704 11th Street - George and Alma Brownell House

This two story house is set high above 11th Street on a raised concrete block foundation. It features a cruciform plan, with a two story extension on the north side and a one story wing on the south side. A porch runs the full width of the north façade, with a low hip roof supported by a series of chamfered square columns. A decorative balustrade with scroll cut balusters encloses the porch. This pattern is repeated at the second floor balcony on the north side of the house. The house is clad with horizontal drop siding, finished with cornerboards that have decorative capital moldings to simulate pilasters. The gables feature enclosed eaves, with wide frieze and rake boards. The windows are all 1/1 double-hung wood sash, with decorative hood moldings and scroll cut ornamentation above the window pairs in the gable ends. The east end of the house, the north porch, and the southern wing all appear to be additions to the original house, which was L-shaped in plan. These additions were made early on in the life of the house, and match the original portion of the house in character and materials. Dry laid basalt retaining walls have also been added to the surrounding landscape.

 

Statement of Significance: J.H. and Lydia Teale originally owned the entire block. In 1890 they sold one-third of the block to E.M. and Anna Howell. E.M. Howell, by this time, was real estate dealer who had already built his Eastlake-detailed house at 712 12th Street. By 1892 this house had been built on this lot and was owned by Howell and his wife. It is not clear if they lived in the house or built it on speculation. In October of 1893, they sold the house to Alma and George Brownell who lived in it for over a decade and then moved to the country. Brownell was born in 1855 in New York. His wife Alma was born in 1856 in Massachusetts. Brownell was a well-known Clackamas County resident. "It is safe to say every man, woman and child in this community has seen and heard Senator Brownell." Brownell passed the bar in New York and then moved to Kansas where he worked in the law offices of W.W. Guthrie, general attorney for the Atchison and Nebraska Railroad. He served as mayor of Frankfort, Kansas in 1884 and 1885, and in 1888 was elected Ness County, Kansas attorney. In 1891, he arrived in Oregon City and in 1892 began his long career in the state's Republican party, serving as chair of the Republican Convention and of its central committee. In 1894, he was elected to the State Senate and in 1898 defeated W.S. U'Ren in a race for a seat in the Legislature. In 1902, he ran again for the State Senate and became its president. He had a large criminal and civil law practice, "he has the well-earned reputation of ranking among the most successful attorneys in the state of Oregon". He later served as mayor of Oregon City. The Brownells did not have children, but had two foster children: Howard, born in 1879 in New York, and Ambrose, born in 1896 in California. The Brownells sold the house in 1920 to Livy and Marjorie Stipp, who lived in the house until Marjorie's death in 1961. Stipp was an attorney and police judge in Oregon City. Following the sale by the Stipps, the house was used as a rental property through the rest of the historic period, with tenants that included a mechanic, a well driller, and a retired widow.