plez Martin.  It was included in the Washington County Extension book of 1959 celebrating Oregon’s 100 years of statehood: A Centennial History of Washington County, Oregon. It is included here with permission from her son, Clark Martin, November, 2012. This is one of our earliest documents relating some of Garden Home’s history.

The document has been retyped exactly as written.  Editor comments regarding some historical facts are clearly noted.

Garden Home by Mrs. Plez (Ruth) Martin

There were few families in Garden Home before 1900.  The Scherner family were early settlers who lived on what is now Alden Avenue.  Dr. Hetlesater was the first physician known to reside here; his home was on the present Mayo Avenue.

Mr. T. E. Hills had the first post office; before that, the mail was distributed at Hillsdale.  The Hills family lived on Oleson Road one block southwest of Garden Home Road (the present Dixon home).     (on east side of Oleson, Ed.)

There were two early-day groceries, the Red Store at the confluence of Multnomah Boulevard with Garden Home Road, and the White Store at the Garden Home –Oleson intersection.  Chris Jaeger operated the White store for many years.  The grocery was in front, feed store and warehouse were in the rear, and the living quarters upstairs.  Mr. Jaeger’s mother, who he called “mudder,” spent many hours in a rocker on the long veranda in the company of the family parrot who chatted with all passersby.  This building burned in the spring of 1956.  (Chris Jaeger’s “mother” was Mrs. Nichols who “adopted” Chris after he jumped ship and arrived in Garden Home. Ed.)

Our earliest public transportation was by Oregon Electric train.  The depot was almost directly behind the present Whitney’s Custom Cannery.  Eastward a short distance, in Multnomah County, was Barstow station.  At Garden Home the Oregon Electric system divided, one branch going west to Forest Grove and the other south to Salem, Corvallis and Eugene.  After passenger service was discontinued, steam trains still traveled the tracks hauling freight and logs. Years later portions of the right-of-way were sold to be converted into Multnomah Boulevard.  From Oleson Road to Beaverton city limits, the old right-of-way has become a bridle path for the Portland Hunt Club and Nichol Riding Academy.

The area now known as Raleigh Hills was formerly Oleson Station, served by the Red Electric.  Several members of the Oleson family are still living along Oleson Road.

The first water system took the form of wooden pipes from the Jaeger well.  Only five years ago were the last of these wooden pipes replaced by metal.  The Garden Home Water District now has a large storage tank at the top of the hill on Garden Home Road, which provides us with Bull Run water purchased from Portland.

In the last few years we have seen a great development of new businesses, not merely the expected service businesses needed by suburbanites (Lamb’s Grocery, variety store, beauty shop, service stations, and so on) but factories (Crown Machine Works,  Ammo Products, Harco Manufacturing Co., Acme Spinning Manufacturing Co.).

SCHOOLS:  Children of this community used to attend classes at McKay School near Progress.  The first school here was conducted above the Red Store by Miss Beebe.  In 1911 the Garden Home School was built where it stands today.  There have been four additions to the building and the teaching staff is now 17.  (First school was located above the White store. Ed.) .  

CHURCHES:  The first Sunday School and Church services were held in the classroom above the Red Store.   Garden Home community Church was built in 1918.  Its parsonage was erected in the fall of 1953 and occupied by Reverend and Mrs. John Wood.  Feeling a need for more Sunday School space, the church purchased the old McLoughlin home adjoining the parsonage in 1954.  (Church history calls theMcLoughlin home the Fraley home. Ed.) The church, now known as Garden Home Methodist Community Church, is now awaiting architectural plans for a new building.  (The church services were first held above the White store.  It was built with a second floor for community events.  Vivian Bosley tells about the living quarters on the second floor of the Red store. Ed.)

PRINCESS OF BEAUTY:  Many will be interested in a distinction brought to Garden Home by Miss Dorothy Johnson, daughter of Gus Johnson.  In 1955, as Miss Oregon, she entered the competition for the title of Miss America at Atlantic City, and emerged with second prize.

COMMUNITY HALL:  Until a service station took its place in 1957, a large building stood on the southwest corner of the Oleson-Garden Home Road intersection.  In later years it was Gus Johnson’s garage.  Originally it had been a community hall for public gatherings.   (Mr. Knudsen cut the large building in half with a hand saw, moving the west section further up Garden Home Road for his home. Ed.)

Initially collected by Elaine Shreve, Nov. 2012. Editorial comments are supported by Virginia Mapes book, Garden Home- the way it was and other research.  Most all subjects have more information on this website.  Edited by Elaine Shreve.

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