A vandalized neoclassical-style mansion in the Mount Tabor neighborhood in southeast Portland has been auctioned off and developers have circled with plans to carve up the property. Instead, the highest bidders restored the 1909 Jacob H. Cook House, and a couple bought it on July 14 for $ 1,925,000.
The once majestic mansion was abandoned in 2010, a victim of the housing crisis and recession. For eight years, squatters filled it with trash, vandals graffiti the walls, and thieves sneaked in with the hardware and light fixtures.
Despite years of neglect, however, many original features have survived: oak and mahogany floors and pocket doors, rare Rookwood Faience ceramic fireplace tiles, and 70 windows, including precious leaded glass.
Vandals spray painted the wall above a JL Mott Iron Works tub, but did not damage its irreplaceable enameled cast iron. They also protected the open staircase in double L, entirely constructed in quarter-sawn oak. And above a beautifully designed paneling, someone has scrawled a respectful message saying that “this [work] took the time. “
In 2018, investors Lyrin Murphy and Steve Day outbid others who were considering the one-third acre site.
Murphy, who revived 10 other historic homes, oversaw the renovation and restoration of the four-level Cook Mansion. Its objective: to save everything that is original and to match the missing elements with period replacements.
It was in fact dealing with two eras: the house was first built in 1892, during the Victorian era, most likely in the Queen Anne style.
Next, businessman Jacob H. Cook, owner of logging companies and newspapers, and his wife, Etna, bought the property for $ 7,500 in 1904, as the city prepared for its biggest promotional campaign. effective: The Lewis and Clark Centennial Exhibition of 1905.
The popular crowd-favorite fair sparked a population boom that brought prosperity to streetcar communities east of the Willamette River, such as Mount Tabor. In 1909, the Cooks spent $ 12,000 to extensively renovate their home, inside and out, to give it its present appearance.
The original 1892 cooler with three sets of twin doors and original hardware has survived misguided kitchen renovations over the decades. During his renovation, Murphy installed Calacatta marble countertops and a cast iron farmhouse sink. The water damaged flooring was replaced with an old, salvaged tongue and groove Douglas fir.
Almost all of the replacement appliances in the 6,820 square foot home are period antiques.
Murphy also worked to get the carefully restored home listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Jacob H. Cook House has also been referred to as the “Christmas House” due to the holiday events of the previous owners, then “Walter”, in reference to the rumor that the family of Mickey Mouse creator, Walt Disney, have lived here.
“It really is a remarkable space and the new owners are perfect for the house,” says Murphy. “I couldn’t ask for a better next chapter for this amazing house that has been through so much.”
Neoclassical elements include a portico with Tuscan columns that creates a wraparound porch, a balcony on the second floor, and a smaller balcony on the third level. Of the original 300 B-shaped balusters on the second-story balcony, 230 were saved while heavily deteriorated parts were milled to match.
The balconies, porch, and window frames were rebuilt and reinforced during the 2019 restoration, and carpenters hand-cut pieces to replace the deteriorated Douglas fir siding.
The original quarter-stained oak front door, between two large side windows in regent leaded glass, is still crowned with a metal acanthus leaf motif.
There is a new roof, electricity and plumbing, six restored bedrooms and six upgraded bathrooms while the brick basement has retained its naturally cool wine cellar and billiard room.
– Janet Eastman | 503-294-4072
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