Historic Landmarks Board: Historic Neighborhoods
Forest Grove's history is rooted in education and religion. The founders of the town came to the region as missionaries. Missionary Alvin Thompson Smith was the first to settle in the area, building a cabin in 1841.
The region was developing as a farming region, but neighbors were few and far between in the 1840s. In 1854, Smith built a two-story Greek Revival house for himself and his wife, Abigale. The house still stands today on the south edge of town, with the help of a group of dedicated friends working hard to preserve the important structure.
The Reverend Harvey Clark arrived a year later in 1842 and settled a land claim north of the Smiths. He started a Congregational Church, one that also served as a school house. In 1847, Tabitha Brown arrived and started an orphanage in conjunction with the school. By 1849, the Tualatin Academy was established. One must understand that in 1854, the 36 square miles surrounding the Forest Grove area contained only 25 to 30 landowners. Families lived on their individual farms, as the large acreage of these their land claims made them quite isolated from their neighbors. Agriculture was the primary occupation of early Forest Grove residents. The creation of Tualatin Academy and the town soon to be known as Forest Grove that sprung up around it, forever altered this dispersed development pattern. The Academy evolved into the Pacific University of today. For a more thorough history of Forest Grove, click here.
The Historic Downtown is an undesignated area that is centered at the intersection of Pacific Avenue and Main Street. The historic downtown area is not listed in the National Register and there are no official borders, however there are a number of significant historic buildings. From the intersection, the historic core runs northward a block along Main Street and for several blocks along Pacific Avenue.
The late 1880s brought a boom to Forest Grove with the arrival of land speculators and developers. The "Gay Nineties" saw the development of electricity and water facilities in Forest Grove. Much of brick downtown was developed during this period. The names of the buildings repeat in the names of the grander houses in Forest Grove. The downtown core fortunately avoided the fire of 1919 and survives today very much intact.
To download the history (i.e., context statement) for the downtown (approximately 120k), click here.
To see detail on a historic resource in the Historic Downtown, either point your mouse to a historic resource on the map below and click, or if you know the address, click on the address link at the bottom of the page.
The Clark District
The Clark National Historic District was created south of downtown in 2002. It is a roughly rectangular area with irregular borders of 19th and 16th Avenues on the north and south, and A and Elm Streets on the west and east.
Central School is on the west edge, Rogers Park on the east edge. The area is residential with a scattering of churches. The Historic District contains 178 historic sites. The area is named after the Reverend Harvey Clark and his wife, Emeline. With the help of A.T. Smith, the Clarks built a log cabin on their land claim north of the Smiths. Reverend Clark was instrumental in the creation of the Tualatin Academy. Much of the land where the Clark Historic District stands was donated to the Academy by Clark as an endowment. The land was originally platted into one-acre lots. The land was purchased and houses were built for local residents in a wide variety of occupations. This variety translated into a spectrum of architectural styles from Second Empire to Bungalow.
To download the entire history for the Clark Historic District (approximately 3mb), click here.
To see detail on a historic resource in the Clark Historic District, either point your mouse to a historic resource on the map below and click, or if you know the address, click on the address link at the bottom of the page.
The Walker-Naylor National Register Historic District is north of the downtown and west of Pacific University. It is a roughly rectangular area with irregular borders of 23rd and 21st Avenues on the north and south, and C and A Streets on the west and east. The area is residential containing some of the oldest houses in Forest Grove.
Many of Forest Grove's local historic landmarks are located in this neighborhood. Thomas G. Naylor and the Reverend Elkanah Walker settled donation land claims west and north of Harvey Clark, respectively. Both gave land to found the Tualatin Academy. Many of the names connected to the houses are repeated on the downtown commercial buildings. The area contained a small commercial district on its southeast edge that was devastated by a fire in 1919.
To download the history (i.e., context statement) for the Naylor-Walker Neighborhood (approximately 6mb), click here.
To see detail on a historic resource in the Walker-Naylor Neighborhood, either point your mouse to a historic resource on the map below and click, or click on the address link at the bottom of the page.
Painter’s Woods District
The Painter’s Woods National Register Historic District, created in 2009, is south of downtown. The residential neighborhood is bounded roughly on the north by 15th Avenue, south by 12th Avenue, east by Elk Street, and west by Birch Street.
The Painter’s Woods District includes portions of the first subdivision in Forest Grove. The district is a well-preserved example of residential development in Forest Grove between 1880 and 1948. The South Park and Knob Hill Additions included homes built on smaller, more affordable lot sizes than those found on the original town plat. This marked the beginning of Forest Grove’s transition from a semi-rural community to a more modern suburban community. Early development of the district included two of the city’s earliest hospitals, both of which are residences today. Early settlement of the Painter’s Woods District drew from a diversified group of prominent citizens, professionals and working-class families.
To download the entire history (i.e., context statement) for the Painter’s Woods District (approximately 3mb), click here.
To see detail on a historic house in the Painter’s Woods District, either point your mouse to a historic house on the map below and click, or if you know the address, click on the address link at the bottom of the page.
|2206 12th Ave
2225 12th Ave
2128 15th Ave
2204 15th Ave
|2324 15th Ave
2339 15th Ave
2406 15th Ave
2422 15th Ave
|2434 15th Ave
1502 Ash St
1305 Birch St
1414 Birch St
|1320 Cedar St
1506 Cedar St
1504 Elm St
Tualatin Academy, predecessor to Pacific University, was established in 1849,just a few short years after Euro-American settlement began in the Forest Grove area. Eight Pacific University buildings are listed on the Forest Grove Register, and one – Old College Hall – is also on the National Register. In addition, several other campus buildings are eligible for either City or National Register status. For a more thorough history of Pacific University, click here.
The Bates House, Carnegie Library, J. W. Hughes House, Marsh Hall, McCormick Hall, Old College Hall, Old Roger’s City Library, and Palace Garage/Forest Grove Creamery are all listed on the Forest Grove Register.
The Tabitha Brown Hall and Washburne Hall are eligible for listing on the Forest Grove Register and may be eligible for listing on the National Register.
To see detail on a historic resource in Pacific University, either point your mouse to a historic resource on the map below and click, or if you know the name of the building, click on the name link at the bottom of the page.
Old Rogers City Library
|Old College Hall
JW Hughes House
|Tabitha Brown Hall
Out of Districts
The City’s Historic Landmarks Ordinance was adopted in 1980, and since then, 84 individual structures have been placed on the Forest Grove Register of Historic and Cultural Landmarks. These buildings have been recognized and placed on the Register because of their historic and cultural contribution to the heritage and character of Forest Grove. While most of these structures are located in one of the historic districts, some are not. This page includes those “outlier” sites.
To see detail on a historic resource, either point your mouse to a historic resource on the map below and click, or if you know the address of the building, click on the name link at the bottom of the page.
1619 Maple St
1651 Hawthrone St
2237 16th Ave
1736 Pacific Ave
1810 Pacific Ave
1825 Mountain View Ln
1839 Ash St
1923 Elm St
1938 16th Ave
2336 Gales Way
240 Elm St
2606 17th Ave
2617 17th Ave
2620 18th Ave
3081 Sunset Dr