The Zula Linklater house is significantly associated with Zula Warren Linklater and her family of six children. Widowed in 1914, Mrs. Linklater became head of household and manager of the many financial investments of her late husband, well-known Hillsboro physician Dr. Samuel Towers Linklater. Mrs. Linklater’s skillful handling o the estate enabled her family to continue its comfortable existence in the heart of Hillsboro, and to build in 1923 the residence which is the subject of this sketch. Known by townspeople for 60 years as the home of the Linklaters, the property is closely identified with the locally important family, their social life, educational values, community spirit and musicology.
Zula Warren Linklater, daughter of Edward and Ruth Warren (Resource #55), was born in the Hillsboro vicinity in 1870. She graduated from Tualatin Academy in Forest Grove, and at the age of 28 became the bride of widower Dr. Linklater. The couple settled into family life in a two-story Victorian cottage east of the Courthouse. The first Linklater child, Francis Warren, arrived the year following the marriage. In the next six years, Zula presented her husband with four more children: Ruth, Dorothy, Samuel, and Kenneth. Ethel, the youngest, was born in 1911. On Tuesday, October 17, 1905, Dr. Linklater noted in his journal (now at the Washington County Museum), “I have been 7 years married—and five children as a result—all well so far. Zula, poor girl, has her hands full—Great blessing…”
Such was the legacy of Samuel Linklater when he was struck and killed by a train while returning from a late evening house call on February 12, 1914. Along with his widow and young children, many Hillsboro citizens mourned. Businesses closed during the funeral, while 27 doctors from Portland hired a special Oregon Electric train car to transport them to the services at the Tualatin Plains Presbyterian Church (Old Scotch Church).
Following her husband’s death, Zula Linklater continued to reside with her young family in the two-story frame house across from the Courthouse. Mrs. Linklater, financially secure from her husband’s property investments, was able to maintain her nurturing role with the children and to continue her participation in Hillsboro social activities. She remained active in Eastern Star and Pythian Sisters, played the organ for the Congregational Church (Resource #12C), and enjoyed a reputation as an expert pianist.
Zula Linklater provided stability for her children by encouraging them to become musical and to acquire a college education. The Linklater children were regarded as outstandingly talented students; some had superior athletic capabilities; other were active in student government. The children routinely practiced on their musical instruments as Mrs. Linklater expected them to become musically knowledgeable, as she was.
In 1922, Ms. Linklater generously donated her Second Avenue property to the Tuality Masonic Loge No. 6. The wood-frame Victorian cottage that stood on the lot was moved across Lincoln Street (north) and sited adjacent (east) to the 1914 Carnegie Library (Resource #14). While the new concrete Mission-style lodge structure was being constructed, the Linklaters also undertook the building of a new family residence on an empty lot originally part of the Isaiah Kelsey donation land claim, and purchased by Dr. Linklater in 1889.
According to the only surviving Linklater child, Samuel Edward, Ruth Linklater prevailed on her mother to build a “house that would last forever.” Zula and her children selected a two-story Mediterranean design of concrete construction for the house, which as erected at 230 NE Second Avenue. All the Linklaters, except possibly Francis, resided with Mrs. Linklater in the new and unique cement residential structure. Their former home was subsequently destroyed. In the new home, the family continued their cultural activities. Mrs. Linklater entertained frequently, often playing her grand piano in the spacious living room. She also maintained diligent membership in Pythian Sisters and Eastern Star.
As the children grew older, they gradually drifted away from their home. They inherited their parents’ value of education, and all of them attended college. Five of the six Linklaters graduated from college. Francis, the oldest, attended the University of Oregon and relocated to Coos Bay. Ruth, a University of Washington alumna, was active in Hillsboro as a Congregationalist Sunday School teacher, and she organized the Hillsboro intercollegiate Club, similar to university clubs in larger cities. Dorothy graduated from Oregon Agricultural College, married, and resettled in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. Samuel Edward attended the University of Oregon and, like Francis, pledged Psi Kappa Psi fraternity. He graduated in 1926 and took a job as a chemist in San Francisco. Kenneth Linklater was elected student body president of Hillsboro High School in 1923. He was also elected president of the Washington County Bank, which he helped organize. He became athletic manager for the high school basketball team, and participated in many local musical theater events. Kenneth attended Pacific University in Forest Grove from 1926-28 and worked at several local businesses while he was a student. He remained at home until his mother passed away.
Zula Linklater died February 3, 1930; her death, according to the Independent, causing “shock” and “widespread sorrow.” The newspaper noted that Mrs. Linklater was “greatly loved by a wide circle of friends,” and that “she was a devoted mother, who at the same time was able to take part in church, fraternal and social activities.’
Following their mother’s death, Kenneth and Samuel retraced the steps of their Scotch-born father and attended two semesters at the University of Edinburgh in 1930-31. Zula Linklater’s estate enabled her sons to study abroad, even though it was during the Depression period. Their letters record their school experiences and side trips to Antwerp, Paris, Seville, Baghdad, Gibraltar, and Mainz. On their return from Europe, Samuel resumed his career as a chemist in California, while Kenneth enrolled in the University of Oregon. He graduated in 1932, enrolled in the university law school, and was admitted to the Oregon Bar in 1935. Soon afterward, he applied for employment with the Works Progress Administration, Division of Investigation. His position evolved into an association with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. From 1942-46, Kenneth was a staff officer, Lieutenant Colonel, in the US Air Force. For the next two years, he served with the War Assets Administration, Compliance Division, in Portland. He was later attached to the Pentagon as a staff officer, and finished his career with Lockheed Aircraft Corporation.
Kenneth Linklater acquired sole interest in the Linklater property in 1930. For a few years, he resided in the house with his wife, Jeanne Latourette Linklater. During the time the Kenneth Linklaters were away from the area, the house was rented out, but it was never sold because Kenneth was determined to retain the family residence. In August 1983, following the death of Kenneth, the Linklater house passed from the family exactly 60 years from its construction.
Throughout its history, the Zula Linklater house has been associated with an historical, cultural presence in the city of Hillsboro. The concrete structure, one of two in the community dating from the period, is unique as the only architectural example of its type. The 1934 edition of the Hillsboro Argus pictured the home as one of several “beautiful homes built in Hillsboro during the last few years.” These homes, stated the Argus, were constructed at a cost of $3000 to $9000.
It is noteworthy that the spirit of the Linklater family also dates from the life of Dr. Linklater, who settled in the area in 1883. He had planned to emigrate to Australia from Scotland following his graduation from the University of Edinburgh where he received his medical degree in 1882. But en route to Australia, Dr. Linklater stopped to visit is sister in Oregon, only to be impressed by the “scenic and climatic advantages of Washington County.
In 1886, Dr. Linklater married Eliza M. Sinclair and also founded the Delta Drug Store (extant). Eliza died in 1889, the same year Samuel served his only term a mayor of Hillsboro. The next year, the physician became publisher of the Hillsboro Independent. In 1891, Dr. Linklater returned to Edinburgh, and then went to other European centers of medical studies. He re-established himself in Hillsboro in 1892 and endeared himself to the citizens of the locality, often providing to those in need apparently without any expectation of being repaid. At his death, the Argus noted that Dr. Linklater always “had an open hand for charity,” and that he “gave of his professional advice without charge to many who were unable to pay.” It was not surprising to the community to learn after his death that he had donated to the city a parcel of his property which was to accommodate the new Carnegie Library. Earlier, Dr. Linklater had donated at his expense a bandstand which was erected in the county Courtyard. The community spirit which Dr. Linklater exemplified was continued by Zula Linklater through her donation of property to the Masonic Lodge.