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Oregon Historic Sites Database

address:308 SE Walnut St historic name:Rice-Gates House
Hillsboro, Washington County current/other names:
assoc addresses:
block/lot/tax lot:
location descr: twnshp/rng/sect/qtr sect:1S 2W 6
resource type:Building height (stories):2.0 total elig resources:1 total inelig resources:
elig evaluation: eligible/significant NR Status: Individually Listed
prim constr date:1890 second date:1940 date indiv listed:09/08/1980
primary orig use: Single Dwelling orig use comments:
second orig use:
primary style: Second Empire prim style comments:
secondary style: sec style comments:
primary siding: Horizontal Board siding comments:
secondary siding: Wood:Other/Undefined
plan type: architect:Unknown
builder:Unknown
comments/notes:
House & garage
Survey/Grouping Included In: Type of Grouping Date Listed Date Compiled
   Hillsboro Local Inventory Update 2008 Survey & Inventory Project 2008
NR date listed: 09/08/1980
ILS survey date:
RLS survey date: 07/01/2008
Special Assessment
Status Term End Yr
Expired 1st Term  1996
106 Project(s): None
Federal Tax Project(s): None
(Includes expanded description of the building/property, setting, significant landscape features, outbuildings and alterations)
Architectural Description: The Rice/Gates House is the only example of a residence in the Second Empire Baroque style of architecture in Hillsboro. It is a two-story balloon frame house, “L-shaped” in plan, which rests on a high basement. The basement has approximately 2/3 of its height above ground. The house is oriented toward the north, with the asymmetrical front elevation being formed by the inner angle of the “L.” The foundation and basement are of strecher-bond brick; the first floor and the lower part of the second floor are covered with horizontal shiplap siding; and the house has a straight-sided mansard roof with dormers, the lower slopes of which encompass approximately ¾ of the height of the second floor. The house has three porches. The first, on the north elevation, extends from the inner angle of the “L” across the main entry to the house, and is reached by steps. It rests on a shingled and arcaded wooden base, has a shingled balustrade, and a shallow mansard roof supported by scroll-sawn bracketed posts. The second porch runs the entire length of the west elevation, and is accessible only from the inside. It is similar in construction to the front porch, with the shingled and arcaded base, shingled balustrade, and mansard roof supported by bracketed posts. The third porch is a narrow, glassed-in sun porch on the south elevation, reached by stairs from the outside and from the inside. It is again similar to the other porches, except that it has lost its original base and now rests on plain posts. The basement windows in the north elevation are single-pane casement windows. The first-floor windows, both single and paired, are round arched, double-hung sash windows with one-over-one lights. All first and second story window openings have pedimented architraves. Paired windows appear on the north and south elevations; single windows on the west. The dormer windows are also arched and pedimented, one-over-one sash windows; there are two dormers each on the north, west, and east elevations, and three on the south elevation. The main entry has a round-arched transom and pedimented architrave, as does the surround of the door opening onto the west porch. The latter is centered between two single window openings. The House has two interior brick chimneys, the corbelled caps of which are in need of restoration. The roof is covered with lozenge shaped wooden shingles. The mansard roof is the most imposing element of the house. It has a boxed cornice at its lower edge which is supported by paired brackets, small pairs alternating with large. The brackets, in turn, rest on a dentilled frieze. The smaller mansard roofs of the three porches have similar features—boxed cornices, paired brackets, dentilled friezes, and the same lozenge pattern of imbricated shingles. Other decorative elements are the window and door surrounds which have saw-cut scrolls at the imposts. The brackets of the posts and corner boards are jig-saw cut in a fancy profile with pierced scroll work. The original steps leading to the front porch are no longer extant, but the current owner is in the process of replacing them. The wood cresting on the main roof and the roofs of the porches was lost in intervening years, but will be replaced on the basis of fragments and historic views. The garage on the east side of the house, reached by a covered walkway from the east basement entry, was incorporated into the lot next door with the house was sold in later years. The garage is no longer part of the property on which the Rice/Gates House stands and is not proposed for inclusion in the Inventory.
(Chronological, descriptive history of the property from its construction through at least the historic period - preferably to the present)
Historical Significance: The Rice/Gates House, built in 1890, is significant both to Hillsboro for its historic association with a family important in the development of the power, light, and telephone industries in Oregon and growth of railway transportation in the Northwest. The house was built for William J. Rice, a prominent Hillsboro attorney, who after leaving Hillsboro became District Attorney of Columbia County. In the area, however, the structure is chiefly associated with Harry V. Gates, and his son Oliver b. Gates, who lived there from 1903-1927 and from 1910-1927, respectively. H.V. Gates was a railway surveyor and civil engineer who began his career as an engineer for the Callao, Lima and Oraya Railway in the construction of a line across the Andes in 1872, considered an engineering triumph of its time. Upon his return to the United States, he continued his career, surveying and overseeing construction on such lines as the Northern Pacific Stampede Pass line in Washington in 1881, the Oregon Pacific lines from Albany to Yaquina and from miles of track throughout the Pacific Northwest and California. From 1887 to 1891 he was superintendent of construction for the Union Pacific. In 1891 H.V. retired from the railroad business and moved to Hillsboro, where he purchased the Rice/Gates House in 1903, selling it to his son Oliver in 1911 for a token sum while continuing to live there. He served in the state legislature in 1893-1894, and with his son he constructed, owned, and operated the Hillsboro Power and Light Works, as well as similar plants in the Heppner, Klamath Falls, Prineville, and either other communities in Southern and Central Oregon. In addition, H.V. and O.B. Gates owned and operated more than 500 miles of main-line telephone service in Southern Oregon, and the Gates Pipe works in Hillsboro. The Gates Family also owned a 10,000 acre ranch in Eastern Oregon. H.V. Gates, as a veteran of the Civil War, served four terms as state commander of the Grand Army of the Republic; his son was for twenty years a member of the Hillsboro Utilities Commission.
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