415 Jefferson Street

FERDINAND AND SARAH MC COWN HOUSE -- Statement of Significance: This was originally the home of Ferdinand O. McCown (1839-1891) and his wife Sarah Meldrum McCown (c.1845-1932). Born in West Virginia, Ferdinand McCown crossed the plains in 1852. After studying law at various institutions, he set up a practice in Waconda in 1862. In 1863, he joined the 1st Oregon Volunteers, mustered a company and served at Fort Colville. After his discharge, he settled in Oregon City, where he practiced law in partnership with W.C. Johnson from 1864 to 1889. In 1865, he married Sarah Meldrum, who had crossed the plains with her family as an infant in 1845. McCown served three terms as mayor of Oregon City and was a co-founder of the Oregon City Electric Company and organized a stock company to improve the Barlow Road. The McCown family lived in the house until the mid-1890s, when the house became a rental. The house changed hands a number of times between 1893 and 1920, when Mary and Angus Matheson bought the property. The house continued as a rental until 1943, when William P. Foster and his wife Ruth bought the house. The Fosters had been in the house since about 1940, and William was a teacher and principal at local schools through the 1940s. By 1953 he had become an advisor to the Lumberman's Industrial Relations Committee, and Ruth was a clerk at the First National Bank. The Fosters lived in the house until they sold the property in 1980.

This two-story colonial revival residence has a rectangular plan with a single-story gabled addition to the west and a shed roof attached garage to the south. It sits on a board formed concrete foundation and is clad in beveled lap siding with corner boards. A wide frieze and rake board make the connections to the gable roof with enclosed eaves. The roof is covered with composition shingling and there is a centrally located chimney. The windows are primarily 4/4 wood double-hung with a substantial surround and decorative hood. On the front elevation there are louvered shutters. An oriel bay window is on the north façade and there is a small lunette in the gable. The front porch has a flat roof, atop a blank frieze with small modillions, supported by chamfered decorative columns. There are pilasters where the porch meets the wall. Following the edge of the porch roof is a classical turned balustrade. The unique front door consists of double doors with a two-pane transom.

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

Historic Inventory Form