Sixth annual tour set for May 17

by: SUBMITTED PHOTOS: JIM TRUMBULL - The Osco C. Roehr House was built in 1931. It is on Oswego Heritage Councils Historic Home Tour May 17.

Oswego Heritage Council Executive Director Jude Graham believes history begins at home.

“It’s an intriguing thought which may not have occurred to you before,” Graham said. “We tend to be preoccupied with state, national and international concerns and sometimes overlook the intriguing history of the town in which we live. The more one learns about this town, the interesting older homes around us, and the personalities that shaped the town’s development, the more one can appreciate the rich heritage we enjoy in our unique city.”

This year’s Historic Home Tour features three unique homes. The tour begins at Oswego Heritage House at 11 a.m., where ticket holders will pick up a tour book with directions to the houses. The homes are open for touring until 4 p.m. Docents will be on hand at each of the locations to answer questions about each home’s architectural past.

Tickets are $30 for OHC members and $35 for nonmembers and can be purchased online at or by visiting Oswego Heritage House, 398 Tenth St. in Lake Oswego. Tickets are also available at Dennis’ Seven Dees, 1090 McVey Blvd. and Zupan’s Market, 16380 Boones Ferry Road, both in Lake Oswego.

The Frank Manor House is one of the homes on the Historic Home Tour.

One of the homes on the tour is the Frank Manor House, built between 1924 and 1926 for Lloyd Frank and Edna Levy Frank. Lloyd Frank was one of several family members running Meier and Frank Department Store and was responsible for the furniture department. Situated on 63 acres, every detail of the Manor House — exterior, interior and landscape — was designed by noted architect Herman Brookman. Frank lured Brookman to Portland with the promise of nearly complete design control and an unlimited budget. The entire estate cost $1.3 million to develop at the time it was built. The grounds were not completed until 1929.

Now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Frank Manor House was one of the premiere estates in 20th Century Portland.

Next on the tour is the Osco C. Roehr House, built in 1931 and designed by Osco’s brother, Portland architect Frank Roehr. Osco was mayor of Oswego from 1939 to 1945; as mayor he had a strong interest in parks and was instrumental in the purchase and establishment of George Rogers Park in 1945. He started a levy to fund parks and thus establishing a strong parks system in Lake Oswego. He purchased land on the Willamette River for the city as a future waste disposal site and that land is now fittingly named Roehr Park.

This home is also on the National Register of Historic Places and a listing on the Lake Oswego Landmark Designation List is pending.

The boathouse at the Jantzen House was designed by Richard Sundeleaf.

The third home on the tour is the Jantzen House, located on a five-acre island in Oswego Lake. The island was purchased by Carl and Emma Jantzen, one of the founders of the Jantzen Knitting Company, in 1929; it took until 1936 for the house to be completed. The bridge and boathouse were completed in 1931. The bridge, boathouse and house are all listed on the National Register of Historic Places as well as the Lake Oswego Landmark Designation List.

Charles Ertz of Ertz and Burns Architects designed the house and Richard Sundeleaf designed the bridge and boathouse.

In the early 1930s and ‘40s, the Jantzens were known for hosting elaborate parties on the island with water ski fashion shows of Jantzen swimwear.

“It is a magnificent landmark estate, being beautifully restored and preserved by the current owners,” Graham said.

Tour participants are encouraged to also tour Oswego Heritage House, built in 1920 by Paul C. Murphy as the office for the Ladd Estate Company. Murphy’s vision was to convert the thousands of acres that remained after the cessation of Oregon Iron & Steel Company to residential use. He believed that good architectural design would build a good community and encouraged the use of the best architects of the time: Richard Sundeleaf, Charles Ertz, Roscoe Hemenway, Van Evera Bailey and Morris Whitehouse. Architects designed approximately 30 percent of the residences built in the 1920s in the area around Oswego Lake Country Club. Oswego Heritage House was place on the Lake Oswego Landmark Designation list in 1990 and it became the home of Oswego Heritage Council in 1999.

To learn more about the tour or becoming a member of Oswego Heritage Council call 503-635-6373 or visit

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