Mollie Miles – The Years After 1945

[Editor: The name “Mollie Miles” was featured in the popular movie of the 2020s: Ford v. Ferrari about the 1960s race car competition. Many visit our website seeking information about this character. This is a different, equally interesting, Mollie Miles.]

Mollie Miles, 2011 (photo Virginia Vanture)

Mollie Miles, 2011 (photo Virginia Vanture)

Thomas Miles was a consulting engineer with an office in Portland and in need of a home for his family. Housing was difficult to find after WWII. One day he and Mollie were driving in the country and ended up in a lane at the end of which stood a milk house belonging to the Denny family. They inquired if the building was available and were told it was. Also available was the tenant house which the Miles quickly rented moving the family of five into a building then 14X20 feet wide. The milk house became Thomas’ office.

The Denny family shortly sold the property to the Kaiser Company, which had plans to develop housing on the land. Only 6 or 8 houses were built at Pinehurst before Kaiser decided to move the project to Oakland. Just off of Jamison Road, the property was not easily accessible as there was no bus service and those coming from Portland relied upon Canyon Road as the major road between Beaverton and the city.

– By Virginia Vanture, written from notes taken while visiting with Mollie Miles in her home on May 10, 2011.

In Mollie’s own words

The following is written by Mollie Miles.

Garden Home in the period just after World War II was a small sprinkle of homes, orchards, horses, and a school. I do not recall a grocer, post office, gas station or doctor; the prerequisites of village life. The Frank Estate was tucked away in a deep wood near the railroad and off of Oleson Road. The homes of typical American businessmen seeking relief from the bustle of the city were singly arranged along a railroad connected directly to Portland, with small lanes leading to the family homes lining the lanes between the rail line and “Garden Home Road.” And that was, basically, all there was. The small Garden Home elementary school was at the intersection with Oleson Road.

And that was the Garden Home Forrest Lamb discovered when realtor gossip told of a mall to be like Lloyd Center that would occupy undeveloped acreage not far from Sawyer’s Viewmaster plant at the crossing known as Progress. In Progress was a venturing produce sales, and beyond Garden Home toward Portland southeasterly, was an open shed cannery where area grade school mothers could can the peaches from nearby orchards.

Beaverton’s village then housed the new Birds Eye plant for processing strawberries and peaches. The plant provided free Marshall strawberry plants to local residents to grow, and local children from Garden Home, McKay, and Raleigh schools were taken by school bus to pick the berries to be then taken to the Birds Eye plant for processing.

Garden Home School was the center of the community and northeast of there was the western beginning of vast pastures for Alpenrose Dairy which was the principal source of local milk then delivered house to house locally as well as in Portland.

Mollie Miles obituary

Mollie Miles - Oregonian obit

Mollie Miles – 1916-2018

March 21, 1916 to December 4, 2018

A wonderful era has come to an end with the passing of Mollie Miles of Raleigh Hills aged 102! She was the admired matriarch of Mother Miles Boarding house as our family home was affectionately called.

Tom and Mollie Miles built the modern rancher in 1950. It was a home and office for the family engineering business. Mother Miles was the brownie leader, executive office organizer, typist, accountant, tax adviser for the office, fresh bread maker to all, host to international students and dignitaries and mother of four.

Her correspondence to all who came in contact was legendary…the Facebook connector of her day…and all through letters. Our family included “brothers and sisters” from Japan, Mexico, Brazil, New Zealand, UK and Switzerland.
Tom and Mollie were hugely influential to the young over 50 years encouraging us to get out and see the world. Although partially disabled, it did not deter her from traveling well into her 90’s. Her positive philosophical spirit was infectious.

We farewell her fondly at a Celebration of Life service at 2 p.m., Thursday Dec. 13, 2018, at Wilhelm Portland Memorial Funeral Home. Reception to follow. Flowers accepted, Donations may be made to her favorite music station, All Classical Portland.

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5 Responses to Mollie Miles – The Years After 1945

  1. Pingback: February 2021 News | Garden Home History Project

  2. Pingback: February 2021 Update – Garden Home History Email | Garden Home History Project

  3. Virginia Vanture says:

    I loved reading this piece about Mollie. I hade the opportunity to meet and interview Mollie because she had contacted the History Project to share information and material dating from the period when the Garden Home School maintained an active P.T.A. I then had the pleasure of meeting with her several times to hear about the earlier times in our area. The material was filled with information giving us a glimpse of that time when mothers spend their days “working” in homes, classrooms, neighborhood churches and various youth groups such as the Scouts, Campfire and Girl Scouts, rather than offices. The last time I met with her she wanted to apologize for not having more information to share with us about Garden Home School. Her explanation was that because the younger members of her family ended up students at McKay school she had more personal experience with that school. Given the wealth of knowledge shared about Garden Home and Garden Home School I wondered what she might have shared with us about McKay!

  4. Pingback: March 2021 News | Garden Home History Project

  5. Pingback: May 2021 News | Garden Home History Project

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