520 6th Street

JOSEPH SAWYER HOUSE -- Statement of Significance: John Miller purchased this property in 1879 and is credited with the construction of the house, as well as those at 620 6th and 514 Center. Miller, who was born in Maryland in 1835, had established himself in Oregon City by 1867. A boot and shoe merchant, he was a partner in Miller and Shattuck and married to the former Mary J. Shattuck. The property was purchased by Joseph C. and Ellen M. Sawyer in 1914. Sawyer was born in Vermont in 1838 and served in Company H 16th Vermont Volunteers during the Civil War. He came to Oregon in 1889 and lived in Newberg for 12 years. While in Newberg, Sawyer was the postmaster and elected to the Council of Newberg. In 1902 he came to Oregon City where he established the successful Bicycle and Gun Shop. He was a member of the GAR and the Elks. The Sawyers owned the house for over 20 years before being sold by their estate. The property changed hands six times over the course of the next forty years.

This front gable house features a full width hip porch on the north façade, supported by tapered square columns that rest on a solid balustrade. A blank frieze board encircles the porch above the columns, and the balustrade and exterior wall under the porch hip have been clad with plywood. The main gable features shallow enclosed eaves with wide frieze boards and decorative barge molding. A one-story ell has been added to the west side of the house, clad with plywood. The main body of the house is clad with asbestos ceramic shingles, a replacement of the original siding. The windows are a mixture of 1/1 double-hung wood sash, wood fixed sashes, and the front porch contains a 16-pane fixed sash flanked by 2/2 double-hung sashes. Few of the windows appear to be original, with only the northern gable end windows in their original form. These windows are surrounded by plain board trim, and a variety of other trim styles are present throughout the house. This house has lost a great deal of integrity.

The 2002 survey form indicates that this structure has an irretrievable loss of integrity and is not a contributing resource in the district.  This finding is mainly based on the application of asbestos siding. In the last two years, the siding has been removed and the original channel siding has been revealed. Staff has confirmed that the one over one windows, while not original have been replaced with wood windows that meets HRB policy #10 windows. This structure has been reclassified as contributing to the district. A new survey form will be created to reflect these findings. (April 8, 2014)

The 2002 survey also indicates that the architectural style of the house is Classical Revival, it is not. It is Vernacular, which is described on the 1983 survey form.

This property is a locally designated historic site located within the McLoughlin Conservation District. Contact ocplanning@orcity.org for more information.

Historic Inventory Form