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2130 B Street

Minnie Baker house c.1910

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2130 B Street (aka 122 B Street North) : Tax Number 1N4 36 DD – Tax lot 10000. 1N4W sec 36. : A parcel in Lot 2, Naylors Block 3

The Minnie Baker House is a cross-gabled bungalow located in the Naylor Addition, in what is now the beautiful Walker-Naylor Historic District, in Forest Grove. Thomas and Catherine Naylor sold part of their Donation Land Claim to Pacific University in 1855 for $1, and the area was later included in the City limits, around 1872. Pacific University made money from selling lots in this, and other nearby Blocks.

The property went through a number of owners before Minnie Baker purchased the land from Louis and Rose CORL, in August 1910. The Corl’s lived a block away on A Street, and had owned the property since early 1909, which they bought from Jane M. Smith for $10, the low price possibly due to it being delinquent in taxes. Though still speculative, it’s possible the Corl’s had the house built during their ownership, as the sale price to Minnie Baker was the relatively large sum of $2400 (Deed Book 91, p.26.). That said, the house has long been known as the Minnie Baker, or Minnie Baker Crowther House, so to avoid confusion, we continue to refer to it as such. It seems certain she was the first person to live in the house.

When Minnie Baker purchased the property, her husband Edward Baker had just passed away (in late May 1910, at the State Hospital in Salem) …We assume she lived here with her four children for at least two years. In 1912, Minnie married William Crowther of Gales Creek, and she seems to have spent most of her time living in that town with her new husband and several of her children. When she’s mentioned as being in the Grove during this time period, Minnie is often visiting her mother and sisters, who lived on Pacific Avenue at Cedar. Minnie likely rented out the home to a number of families over that decade. Current owners the Harvey’s have found paper documents in the walls of the home specifying names of possible boarders.

The Crowther’s ultimately sold the property in May 1920 (Deed book 117, p.381) to Walker W. Benjamin, who in turn sold it to Carmel M. Good, on 6-26-1920 (Deed book 117, p.498). Good lived elsewhere and had an investment company. Good seems to have leased (or conditionally sold) the home to Theodore and Hazel Radtke, who lived here from 1921 until around 1925. Theodore Radtke was from Webb, Saskatchewan, Canada. The sale may not have been finalized, as Carmel M. Good later sells the home to his sister Lea D. may and her husband J. Elmer, around 1925. Elmer May was a railroad engineer; Their son Eldon lived here for most of his high school years. The May family lived in the house until the late 1930s, before moving to SE 3rd Ave. The House address is not listed in the 1939 city directory, but by the end of that year, the Mays had rented the house to Marlin and Hester Engle, who lived in the house in the 1940 census. Marlin was a saw filer in a lumber yard, located in Columbia County. They had two daughters: Colleen and Delores. They rented the house for $18 a month.

The Mays owned the home until 1946. It’s not certain how possession passed from the Mays to the Jesse family, but a deed transfer from that year has the house being sold by Ludwig and Ottilie Jesse, to Maurice (known as Bud) and Mary Walsh, for $10, seemingly to cover delinquent taxes on the property …The Walsh family lived here for thirty years, then sold the house to their son Jake. Jake and his high school sweetheart Jewell married, and lived here many years. Jake recalls as a kid the chickens in the backyard, and his sister sleeping in the alcove at the top of the stairs. Jake visited the current owners Robert and Katie Harvey, and told them about his memories, and how he would have bought the house again if he had known it was for sale. Before the Harvey’s moved in. From 2005-2015, the preceding residents, Heather Belt and Chris Poulos, remodeled the upstairs bathroom, added closets and raised the upstairs ceiling, among other fixes, but there was still much to do.

From the moment they moved in, The Harvey’s started working on renovating the house, and they saved as much of the details and moldings as possible when restoring the kitchen, and redid the walls; while opening up the walls, they found numerous artifacts, including a powder horn, and dozens of paper receipts and letters, evidence that Minnie Baker rented the house around 1912 to George and Rose Burke. Next, they totally rebuilt the garage, which had just been a lean-to pole building. They restored the woodshed attachment, which is now the laundry room. The Harvey’s seem driven to preserve as much of the features as possible, while making the house last for years to come. They have invested great time and energy in restoring much of the house’s integrity, and should be commended for the care they’ve taken.

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