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Modern mystery in Oak Grove

A reader shared images of a phenomenal home located off of SE Oatfield and Roethe Road in Oak Grove (near Milwaukie, Ore.)

Here’s what they said:

This is a picture taken probably in the late 40’s by our Mom of her Mothers property which was on Oatfield road near Roethe. I remember this building on the Eastern border of her property.  I don’t think it was there after the 1960s but it looks like a very modern home with a Frank Lloyd Wright style to it.  They would have had an amazing view.  Not sure who owned that horse.  The house must have been off Roethe Rd east of Oatfield.  Perhaps someday I’ll drive out there and see if I can figure out where it might have been.

Any ideas from readers out there?

13 replies on “Modern mystery in Oak Grove”

Cameraman must have been afraid of “trespassing”.. it’s really hard to see much of the house, but living in mid-century land, I don’t think it is mid-century, but FL Wright had many styles… MAYBE! Allison LeRoux McKay in Palm Springs… P.S. if they’d only cut the grass!!!!

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Beautiful house. Such a modern house, and so early in the 20th century. It seems like it would been acknowledged in the news media and architectural record. There should be celebrated someplace. Thank you. I am sorry its gone. Last week saw the demolition of Oregon’s only Alcoa House, an all aluminum house. I am afraid we are not saving and celebrating modernist and mid 20th century architecture.

Tom, I drive by there frequently. Pull up Google Earth and input SE Roethe Rd and SE Oatfield, Milwaukie, Oregon 97267. I think it may have been remodeled but there is a house that looks similar.

Ok Tom – this is just going to be a guess (because my memory is cloudy and how many people had a horse grazing in their yard?) If it was north of Oatfield, it could have been the home of the Eikrem family who were family friends, but I can’t recall if they were on Roethe – just that I could walk there after school (RPHS), but there was a short, steep hill climb involved at that time. I have memories and family lore about a horse named Gat. However, I seem to recall that the pasture sloped downward, not up, but this picture could be their back yard – think it did go down to a creek). Their house was definitely modernist architecture and now that I think about it I would be safe to guess that my fondness for the style may have come from there. At least one of their 5 children still lives in the area and could possibly clear up the mystery. Saw him recently (2019?) at my mother’s funeral. I tried to find it on Google Earth but the technology has zoomed to far ahead of me.

Good work, Carole! Fascinating. I hope you are able to confirm the existence of this house, and sadly when it was torn down or modified, and maybe answer the question why. It would be interesting to know who was the architect, and when it was built.

(I know this “reply” is off topic, but you posted a comment in Nov. 2014 regarding the Marabba West apartments. Did you also know a Merle Jackson at that time, as she lived there, too. Respond to Thanks –Steve)

The house you are describing was on McNary. This house was south of Roethe (which was the street Putnam was on.This place was gone by the time Rex Putnam was built I believe.

There is an Eikrem Lane off of McNary.Rd. I was looking at a current Plat Map for Clackamas County and the property that my Grandmothers house is listed as 16800 Oatfield Rd. It claims the house on the property was built in the 1950s which is not correct but my Grandmothers House was 16724 Oatfield Rd.

The 5734 SE McNary house is a good guess, but the topography is not correct. The house in the photo is too hilly. the only place with that sort of grade along Oatfield is just directly east/west of Oatfield Rd. And there isnt currently anything like that, that i know of. I think TomR is correct- this house, probably doesnt exist anymore.
I remember the 5734 house well as I road the school bus each day right by it in the 80s. even to a kid the house was quite striking- the property with beautiful pastoral oak trees and (with horses i think) extended towards what is now the housing development to the east. interesting post though! fun to see what the area looked like along time ago!

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