CAPTAIN AINSWORTH HOUSE c.1851 -- Statement of Significance: Situated atop a slight knoll on the outskirts of Oregon City, the Ainsworth House commands a view of Pleasant Heights south of the city. Built in 1851 for Captain John C, Ainsworth, a prominent pioneer steamship captain, merchant and financier, the house is one of the well- known examples of the Classical Revival style in Oregon because of its dramatic two-story portico.
The house is rectangular in plan, with gable ends oriented north to south, and it has an offset kitchen ell. Horizontal lap siding or clap- boarding covers the south, east and west exterior walls, On the north face the pedimented gable end and the area protected by the portico have flush wall boards. The porch was designed as a tetrastyle-prostyle portico with a colossal order, The Ainsworth House is believed to be a unique example of the temple front type on a large scale west of the Rockies, the four columns supporting the pediment are octagonal rather than turned. To simulate fluting, lathes were attached to the planes of the octagon, A half balcony on the second story is independent of the columns, At the corners of the facade are two-story pilasters with elaborately molded capitals, The cornice of the rear gable end has returns. The gable roof has a boxed cornice and frieze that is divided into two registers by a strip of molding. An interior brick flue with corbelled cap is located on the ridge of the roof.
The current owner partially restored the house in 1965 and has operated it for the past several years as a house museum accessible on a regular basis during the summer and by appointment.