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The Governor Chamberlain House*
1927 NE Tillamook Street

One of Irvington's Most Historic Homes -- Bridging Victorian and Colonial Styles
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This is one of the most historically significant houses in Irvington. It was designed in 1891 as a classic Shingle Style Victorian by famous Portland architects Whidden and Lewis (at the time they were recent east coast transplants). The home was built for David D. Oliphant, a wealthy banker who would become the first president of the Irvington Tennis Club when it was founded in 1898. He suffered a reversal of fortune during the bank panic of 1893 and, despite signing on Frank Warren (wealthy salmon packing plant owner) as a trustee, lost the house.  Sadly for Mr. Oliphant the house reverted back to the mortgage holder -- and a few years later his friend Frank Warren went down with the Titanic.  During the difficult days of the 1890's financial panic, the house either sat empty or was occupied by renters.  But soon it would come into its own as a center of social and political life in Portland.

In 1904, Oregon politician George Chamberlain and his wife purchased the house. They quickly made changes, most notably squaring off the two bay windows in the front, making the house look more fashionably Colonial Revival in style. For still more on this home and its architecture, see the 2006 Home Tour Lecture: Ovation and Overview, Architects of Irvington pages.

Chamberlain became Governor of Oregon in 1902, and passed many vital laws in his two terms. In 1909 he was elected US Senator (winning in a contest with Harry Cake who lived just a block away and whose home was also on the 2006 Irvington Home Tour!) and served two terms. In 1916 Chamberlain was offered the nomination for Vice President of the United States by Woodrow Wilson, but he declined in favor of a return to Portland and his beloved house in Irvington! Governor Chamberlain's daughter, Carrie Lee, became the very first Rose Festival Queen in 1907 (Queen Flora). The Chamberlain House was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1991 for its connection with one of Oregon's most respected citizens.  For more on George Chamberlain and his career of service to the Oregon and the Nation click here.

The house is now a comfortable family home, but still accommodates a lot of entertaining. The current owners "use every single bit of space."

 * This is the "Historic Name" given to this home when it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

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