Darcelle XV at Home

July 24-October 3, 2020

Through the work of Portland photographer Tom Cook, this exhibit presents Darcelle XV in the historic interior of the Elmer and Linnie Miller Residence. Cook’s portrait series captures the unique character of the 1896 Queen Anne style house and its longtime owner, Walter Cole, best known as the female impersonator and performer Darcelle XV. The home’s décor has taken on the lavish style of Darcelle XV while still maintaining its original layout and details. Among the house’s features are stained glass windows created by Jerry Bosco and Ben Milligan, glass artists, work and life partners, and founders of the Bosco-Milligan Foundation, under which the Architectural Heritage Center operates. Over the years the house has been the site of numerous gatherings, including political activist and gay rights events. Although the residence is recognized as an outstanding example of Queen Anne style residential architecture, this exhibition shows the indelible mark that Darcelle has left on the home.

This exhibit coincides with the recent listing of the Miller Residence in northeast Portland in the National Register of Historic Places and the nomination of the Darcelle XV drag club as the first LGBTQ site in Oregon to be proposed for the National Register.

Read the MSN/Oregonlive article about Darcelle and the exhibit.

Help us document the story of Darcelle’s historic home! https://charity.gofundme.com/o/en/campaign/darcelle-xv-at-home-exhibit-video-story

Exhibit presented with support from the Cathy Galbraith Educational Endowment. 
Contributing sponsors:
Robert Mercer and James Heuer

Also on view

East Portland: A Changing Landscape, a Forgotten City

Portland Cigar Box Manufacturing Co. (c.1900), Norm Gholston Collection

This original AHC exhibition on the historic city of East Portland focuses on the period from the 1840s to the 1910s. It explores the people who lived there, the impact of the arrival of the railroad and industry, and the changing landscape that in the course of only a few decades turned a flood zone into a thriving city.

What we think of today as Portland covers a broad swath of land on both sides of the Willamette River. In the late 19th century, that same area contained several mostly independent communities, including Albina, St. Johns, Sellwood—and East Portland, a small city on the eastern shore of the river roughly bounded by Division Street to the south, 12th Avenue to the east, and Sullivan’s Gulch to the north. While people had lived in this area for far longer than recorded history, East Portland only existed as an official city for two decades before merging with Portland and Albina in 1891. Learn more in this Lost Oregon blog post. Or read the story of the lost city of East Portland here.

Exhibits presented with support from The Jackson Foundation and the BNSF Railway Foundation.


Practical and Artistic:
The Life and Work of Architect Charles Howard Kable

A bungalow by Charles Howard Kable, c. 1909.

Charles Howard Kable moved to Portland in 1905 from Illinois a few years after he completed his architecture degree at the University of Illinois. He spent over four decades working on buildings in Portland and around Oregon. He worked on projects ranging from the well-known, like an additional to the Meier & Frank Department Store in downtown, to modest small town banks and residences throughout Portland and beyond. 

Support for this exhibit comes from Charles Reifsteck, architect in Illinois who is a member of the same college fraternity as C. Howard Kable, and from Charles Howard Kable’s granddaughter, Mollie Hunt. In 2013, Mollie generously donated and allowed us to scan a collection of C. Howard Kable’s papers, photos, and glass plate negatives. It is this collection that made the exhibit possible and that has shed new light on Kable’s work in Portland and beyond.

See our past exhibits.