Location: Historical Tour > Jackson Bottom > Rice-Gates House
308 SE Walnut Street
This impressive residence was built in 1890 for William J. Rice (a prominent Hillsboro attorney who later became District Attorney of Columbia County). The two story, balloon frame structure is an excellent example of the Second Empire architectural style and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The mansard roof with dormers, boxed cornice and paired brackets at the eaves and the round-arched, pedimented windows are all distinctive elements of the Second Empire style.
In 1903, the house was purchased by Harry Verner Gates. Harry Gates served four years as a state commander during the Civil War and then pursued a career as a railroad surveyor and civil engineer. From 1887 to 1891 he was superintendent of construction for the Union Pacific Railroad. After retiring from the railroad in 1891, he moved to Hillsboro. In 1893-94, he served in the state legislature. Harry sold the house to his son Oliver Batcheller Gates in 1911 and they both lived here until 1927.
Together, Harry and Oliver built, owned and operated a sizable telephone system in southern Oregon as well as several of the first electrical power plants in the state (including the Hillsboro Power and Lights Works). They also owned the Gates Pipe Works in Hillsboro and a 10,000 acre ranch in eastern Oregon.
♦ City of Hillsboro, Oregon. Hillsboro Cultural Resource Inventory. Hillsboro, Oregon: October 1985.
♦ Norman, James B. Jr.; Portland's Architectural Heritage, Second Ed., revised; 1991, Oregon Historical Society Press.
Photo date: September 2001
Photo credit: P.M. Heimerl (www.pmheimerl.com)
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