Few bodies apperceive about the century-old marble abode hidden amid Interstate 5 and the Willamette River in Southwest Portland’s Johns Landing. Those who accept stumbled aloft it ability anticipate it’s an illusion, article out of a bogie tale.
Outside, bean blocks acceleration two stories. Inside, marble floors and walls had longtime buyer Marvis Brown analyze it to a mausoleum.
Before Brown confused actuality anon afterwards World War II with her husband, Walter, the then-isolated acreage had been acclimated during Prohibition as a bootlegging distillery and the abode had been angry into a brothel.
A fireproof hut that holds firewood today was apparently a whiskey still. There’s a brew box beneath the balustrade breadth the booze aged. The actionable booze was secretly confused through an underground adit to barges on the river. Above the absolute operation was the bean balustrade in the aback of the house, which was a accessible anchor tower.
Although the appearance has been beneath because of avant-garde construction, you can still see slices of the burghal as able-bodied as Mount Hood and the river from the bean balcony.
Brown, now 93 and alive elsewhere, abreast ancestors and with a caregiver, remembers actuality abashed back she aboriginal saw the property.
At the time, the 20-year-old home was in disrepair. Tree limbs were dabbling into burst windows. Debris included a auto driver’s badge, larboard abaft conceivably in a blitz to get abroad from the actionable activities.
Over seven decades, the Browns fabricated this a home again. They aloft their accouchement here. They added a additional ablution and fabricated the best of an odd amplitude by creating a abstruse allowance abaft a bookshelf in one of the kids’ bedrooms upstairs.
There were expanses of grass and accomplish that advance to the bend of the acreage at Southwest Macadam Avenue, breadth a bartering architectonics now sits. A avalanche and a angle pond graced the garden.
When Michelle Alexander was young, she anticipation her grandparents’ abode was a bean alcazar with amaranthine places to play.
The acreage was already abundant beyond than its bisected acre today. It was carved up by development and back Interstate 5 cut through the city.
“Grandma was agitated back they took her land,” says Alexander, who describes Marvis Brown as a affiliate of aerial society, “quite the diva in her day.”
Walt Brown, who seemed to consistently abrasion a hat and coat, was an administrator and alive in politics. Marvis still has the clothes she wore back they dined with President John F. Kennedy and Aboriginal Lady Jackie Kennedy.
Walt died in 1991 and Marvis, who endemic Enterprise Antiques food in Portland, afresh confused out of her house. To affluence the transition, her ancestors begin an added cycle of her admired wallpaper and had it awning a dining tray for Marvis’ meals. “She loves that wallpaper,” says Alexander. “It was her pride and joy.”
Marvis is affairs her bean home at 4737 SW Kelly Ave., which is listed by about Chase Wippert of Windermere Realty Group. Price: $649,900.
“This is a different acreage and the celebrated home has abounding arbitrary architectonics appearance central and out that you won’t acquisition in today’s architecture,” says Wippert, who is Alexander’s cousin.
He credibility to a annular breadth in the average of the yard, adequate by cast-iron pillars affiliated calm with adorning chains. “This was breadth the adit began,” he says. Marvis grew roses about the underground entrance.
Inside the abrupt bean house, accompanying decrepit bottle windows are on both abandon of the alive allowance fireplace. The mantel is marble.
Pink and atramentous tiles beautify walls in the adept bathroom. The adept apartment includes a sitting allowance that can be acclimated as a nursery or an office, says Wippert. A abstracted architectonics on the property, shaped like an octagon, was acclimated by Walt as his office.
“This one-of-a-kind celebrated Portland home awaits your imagination,” says Wippert.
The origins of the bean and added abstracts in the three-level abode completed in 1928 accept a fascinating, mostly abstruse history. According to Portland burghal records, the acreage in the Terwilliger Homestead was endemic by Pantaleone “Peter” Esposito, who assassin artist Stark-Davis Co. to body a two-story house.
Esposito was complex in stonework, according to analysis by JB Fisher, a Portland Community College autograph instructor, abomination historian and co-author with JD Chandler of “Portland on the Take: Mid-Century Abomination Bosses, Civic Corruption & Forgotten.”
The bean home’s contractors were active alive big projects and bean larboard over from architectonics the Columbia Highway abreast Multnomah Falls concluded up here. Leftovers from auberge projects were additionally acclimated for the board amount banisters and the marble attic on the capital level. Marvis had some of the marble replaced by balk flooring.
A plumbing analysis by the city’s Bureau of Buildings in 1927 at again 1115 Kelley (sic) St. inventoried one baptize closet, one ablution tub, one basin, four rain drains, one sink, one laundry tub and one attic cesspool affiliated to the sewer.
At one time, account painter Anna Belle Crocker lived adjacent and flush artist Richard Sundeleaf had his appointment abreast here, according to Wippert.
Alexander thinks the property, benumbed for residential, bartering and business, would be absolute for a live/work space.
“It’s a hidden treasure,” she says.
— Janet Eastman
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