June 2020 News

In this edition: New vintage photos of Whitney’s Cannery. History of the pedestrian path on SW Garden Home Road. Detailed information on the construction history of Garden Home School. Fanno Creek Trail memorial benches. Harold Gjerman, and more.

Welcome to our website about historic Garden Home. In the People and Places pages, you’ll find well over two hundred stories, and over two thousand photos of vintage Garden Home and residents attending our events. We love hearing your memories about Garden Home! Let us know yours. You can contact us at GardenHomeHistory@gmail.com or call Elaine Shreve at 503-246-5879 or Esta Mapes at 503-246-5758 or Stan Houseman at 503-679-3691.

Upcoming Events

Due to the current public health recommendations in response to the COVID-19 virus, we will not have slide programs until the Garden Home Recreation Center re-opens. We have interesting programs planned for the future. Take good care of yourselves.

Garden Home History Project 10th Anniversary

Thank you for your interest, participation, and support over the past ten years. We are looking back at some of our favorite stories and photos during this anniversary year. Please send your stories, photos and memories of Garden Home to GardenHomeHistory@gmail.com!

For some great stories about early Garden Home, we recommend you enjoy:

1905, Von Bergens: Magdelana, Andreas holding Frieda, Ida and Elsie standing and Andreas parents

1905, Von Bergens: Magdelana, Andreas holding Frieda, Ida and Elsie standing and Andreas parents.
Courtesy Richard Roth and Madeline Benner. See post.

Andreas and Magdelana Von Bergen Dairy – Recollections of Madeline Benner of the Von Bergen Dairy:

The Von Bergen farm home in the 1920s and 30s was a big two-story house. I slept in a little room on the main floor when I visited. When I would stay overnight with Grandma, I would hear scary noises at night. Finally I learned that walnuts were put upstairs on the floor to dry and I was hearing mice chase the walnuts around. The family received the farm through a donation land claim.

1910 Garden Home baseball team

Late 1920s Garden Home baseball team. #1 Duke Scherner in back.
Courtesy Don Smith. See post.

Don Smith – Don was in second grade when he and his mother, Postmistress Margaret Scherner Smith and his grandmother, Maria Scherner moved back to Garden Home in 1935. Margaret had grown up in Garden Home and is pictured in the 1911 first school class who met overhead in the Nichol’s store. Don caddied at Portland Golf Club as a young man. As caddies, they got to play for free on Monday mornings and on slow days could sneak onto the back nine for a little more time. Don retired as a golf pro.

Fanno Creek Dairy business card

Bob Feldman – Bob grew up on the Fanno Creek Dairy, which was located on the north side of Garden Home Road new SW 92nd Ave. Back in the 1940s, you might have seen young Bob Feldman riding his bike home from Garden Home School precariously toting a pail of slop from the cafeteria to feed his new baby pigs. He sold his first set of 10 weiner pigs and hoped for a new business. “Weiner pigs” are sold young for pork.

Fogelbo, home of Ross Fogelquist

Fogelbo, home of Ross Fogelquist

Ross Fogelquist – Ross Fogelquist’s lovely home, called Fogelbo, is next door to Nordia House, the Nordic cultural center on SW Oleson Road. Ross served in different positions at the Swedish Consulate between 1992 and 2007, and retired as the Honorary Swedish Consul for Oregon in 20007.

New Stories

New vintage photos of Whitney’s Cannery

Shelly Bigley of the Old Market Pub and Brewery provided us with a large gallery of vintage photos of Whitney’s Cannery. To view the full gallery, see our story on Mark and Leona Whitney and the Whitney Cannery, 1950-1976. Thank you, Shelly!

Garden Home Road Safety Path

The bike and pedestrian path that runs along the north side SW Garden Home Road was built in approximately 1965. Prior to development of the walking path along Garden Home Road, children and others had to walk on the road, dodging cars and endangering their lives. It is remembered that one child was killed on SW Oleson Road. It took several years to fight for and win the approval to build the path. Read the story about the development of the safety path in our story on the Garden Home Road Safety Path.

Construction history of Garden Home School

Don Dunbar, former principal of Garden Home School (1968-1974), provided us with this very interesting diagram explaining the sequence and dates of the various additions to Garden Home School (now the Garden Home Recreation Center). Note the area outlined in black dotted lines is the location of the original school building that was built in 1912 and taken down in 1967. View photos of the school over the years in our work-in-progress story on the history of Garden Home School, 1912 to 1982.

Garden Home School - construction history diagram from Don Dunbar

Garden Home School – construction history diagram from Don Dunbar

1912 Newly constructed Garden Home School

1912 Newly constructed Garden Home School

Memorial benches on the Fanno Creek Trail

Read about the three memorial benches placed along the Fanno Creek Trail honoring Steve Mapes, Peter Herman, and Jeanette and Vernon Fredrickson. There’s a fourth bench located in the memorial garden at SW Oleson Rd and SW 80th Ave memorializing Terry Moore, who led the Garden Home Gardeners and their involvement in the remodeling of SW Oleson Road following the infamous 2007 chainsaw massacre (widening of SW Oleson Road).

Harold Gjerman

Read our story about Harold Gjerman, who has lived in Garden Home since 1970. Harold spent 45 years working for the railroads, and retired in 2004 as a conductor. He is a member of the Spokane, Portland & Seattle Railway Historical Society, and has provided us with important print information about the Oregon Electric and the Garden Home Railroad station and rail lines. These were most helpful in writing captions for the colorized train photos given to Garden Home History by Colin Lamb. We are pleased to have Harold added to our Advisory Board, Garden Home History Project.

The Garden Home junction of the Oregon Electric Railway

Read our story on the history of the Garden Home station of the Oregon Electric Railway to view our gallery of vintage photos of the station, including 1936 aerial photos that finally put to rest the exact location of the station. On the photo below, you can clearly see the station building on a raised platform (note the shadows).

1936 Army Corps of Engineers Aerial Photo - Garden Home Railroad Station detail

1936 Army Corps of Engineers aerial photo – Garden Home Railroad Station detail

Garden Home train station - rear

Garden Home train station – rear

Garden Home train station

Garden Home train station

1936 aerial photos of Garden Home area by Army Corps of Engineers – Update

We’ve updated our collection of six 1936 aerial photographs of the Garden Home area taken by the US Army Corps of Engineers to include detailed annotations of landmarks and road names. The annotated versions of the photos make it easier to get your bearings when viewing the 1936 photos.

SW Garden Home intersection and train station - 1936 Army Corps of Engineers aerial photo (annotated)

SW Garden Home intersection and train station – 1936 Army Corps of Engineers aerial photo (annotated)
View the collection of 1936 aerial photographs

Colin Lamb and the history of Lamb’s Garden Home Thriftway – Update

We’ve added some additional vintage photographs and news updates to Colin Lamb’s history of Lamb’s Garden Home Thriftway.

Recent News

Closure of the Garden Home Marketplace grocery store

The Garden Home Marketplace grocery store (formerly Lamb’s Thriftway) closed in October, 2019. Colin Lamb has given us seven of the large colorized early Garden Home photos that hung on the wall of the store, in addition to the three very large train reliefs that also hung near the deli counter. We are working to place all of these historical artifacts in the Garden Home Recreation Center, the Garden Home Community Library, and the Old Market Pub & Brewery.

With Colin Lamb’s approval, the historic church bell, bronze plaques, and vintage post office safe remain in place inside the now closed grocery store. The Old Market Pub & Brewery has tentatively agreed to host the historic post office safe.

We want to acknowlege Colin Lamb’s long-term support of the Garden Home community and of the Garden Home History Project. Read more about Colin Lamb and the history of the grocery store.

We do not yet know the future of the liquor store or other businesses previously located inside the Market Place. We’ll keep you posted as we learn more developments.

New display cabinet in the Garden Home Community Library

Garden Home Cooks! See our history display in the Garden Home Community Library: Garden Home recipe books by the Garden Home School’s Parent Faculty group, two recipe books from the Methodist Church, Isolda Steele and Shirley Bernard’s wonderful recipe books. The vintage kitchen appliances include the coffee grinder, churn, toaster, chopper and more!

May 2020 Newsletter

GHHP Gazette - May 2020 cover
Thank you for the great comments on our May 2020 Newsletter (PDF). It covers the 10th Anniversary of the Garden Home History Project, COVID19, Garden Home Cooks! display in the library display cabinet, 1936 aerial photograph updates, blooming of the Oleson Gardens, photos of the Garden Home History Project Board of Directors, excerpts from some of our favorite stories from the website, and Garden Home History Through The Years in photos.

Get Involved

You are invited to our Board meetings which are held the second Monday of most months, 6:30 pm at the Garden Home Recreation Center. We often begin with slide show presentations. All are welcome to attend our meetings. We’re an active and fun group, we have lots of opportunities to get involved!
Historic Garden Home street sign

Historic Garden Home street sign

Historic Garden Home street signs: We currently have about 35 of the Historic Garden Home street sign toppers in our community. Each sign was purchased by a friend or family member to honor their loved one. Click here to view photos of the signs and for information about sponsoring a sign.

Our generous donors permit us to print and mail this newsletter ($140) for our non-e-mail people and for the Garden Home Recreation Center. We also replace the Historic Garden Home street signs once for signs that disappear, current cost for each sign, $60. With our latest order, we’ll have about 35 signs out in our neighborhoods. We also have website costs, printing, paper, plaques and many other costs of an organization. Donor names are listed on our History Bulletin Board at the Recreation Center. Thank you to all of our donors and to all of our volunteers for their time and skills.

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Mark and Leona Whitney and the Whitney Cannery, 1950-1976

[Update: Leona Whitney, 1920-2015. Read her obituary here.]

Historic Photos of Whitney’s Cannery

Thanks to Shelly Bigley, Old Market Pub and Brewery, for most of these photos collected from Leona Whitney. They help to tell the story of Whitney’s Cannery from 1950 to 1976. Most of the aerial photos are by Otto Arndt. Today, the cannery location is the Old Market Pub and Brewery.

Aerial photos of Whitney’s Cannery

Whitney’s Cannery at 6959 SW Garden Home Road, 1950 to 1976

Cannery operations

Church ladies

The “Helping Hands Circle” ladies from the Community Church made daily sandwiches to sell at the cannery to raise funds for a new church organ.

Building the apartment

Winter Christmas tree operations and 1969 big snow

What came after Whitney’s Cannery

Frank and Steve Comella opened Comella’s Produce and Flower Center in 1978. It later changed names to Comella & Son Produce and Flower Center, then Comella & Son & Daughter Produce and Flower Center, closing in 1992. Today, it is the Old Market Pub & Brewery.

Cannery to Pub Timeline

  • 1944: A Cooperative Cannery was being used in a building in the Progress area.
  • 1945: A new Garden Home Cooperative Cannery was built by community members in a more central location for Garden Home families and people from the whole southwest area. It was located at the junction of what would become Multnomah Boulevard and Garden Home Road.
  • 1950: Mark and Leona Whitney purchased the Cannery and continued the business, adding flowers and produce until 1976.
  • 1978: Frank Comella purchased the Whitney’s Cannery in 1978 labeling the store as “Comella & Son Produce and Flower Center” with a large sign over the top of the building. Later he added “& Daughter”. Frank had been the produce manager at Angelos grocery in Progress. He retired in 1992 and sold the building to Andy and Shelly Bigley.
  • April 13, 1994: Grand Opening of the Old Market Brew Pub! Building and remodeling to create a popular pizza and full service restaurant and brew pub in the building previously housing the Garden Home Cooperative Cannery, Whitney’s Cannery, and the Comella & Son & Daughter Produce and Flower Center.
  • April, 2020: Oregon public safety rules for the COVID-19 pandemic forces Old Market Pub to limit service to takeout and telephone orders until the number of cases decreases and the Governor opens such businesses to return to in-store service.

Leona’s memories of Whitney’s Cannery

By Virginia Vanture, November 28, 2010

The following is from a phone interview with Leona in March 2010.

Mark Whitney at the Co-op Cannery, 1950

Mark Whitney at the Co-op Cannery, 1950

Before coming to Oregon, Leona and Mark Whitney were living in Las Vegas.  Mark was working for the Union Pacific Railroad on the Streamliner, but the older son developed allergies and the family felt it would be better to move to another climate.  With this in mind Mark made a trip to Portland and was able to get a job with Portland General Electric. During this time he made a friend who worked for the American Can Company who had heard about a small cannery in Garden Home that was up for sale. This was 1950. He told Mark, “You may never get rich owning the cannery but you can make a good living at it.” Mark and Leona visited the Cannery and bought it not knowing much of anything about the business. Leona said she had to learn fast!

The Cannery was located on the north side of Garden Home Road at the junction with Multnomah Boulevard. The building subsequently housed Frank Comella’s fruit and vegetables, a forerunner of the current farmers’ markets. Old Market Pub is now in this location, a portion of which is the original cannery building.

Whitney's Cannery whole purple plums label

Whitney’s Cannery whole purple plums label

Aside from canning fruits and vegetables that were brought into the cannery, The Whitneys began selling preserves under their own label. It happened this way. Mark had picked up a load of apricots from The Dalles which looked pretty good as he examined the top layers of the boxes. But once back in Garden Home and getting a better look at them he discovered the lower layers in the boxes were all overripe. Needing to do something with the fruit and do it quickly before the apricots spoiled, Leona made up batches of apricot and pineapple preserves, which turned out to be a hit with the locals. They used the smallest cans they had on hand, those usually used for canning fish, and sold the jam for 19 cents a can. Consequently, what might have been a business setback became an opportunity.

Whitney's Cannery, 1950, Mark Whitney in foreground

Whitney’s Cannery, 1950, Mark Whitney in foreground

The Whitneys expanded that line of the business, canning every kind of fruit jam and selling it in gallon cans. The local schools operated their own cafeterias at that time and the Whitney Cannery built their year-round trade on providing canned jams and fruits to the schools.

Leona kept the books and was in charge of the payroll. Anywhere from eighteen to twenty women were hired to work full-time during the busiest periods. During peak canning time, late summer through fall, the employees worked nights canning the Whitney’s fruit while those in the area who wished to have their own produce canned were accommodated during the day. Produce would be brought in the morning and run through the canning process. Applesauce was made by first cleaning the apples, then steaming them in a 40-gallon vat and then putting them through a strainer. At this point, the owner of the apples could choose to add spices or flavoring as they wished. The applesauce was then placed in the cans, sealed and stamped with the owners stamp. Individuals were asked to pick up the canned items before closing that day otherwise they were taken to the warehouse and charged extra to keep until picked up. The warehouse was small so space was limited and rather than pay the extra cost for storage most people picked up their canning the same day.

Mark was in charge of just about everything including selling the canned goods to the schools during the winter months. But Leona admits that they all did a little of everything and there was seldom any down time for the family. This meant that the Whitney boys, Doug and Richard, who were still in school at this time also worked in the Cannery. Their job was to manage the warehouse where they did a lot of lifting and carrying!

The women in Garden Home that Leona knew best were those such as Mildred Stevens and Lois Day and Mrs. Singletary who worked in the cannery. Working gave her little time to engage in community activities but she did belong to the Garden Home Community Church’s “Helping Hands” committee, which is how sandwiches came to be sold at the Cannery.

Ad for Comella & Son Produce & Flower Center

Ad for Comella & Son Produce & Flower Center

Needing to raise money to buy a new organ for the church the group came up with the idea of selling sandwiches at the cannery. The Whitneys agreed. The “Helping Hands” women then began taking turns making 10 or 12 sandwiches each day and taking them to the cannery to be sold. And the idea caught on. Locals who came thinking they would be able to finish with their canning by lunch only to find they were running late provided a ready market for the project. The sandwich sales continued until enough were sold to pay for the new organ.

The Whitney family operated the Cannery for 26 years quitting business in 1976. The building was sold to Frank Comella, who operated a fruit stand there for many years. The building now houses the “OLD MARKET BREW PUB.” When I asked Leona why they sold the cannery she said, “Well, I guess we were just tired. It was a lot of work.”  Which I somehow felt, in listening to her, was an understatement. Leona now lives in Nevada with her son.

Leona Whitney’s Chalkboard

By Elaine Shreve, 2017

Oregonian April 28, 1972 article about Leona Whitney

Oregonian April 28, 1972 article about Leona Whitney

This unique Garden Home attraction was featured in an April 28, 1972 article in the Oregonian by Andrew Mershon.  The Whitney’s cannery, purchased in 1950, and plant nursery was located at the junction of Multnomah Blvd. and Garden Home Road.   As the article says (and is still true today): Mrs. Whitney has seen many accidents over the years. “Slow Down! You’re Making Me Nervous,” her chalkboard read one morning.  Next day, she followed the stick with a carrot, “You’re doing much better.  Thanks!”

People honked and waved as they drove by.  Salesman would try to sell Mrs. Whitney a modern reader board but she liked the charm of the simple old chalkboard. No one ever bothered the board.  She used quotes or commentaries on the weather, the traffic or current events.  “Caution, pheasants crossing” alerted the traffic and then followed by “Joggers crossing” for a group of neighborhood men.

Mrs. Whitney tried to put a different message on each side of the board in the early days but she was horrified to watch people crane their necks while driving to read both sides of the board.  For safety, she began putting the same message on both sides.  She felt that the chalkboard brought in lots of new customers.

Click here for more stories about the Old Cannery

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Carolyn Diane Boone Grenfell obituary

Carolyn Diane Boone Grenfell, January 26, 1951 to March 29, 2020

Carolyn was a 4th great-granddaughter of one of the first folk hero frontiersmen, Daniel Boone. She graduated from Multnomah Elementary and Jackson High School. Carolyn retired after 31 years as a Food and Nutrition Manager at Oregon Health Sciences University. She was a Charter and Life Member of The Boone Society, Inc., a Kentucky Colonel, Life Member and past Co-President of Sons and Daughters of Oregon Pioneers and a member of Wilsonville-Boones Ferry Historical Society. She was a past member of Multnomah Historical Association and Lincoln County Historical Society.

Carolyn passed away following over 10 years bravely battling serious illnesses. Carolyn spent 69 selfless years putting others before herself. Her determination and clarity of mind were an inspiration to all.

She was preceded in death 11 weeks prior by “the love of her life” for nearly 40 years, Rodney Bickham. She is survived by her daughter and loving caregiver, Richelle Fitzgerald; her grandson, Payton Fitzgerald; her granddaughter and husband, Marijane and Zach Stafford; Rodney’s four daughters; 10 grandchildren; and her sister, Janet Boone McGarrigle.

A private burial at sea is planned for Carolyn and Rodney.

[Editor’s note: Carolyn Diane Boone Grenfell was a colleague and best friend to Jan Fredrickson of the Garden Home History Board. Living in Multnomah, she was interested in all kinds of history, including Garden Home. In 1847, Alphonso Boone, grandson of Daniel Boone, began the Boone’s Ferry service for crossing the Willamette River. Boone’s ferry operated near Wilsonville until 1954, when a bridge for I5 was built over the Willamette River near the ferry site.

Boones Ferry Road is named after her family. She was there with her parents to take the last ride on the Boones Ferry across the Willamette River.]

Posted in Obituaries, People | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Garden Home Road Safety Path

The bike and pedestrian path that runs along the north side SW Garden Home Road was built in approximately 1965. Prior to development of the walking path along Garden Home Road, children and others had to walk on the road, dodging cars and endangering their lives. It is remembered that one child was killed on SW Oleson Road.

Today, the safety path runs from SW 92nd east to SW Oleson Road. Sidewalks are provided through the business area from SW Oleson Road east almost to the junction with SW Multnomah Blvd. No path exists on SW Garden Home Road east of SW Multnomah Blvd.

The Garden Home Gazette 1960, the PTA newsletter, expresses concern about the safety of school children walking on Garden Home Road. They wanted “a path one mile long from Oleson Rd. to 92nd, five feet wide, consisting of 4 inches of gravel.”

Lou Herder reports in the Gazette of 1962 that voters are asked to approve a levy for highway improvement which….is necessary to build a path along Garden Home Road.

In 1963, the Garden Home Traffic Safety Committee, Local School Committee, PTA Board and school officials all worked to “obtain relief from the hazardous road condition.” A County objection often repeated was that “The County does not build pathways.” Residents first surveyed all the properties along Garden Home Road and asked 10 homeowners to sign a voluntary relinquishment for a 50 foot right-of-way. By 1964 the County decreed that it be a 60 foot right-of-way for 27 families with the assurance that this would not become a 4-lane road. Whitford Park residents were concerned to hear plans to take Garden Home Road straight through to Scholls Ferry.(1)

“County engineer McKinstry displayed a map showing 60’ right of way and how the county proposed to utilize it this way: 24’ paved roadway, 10’ shoulders on each side of the roadway, 4’ for ditch area on each side and a 4’ space for utility poles on each side of the roadway.”(1)

Patty Gazeley recalled, “It was a great time of what pulling together in a grass roots effort could do—and that to me is the greatness of Garden Home, people working together to better the community.”

(1) Report to the 350 petitioners signing the petition to the County Board of Commissioners, 1964, provided by Marge Ross

Garden Home Citizens’ Action for Safety Path

This remarkable four page document was developed by Marge Ross, the Garden Home School PTA editor of their newsletter, The Gazette. It describes the actions and meetings beginning in the 1960s to create a safety path along SW Garden Home Road from SW 65th to SW 92nd street. The diligence and commitment of the Garden Home families to attend the many meetings, make contacts, sign petitions, etc. is notable! We extend our thanks to all those parents from the 1960s who worked so hard for our safety path along Garden Home Road.

Garden Home Citizens’ Action for Safety Path report pg 1

Garden Home Citizens’ Action for Safety Path report pg 1

Garden Home Citizens’ Action for Safety Path report pg 2

Garden Home Citizens’ Action for Safety Path report pg 2

Garden Home Citizens’ Action for Safety Path report pg 3

Garden Home Citizens’ Action for Safety Path report pg 3

Garden Home Citizens’ Action for Safety Path report pg 4

Garden Home Citizens’ Action for Safety Path report pg 4

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Patricia Bray Gazeley obituary

Patricia Bray Gazeley, January 9, 1931 to April 29, 2020

Patty and Bill Gazeley

Patty and Bill Gazeley

Patricia Joan “Patty” was born in Springfield, Ill., Jan. 9, 1931 to Major D. and Fay Cantrall Bray. She grew up during the Great Depression, and lived with her parents, grandmother and great-grandmother in Springfield in the house built by her great-grandparents. Her mother, grandmother and great-grandmother were all teachers, and she followed their path. Her father worked at the water filtration plant. She graduated from Lamphere High School and Illinois State University.

Her early years centered on church, family, and the neighborhood, so when Patty was recruited to teach out west in the Portland Public Schools, she was thrilled to learn about the wider world. Among the faculty at Gregory Heights (then an elementary school), she met friends who became like family. One of these friends, Jerry Roth, set her up with a blind date after her first PTA meeting. This is how Patty met Bill Gazeley.

Patty and Bill fell in love, married and, though they were both only children, eventually found themselves with four kids – Barb, Mark, Carolyn and Katie. In the early years, Bill worked long days at his family lumber yard and soon started his own business in Tigard, Columbia Hardwood & Moulding, Co. For a year or so, Bill worked a second shift in Garden Home in Southwest Portland, building his family a home. Patty had her hands full with the kids but brought Bill picnic dinners on the construction site. Patty and Bill lived in Garden Home from about 1959, and Patty stayed in their home after Bill’s death in 2003 (just days before their 50th wedding anniversary) until she moved to Mirabella.
Patty was curious and open. Nothing was beyond her interest. She wondered about Nostradamus, and whether the kids would be healthier if they took kelp and liver pills. She investigated foot reflexology and tried yoga and tap dancing. She and Bill were faithful members of Valley Community Presbyterian Church and later, Calvin Presbyterian Church. Her faith kept her on a quest to understand God’s vast love for us and was never a source of bigotry or fear.

She was a marvelous, straight talking mother who supported her children and helped them explore their interests and potential. Even when money was tight, Patty allowed the kids to buy any book they wanted, and she put aside money for ballet lessons, horseback riding, canoe trips and community theater classes. Patty made sure the family traveled. In the summer of 1967, she and Bill hitched the trailer to the old yellow station wagon and took their four kids for a six week trailer trip, which included stops at: the Mormon Temple in Salt Lake City; the Chief Crazy Horse monument, Black Hills and The Corn Palace in South Dakota; and Bean Station, Tenn., for visits with relatives; among other places.

In the early ’70’s, as the company grew, she joined Bill to work at Columbia Hardwood & Moulding, Co. as personnel manager. She was a tireless advisor and supporter of Bill and the company and many evening discussions centered around CHM.

Patty drew friends and neighbors together and her teacher friends became the “Five Families,” a group that celebrated holidays, shared life, and who maintain close connections even to this day and into the next generation.

She was spirited and forward-thinking. She could be heard saying in the ’70’s, “Do you know the opposite of a male chauvinist pig? A decent human being.” She worked on the S.W. Portland Greenway Bike Path committee to secure a pathway system throughout Washington county, including the Fanno Creek Trail that now edges Patty’s and Bill’s former home in Garden Home. She was a member of an investment club for over 20 years, and chaired the “Lunch and Learn” committee at the Multnomah Athletic Club. She was a planner who saved and invested enough money to send six grandchildren to college.
Patty and Bill cared about arts, community, their faith and supported many causes including the Oregon Community Foundation. Patty learned of Young Musicians camp and sent all her kids there to learn to play music, speak French, and gain exposure to other faiths. She served on the board of directors of Young Musicians and Artists. In her later years she enjoyed belonging to the Assistance League of Portland.

Patty and Bill discovered the charming town of Neskowin on the Oregon Coast in the early ’60’s and it became their refuge. After retirement, Patty also indulged Bill in summers in Desolation Sound, off Vancouver Island, on Bill’s boat. They hosted friends and family, flying in the kids and grandkids on seaplanes for long weekends of adventures in wild, beautiful and remote places.

Patty passed away April 29, 2020, in peace and surrounded by her family. She is survived by her children, Barb (Tim Evans), Mark (Martha), Carolyn (Brad Van Allen), Katie Twombly (Allan); and her grandchildren, Michael and Patrick Gazeley Romney, Katherine and Jack Van Allen, and Andrew and Elizabeth Gazeley.

A party to celebrate Patty’s life will be held after restrictions on gathering are lifted. In the meantime, the family would love to hear your favorite memories of her. Memorial contributions can be made to YMA, Inc. and Veritas School in Newberg.

[Editor’s note: Patty was instrumental in the development of the footpath that runs along Garden Home Road.]

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Harold Gjerman

Harold Gjerman

Harold Gjerman, 2020

Harold Gjerman has lived in Garden Home since 1970, along with his daughter Juli and two grandchildren. They live in the Whitford Park development at the west end of Garden Home Road. Yes, Gjerman is spelled correctly, reflecting Harold’s Danish heritage. Harold and Juli have been active in the CPO 3 for several years and have attended a number of our history presentations. He has shared his knowledge of railroading in the Northwest, vocabulary, history, many photos and printed resources for us. A key resource has been his copy of the early history of the Spokane, Portland & Seattle’s Railway (S,P,&S): Walter Grande’s The Northwest’s Own Railway, 1997, which the Garden Home History Project has since purchased.

Harold spent 45 years working for the railroads and retired in 2004 as a conductor. He was born in Lincoln, Nebraska and traveled with his family when they moved to Oakland, California to work in the shipyards during the WWII. After the war was over, the family moved to Portland Oregon. He went to Lincoln High School, class of 1956, and then worked with his dad in the “U Select It” candy machines (photo) business. Along the way, he also worked as a longshoreman. He first worked for the Spokane, Portland and Seattle rail line and later for the Burlington Northern Railroad.

Harold is a member of the Spokane, Portland & Seattle Railway Historical Society and has provided us with important print information about the Oregon Electric and the Garden Home Railroad station and rail lines. These were most helpful in writing captions for the colorized train photos given to Garden Home History by Colin Lamb. We are pleased to have Harold added to our Advisory Board, Garden Home History Project.

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Memorial benches on the Fanno Creek Trail

People on the popular Fanno Creek Trail enjoy the three memorial benches placed along the trail, the first one at the beginning, near the Recreation Center’s playground.

Steve Mapes bench

Steve was known in the community as a runner and used the trail every day. His wife Esta Mapes says:

As I’ve said before, I love where the bench is located. When I contacted THPRD, I would have been happy anywhere along the path as we used it every day. When they came with the location, I was elated!  It’s perfect because of our connection to the school/rec center/library. I like to think Steve is soaking up the sun and enjoying watching the kids play!

Read the obituary for Steve Mapes.

Jeanette and Vernon Fredrickson bench

The inscription on the bench includes their names, dates, and   “Loving Parents and Creators of Worm Wood Manor”. Jan Fredrickson’s mother installed the sign WormWood Manor on their beautiful nearby property. Jan describes his mother as a vivacious, opinionated, action-oriented woman who could knock down posts to achieve a new porch.  She was a collector “of everything” which makes for a most interesting home. Vernon was an electrical engineer and worked at Tektronix in Beaverton.

Read more about the Fredricksons and their home, WormWood Manor.

Peter Herman bench

When Peter’s family moved here in 1968, he attended Garden Home School and graduated from Beaverton High School in 1975. When enjoying the bench photos, Sharon Vedder says  “I can almost see Peter there explaining what kind of bird he is observing!”

Read Peter’s parents’ memior about their Rummer home in the Vista Brook development.

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Harry Pinniger obituary

Harry Garfield Pinniger II, October 21, 1937 to March 19, 2020

Harry Pinniger

Harry Pinniger

Harry Garfield Pinniger II passed away peacefully March 19, 2020 after 82 years of hard work and adventure.

He is survived by his loving wife, Janice; their children, Stephanie, Drew and LeAnn; and his sister, Patricia Grace Knutson. He has seven grandchildren, Natalie, Victoria, Zena, Olivia, Simon, River and Sage.

He adored all his family’s children. He graduated from Grants Pass High ’55, served in the U.S. Army, studied at Lewis & Clark College, then ran Commercial Products, inc. for 24 years.

In retirement he and Jan traveled to all 50 states with their beloved dog, Flopsy. “Uncle Mike” was loved and admired by everyone.

[Editor’s note: Harry lived in Garden Home from the 1960s until his passing, most of that time in a home at the top of SW Florence Lane.]


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The history of Garden Home School, 1912 to 1982

Garden Home School was established in 1912 and officially closed in 1982. The facility is now the Garden Home Recreation Center operated by the Tualatin Hills Park & Recreation District.

See also:

1982 Closing of Garden Home School (final day)

For the full story about the 1982 closing of Garden Home School, read our The Closing of Garden Home Elementary School story.

Garden Home School bell

1957-1958 Garden Home School Yearbook

Lynn Couch sent us a scan of his 1957-1958 Garden Home School yearbook (PDF). Thanks, Lynn!

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Garden Home Junction of the Oregon Electric Railway

Because Garden Home was a junction point of two lines of the Oregon Electric Railway, Garden Home was a well known landmark across the Portland area. Oregon Electric service from Portland to Salem began service in January, 1908, and freight traffic in July, 1908. Passenger service to Forest Grove began in October, 1908. Passenger service continued until 1933, and freight service continued into the 1940s.

The Oregon Electric line ran seven miles from downtown Portland, through Multnomah Village, to Garden Home, where the tracks split. From Garden Home, one track continued west twenty one miles to Forest Grove, and the other track initially ran fifty miles south to Salem. In 1911, the line from Multnomah Village was upgraded from a single-track on a large trestle along today’s SW Maplewood Avenue to a double-track along today’s SW Multnomah Blvd, with several smaller trestles. By 1912, the southern line was extended all the way to Eugene, and 22 trains per day arrived into Garden Home from Multnomah Village.

The Oregon Electric line left south out of downtown Portland parallel to, but downhill from (east of), SW Barbur Blvd. Near Burlingame, it turned west into Multnomah. It swung south approaching SW Garden Home Rd, then to the northwest crossing today’s SW Multnomah Blvd at SW 45th, before making a sweeping arc along the path of today’s SW Maplewood Ave on a massive elevated trestle, before swinging onto the path of today’s SW Multnomah Blvd and into Garden Home.

From a March 24, 1944 issue of the Beaverton Enterprise Newspaper, we know the Garden Home train station building was physically moved to downtown Beaverton sometime before March 24, 1944 (thank you to Rosy T. at Portland General Electric for assisting us with research about the Garden Home railroad station’s electrical substation).

Aaron Frank transporting his horses by train

Gerry Frank recalls how his father used the Oregon Electric to transport his horses by train:

My father, Aaron, bought the property because he wanted a place for his show horses. It was a perfect location since the land was adjacent to the Nicol Riding Academy and the Portland Hunt Club; and the Oregon Electric railroad came directly from Portland to Firlock Station where we could load and unload the horses from the estate.

The hobo camp

Clark Stephens recalls the hobo camp near the Garden Home station:

There was a hobo camp in the woods just east of the railroad station towards Canby Street, near the four switch tracks so there was a lot of activity there. There would be 6 to 12 guys in there, riding the rails. Our parents cautioned us not to go down there but I never heard of any problems. One day when I came home from school for lunch, my mother had hired one of the men to spade the vegetable garden. When asked, I said I’d studied geography that day. The hobo said “You get your geography from a book; I get mine from the top of a boxcar.”

Train wrecks

Bob Feldman recalls a train wreck at Firlock station:

In the 1940s, passenger trains had been discontinued but steam trains continued to haul freight and logs. Bob witnessed a huge cloud of steam rise from the terrible train wreck at about SW 78th an area then called Firlock Station. The train was going east when it suddenly stopped. The track buckled causing the engine to roll over. That was the last train on that track. They took up the track some time afterwards. This was in the area of 78th which was then called Firlock Lane.

Portland Golf Club has named their 15th hole Firlock Station. Their website identifies the history of the hole as “An entire engine and half the car turned over opposite the green in the mid-forties…This was the site of Firlock Station on the old Oregon Electric (train) – the only way to get to the Portland Golf Club prior to 1916.”

Clark Stephens recalls two separate train wrecks:

There were two derailments, one at the Firlock train station. (The Portland Golf Club calls this adjacent hole “Firlock Station” and mentions the train wreck on their website.) The tender was located ahead of the engine and got off track. Then the engine at the back kept on pushing the railcars zigzagging the cars off the tracks.

Once when I was about 4 years old, a steam engine derailed on the trestle east of the train station. They had to bring in a derrick and get the engine back on the tracks. Steam engines were used to haul the logs. It was believed that Southern Pacific owned the straight track from Tigard to Beaverton and they wanted too much money to use the tracks.  So the owner of the logs made a deal with Oregon Electric to run on their tracks to Garden Home and then switch and go on into Beaverton and out to Cornelius Pass through the tunnel in the west hills and supply the mills along the Willamette River. That’s why the log trains were coming through Garden Home.

Route diagrams and schedules

Right of way maps

Aerial photos

Other maps


The Red Electric Railroad

The Oregon Electric Railway competed with the Red Electric Railroad. The Red Electric ran from Portland to Hillsdale to Beaverton on tracks that in many places were just to the north of the Oregon Electric.

The Red Electric line left south from downtown Portland up a four percent grade on what is now SW Barbur Blvd. It turned north onto what is now SW Bertha Blvd at Burlingame and, passed underneath Capitol Hwy, and then west along what is now SW Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway. It dipped down to run along the north edge of Alpenrose Dairy and past the northern edge of the Portland Golf Club (the Oregon Electric ran along the southern edge of the Portland Golf Club), before angling northwest to Beaverton.

Today, there’s an effort to establish a walking trail along parts of the Red Electric Railroad right of way. You can read more about the Red Electric history and trail at swtrails.org.

By Tom Shreve, April 2020

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