903 Madison Street


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JOHN SR. AND NORA ROAKE HOUSE -- Statement of Significance: John A. Roake Sr. and his wife Nora purchased lots 3 and 4 from Frank Barlow in 1918. Roake, who went by the name "Bert," was born in 1888 in Wisconsin. He worked as a molder in his father's Oregon City Foundry (James Roake resided at 720 11th Street). After a brief hiatus elsewhere, he returned to Oregon City and reestablished the foundry with of his brother-in-laws, one of which was William Rowam. In 1927, Roake bought out his in-laws and operated the business on his own. He produced hop stoves, fruit dryers, ice machine castings and machinery for the paper and woolen mills, for the flax industry in Lima, Peru, and later, valves for ships used in World War II. In 1944, the property was transferred to his son, John Albert Roake Jr. and daughter-in-law, Rita. John was a salesman for Pitt Paint and Plate Glass. They sold to Freemont Greenling, a printer for Crown Zellerbach, and his wife Madeline.

Notable features of this house begin with the concrete retaining wall that wraps around the corner lot of the length of the entire property, thus elevating the yard two feet above the sidewalk level. This wall is capped with a white wood fence. The house itself faces Madison Street and rises two stories under a pyramidal roof with bell-cast detailing at the eaves. A hip roofed dormer with wood shingle siding sticks up from the roof on the main elevation. This dormer window appears to have had its windows replaced. The eaves have a wide overhang, and the top of the wall has a wide frieze board which caps the tops of the windows on the second level. The main entrance porch spans the front of the house under a rather horizontal and flat hip roof. This roof is held up with slightly tapered square wood posts. Wide stairs lead up to the broad porch. The house is covered in round edge drop siding. The house sits on a watertable capped concrete foundation. An external chimney protrudes on the left side of the building.

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

Historic Inventory Form