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    Location: Historical Tour > Jackson Bottom > Rice-Gates House

Rice-Gates House (built 1890)

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.

Rice-Gates House (built 1890)    Rice-Gates House (built 1890)

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Research source(s):
♦ 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 (
Photographic image(s) copyright © 2001 P.M. Heimerl. Photographic image(s) on this page are property of P.M. Heimerl and are protected by U.S. and international copyright laws. Image(s) may not be used in any form without written permission of P.M. Heimerl and payment of required usage fees. To receive permission and reproduction rights, contact P.M. Heimerl via

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