In 1913, a notable Portland businessman by the name of Frank C. Barnes, had a home built on Alameda Ridge. The home was filled with amazing details like a mahogany stairway and wonderful stained glass windows. In many ways it rivaled the Pittock Mansion, which was under construction at about the same time.
For decades the home was thought to be the work of architect David Lockheed Williams. Williams was an important architect in early 20th century Portland and the son of Warren H. Williams, architect of many of Portland’s fantastic cast-iron fronted buildings. Indeed D.L. Williams may have been involved in early plans for the home, but recent research has identified the firm of Stokes & Zeller as the architects of the home as it was constructed. Stokes & Zeller were a prolific firm, designing homes all over the east side of Portland – including many in the Sullivan’s Gulch, Irvington, and Buckman neighborhoods.
The discovery of the connection between Stokes & Zeller and the Barnes residence points out how helpful some research tools that weren’t around 20, 10, or even 5 years ago, can be. In the past couple of years, one of the most helpful tools in researching buildings in Portland has become the Oregonian Historical Archive. Available online through Multnomah County Library, this word-searchable archive has uncovered all sorts of evidence connecting some (until now) little known architects to some very significant projects. The Barnes residence is but one example.
Over the years the Barnes residence has seen several ownership changes and at one time it was almost demolished and replaced with a synagogue, but today it has been lovingly renovated and on July 28th, the home will be part of the Architectural Heritage Center’s Heritage Home Tour.
So now the question remains, as we continue our efforts to ensure that those interested in Portland’s past have access to the most complete and accurate building histories, what will we uncover next?