Family home is a keeper
“We assumed we would sell it and divide up the income,” Barry Hubbell said. When that proved more expensive than anticipated, they decided to keep the house instead and restore its historic character.
On the Saturday of Aug. 9, it will be one of nine homes featured in a tour of historic Newberg homes organized by the Yamhill Enrichment Society.
The tour will run 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tickets may be purchased for $15 at www.yamhillenrichmentsociety.org, the Newberg and McMinnville farmers’ markets, and Oregon Stationers in downtown McMinnville.
A garden party will follow at the Hubbell residence from 4 to 6 p.m. Tickets may be purchased separately for $20 or in combination with tour tickets for $30 at the same locations.
Tickets to either or both may also be purchased the day of the event at the first house on the tour, at 515 E. Sherman St. For more information, call 503-883-9654.
Hubbell said he and his sister learned that putting the house on the market would not be simple.
“We found out we would have to make huge, expensive changes,” he said. Those included having the badly sagging porches mechanically lifted and stabilized, and redoing the plumbing and wiring.
“The original wiring was bare wire on porcelain knobs,” Hubbell said. “I don’t know how we didn’t burn the house down.”
When he was growing up there, plugging in so much as a hair dryer required warning all occupants of the house to expect a short somewhere. And the plumbing system, a later add-on, featured now-banned lead pipes.
“We finally decided that if we had to do all these changes, why not do them the way we wanted to and one of us would live here.”
His sister owned her own home in Newberg and had no desire to move, so Hubbell, who had been caring for their mother in her final years, agreed to stay on.
In addition to making the necessary safety upgrades, they decided to restore the home’s original identity. That led to a shared hobby of frequenting auctions and antique shops throughout the region.
“We still go to antique shops once a week,” Hubbell said. “It’s like a game. But now, we can’t buy unless something goes out.”
Hubbell’s parents purchased the house in 1946. They were visiting Hubbell’s grandparents from their home in Wichita, Kansas, he said, when his mother saw the place and fell in love with it.
“She said, ‘If that were ever for sale, I would buy it and never move again,’” Hubbell said.
Some time later, he said, his grandparents notified his parents that the house had, indeed, come up for sale. They immediately began packing.
His mother fulfilled her wish, living in the house the rest of her life.
It was updated with the times, Hubbell said. He said it featured ‘70s décor when he and his sister inherited it.
But he said his parents had kept a lot of antique family memorabilia, and much of it is on display today. They had also collected some, such as the original organ from the Newberg Friends Church, when it upgraded to a modern piano.
“A man wheeled it in a wheelbarrow from Morton Street,” he said.
Other treasures remained, too.
“The molding had all been removed,” Hubbell said. “We found it under the back porch.” And he said, “We found the doors and the sconces in the attic.”
Much of the original flooring, old-growth Douglas fir, was also salvaged. However, some was lost to the glue used to cover it with linoleum over the decades.
They decided to furnish the residence in a country farmhouse Victorian style, Hubbell said, assuming owners who were “not very wealthy – they’re living in Newberg, after all – Quaker — because that’s mostly who settled Newberg — and probably farmers.” He said a former co-worker, Danya Ochsner, who moonlighted as an interior decorator, provided much of the inspiration.
Most of the furniture is antique, with the exception of the couches. Even the stove looks antique, although it is, in fact, a functional electric stove.
Hubbell said his mother saved up birthday and Christmas money to purchase it for $700, a staggering expense in the 1970s.
The former wood lift now provides cabinets that hide modern amenities such as a microwave.
Upstairs, the bedrooms are furnished in the Northwest, Midwest and Southern Victorian styles, with the Southern style room decorated for a child.
“This is the only room in the house I didn’t have final say on,” Hubbell said, observing the dolls adorning a wallpaper border, and dolls on the bed. “It was largely my sister’s doing.
“My sister has given me instructions. In case of a fire, I’m to grab the dog, the cat and these two dolls. They were my sister’s and my mother’s, when they were children.”
An upstairs sunroom served originally as a screened sleeping porch for hot summer nights. “In the ‘50s, my dad and uncle boarded it up, and it served as a big storage closet,” Hubbell said.
While cleaning it out, he removed one of the plywood panels and was struck by the spectacular view. He decided to install windows and remake the closet into a narrow sunroom overlooking the back yard and adjacent orchard.
Then he opted to locate his desk there. Although retired from George Fox University, he continues to produce an alumni association newsletter. And he said it’s far more pleasant to work in the sunroom than a university office, as he can enjoy the view of sun, rain or snow over the rear vista.
Both brother and sister plan to offer guided tours of the house Aug. 9.
Tours will begin at the Chehalem Cultural Center at 415 East Sheridan Street. A 30-seat van will make the rounds for those who need transportation.
The Yamhill Enrichment Society is a nonprofit agency supporting the arts, education, agriculture, history and community. For more information about its projects, call 503-883-9654.
tour features 9 newberg homes
The Yamhill Enrichment Society will offer a tour of nine historic Newberg homes from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 9. The tour will be followed by a garden party running 4 to 6 p.m.
Tickets are available online at www.yamhillenrichmentsociety.org, at the Newberg and McMinnville farmers’ markets, and at Oregon Stationers in downtown McMinnville.
Cost is $15 for the tour, $20 for the garden party or $30 for both. Tickets also may be purchased the day of the tour, at the first house.
The tour includes:
- 515 E. Sherman St., a Queen Anne constructed in 1904
- 701 E. Franklin St., a Colonial Revival built in 1912
- 315 N. College St., a Queen Anne Vernacular built in 1898
- 215 N. School St., a combination of Colonial Revival and Craftsman
- 117 S. College St., a Queen Anne built in 1896
- 201 S. College St., a Queen Anne built in 1895
- 402 S. College St., a Stick-Eastlake built in 1883
- 115 S. River St., an Italianate-influenced Vernacular built in 1881
- 1408 N.E. Chehalem St., an American Foursquare built in 1905
The garden party will take place at the Chehalem Street home owned by Barry Hubbell and his sister, Sharon. It will feature food tastings from Jac’s Deli and Frozen Custard, Rouge Catering, Ruddick/Wood Tavern and Recipe, with wine tastings from Ancient Cellars, Artisanal Wine Cellars, Fire Flood and Anne Amie.