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Charles & Sarah Curtis House

FHFG Historic Property Recognition
Circa 1900
Written by: Jim Hilsenkopf

The survey of properties completed by the Forest Grove Historic Landmarks Board in 2005 lists this two story American Foursquare house as being built around 1900. This style of home has a rectangular footprint and a front porch that runs along the full width of the house. The American Foursquare generally has little adornment inside or out, and is a direct response to the heavy woodwork of the Victorian era.

The first record we’ve found for this house is a newspaper announcement of the wedding of Melvin Markham to Daisy Curtis on Sunday, December 29th 1907 at the home of her parents Mr. and Mrs. C. B Curtis of South Park. It is believed that C. B. and Sarah had moved here the previous year from their farm, in an area known as Hillside, which was a few miles outside of Forest Grove.

The aptitude for and ability to farm well was inherited by Charles, for in Vermont, where he was born in 1833, his forefathers tilled the soil for several succeeding generations. When he was three years old his parents moved to Whitehall, N. Y. where his father died in 1841 leaving a wife and several children dependent upon their own resources. The following year his mother took her children to the home of her parents in Illinois, where C. B. lived when he met and married Sarah Elizabeth Beans. In 1877 they moved to Kansas. There he was identified with farming enterprises until 1891 when the couple, now with six children, moved to Oregon.

The rural home that they created commanded one of the finest views in Washington County. The genial and popular farm family made many fine improvements. In addition to general farming they raised large numbers of high grade stock, and had a bearing orchard of over six hundred trees. By this time Charles had reached his early 70’s. Having made the most of their opportunities in Oregon, while adding to their store of worldly goods, the couple had grown in the esteem of their fellow townsmen, and built up a reputation for substantial worth and unquestioned integrity. It was time for the Curtis’ to retire to a less strenuous life and Charles and Sarah moved to town. On August 16th 1909 Charles Brainard Curtis passed away.

Sarah, age 65 and her 23 year old daughter Alma were living in the Curtis House in 1910 when the census was taken. That is the last we have been able to find for ownership until in 1930 when the census shows George S. Lockett, his wife Lucy and their family owning and living in the house. George was a carpenter and a homebuilder. In 1940 the house was being rented by George Wienecke and the ownership is undetermined.

In November of 1957 George and Berna Hugg conveyed the house to Albert Peters who in 1959 conveyed it to Naomi Trout. The house was last conveyed to Thomas E. and Raean Johnston on 14 January 1991.

The history of the Curtis House begins with a family of esteem and integrity. The Johnston’s as the latest owners are also a family of those attributes. Tom (T. J.) was a former policeman of thirty years for Forest Grove. Upon retirement, he served for 17 years as a City Counselor and as the President of the City Council for the last 11 years until his death in October 2019. Reane has spent a lifetime of service to seniors. For 23 years she oversaw recreational activities at the Masonic Lodge retirement facility in Forest Grove. When the Jennings McCall Assisted Living Facility was built nearby in 1999, she moved there and was the Chief Administrator. Later she served as the Executive Director of the Forest Grove Senior and Community Center. They are a family of honor, well known and looked upon for their guidance and advice.


Historic Recognition

FHFG recognized this property as a significant historic property in October 2020.  A plaque was presented to current home owner Raean Johnston.


Other Properties Recognized

Plaquing Day

This house was recognized as a significant historic resource by Friends of Historic Forest Grove in October 2020.

Click here to get more information about our Historic Property Recognition Program

Jim Hilsenkopf

About Jim Hilsenkopf

Jim grew up 10 miles east of Forest Grove in Reedville, OR. After graduating from Hillsboro Union High School, he traveled the world in the U.S. Navy for 21 years. Jim says that becoming a member of FHFG has provided him with the opportunity to make new friends while learning all about this wonderful town. Jim enjoys researching and sharing with others whatever he can find about the many houses and structures that are worthy of Historic Plaques in Forest Grove.