Historic Portland homes for sale: Gilded fixtures and Beverly Cleary rumors included

Cleary Family Archive (custom credit)


By Janet Eastman | The Oregonian/OregonLive

Every house has a story, especially really old dwellings. Imagine how many souls have swept through a 1903 Neoclassical-style mansion or a 1914 English Jacobethan? What lingers behind beyond the spirit of residents’ past? Their taste in wallpaper and other fixtures that stayed once the occupants vanished.

In this week’s real estate gallery, we look at historic Portland-area homes for sale and tease out the facts and the rumors.

Barnes Mansion

The Portland mansion Beverly Cleary called haunted is for sale at $4,995,000: Frank C. Barnes, who was a leader in the Pacific Northwest salmon packing industry, carved out about three blocks from his land holdings to create a compound in 1914 for his large family.

The 9,830-square-foot mansion, an eclectic mix of English Jacobethan with a grand Colonial Revival portico and Arts and Crafts details, has since earned notoriety as a landmark in literary icon Beverly Cleary’s beloved Ramona Quimby children’s books.

Cleary, who grew up near the Barnes Mansion, knew it when the four-level structure had fallen on hard times. She wrote that the house, at 3533 N.E. Klickitat St. on top of Alameda Ridge, was haunted.

The gilded mansion, with a ballroom and 18-karat gold threads in the drawing room’s wall fabric, was in danger of being torn down. Neighbors stopped the bulldozers in 1958 and the Barnes Mansion was restored and placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

All of the original beveled and stained glass windows and doors, in a variety of patterns, have survived as has solid Honduras mahogany paneling, says listing agent Tim Walters of RE/MAX Equity Group.

Included on the one-acre property is the mansion, with six bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms, and a detached garage built in 2005 with a self-contained one-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment (an accessory dwelling unit or ADU), overlooking a modern garden. The total living space on the property: 11,443 square feet. Read more about the Barnes Mansion.

(Article truncated to stick to the point! Click the top link to Oregon Live to see the rest and pictures of the Barnes Mansion.)