The Residential Architecture in Eugene Oregon, 1850 to 1950, Multiple Property Submission (MPS) was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2000. Portions of the content on this web page were adapted from a copy of the original nomination document. [†] Adaptation copyright © 2011, The Gombach Group.
The Fairmount neighborhood in east Eugene had its beginnings as the Town of Fairmount, platted and dedicated by George Melvin Miller and Professor John Straub in 1890. Fairmount was officially incorporated in 1892. Named after Philadelphia's Fairmount Park, it was envisioned as the ideal suburb to the University of Oregon and an instrumental link between Eugene and Springfield. Fairmount was annexed to the City of Eugene in 1904.
The neighborhood is relatively large and diverse. It is situated between the University of Oregon and Agate Street on the west and the ridgeline of Judkins Point on the east. The north end of the neighborhood is bounded by the Willamette River; the south boundary is more irregular, reaching as far as East 27th Avenue in the southwest corner and winding its way along the contours to Henricks Park, which is included in the area, in the southeast corner. Subsequent additions to the large area designated by the original town of Fairmount plat included Fairmount Heights in 1910 and the First Addition to Fairmount Heights in 1925.
Although there was development in the area during the 19th century, the vast majority of the houses were constructed between 1900 and about 1940. Some in-filling has occurred since that time. House sizes vary, ranging from comfortable small-family homes to large, elegant houses built for prominent Eugene families. Examples of many architectural styles can be found in the neighborhood although bungalows were by far the most popular, rivaled only by 20th Century Period Revival styles. Several houses in the Fairmount neighborhood were designed by local architects.
The neighborhood's proximity to the University of Oregon made Fairmount a desirable neighborhood for faculty and staff. Originally, Miller had hoped to locate the Siuslaw and Eastern Railway connection to the Southern Pacific line in Fairmount, but was unable to deliver. Rail transportation was established, however, when the University line of the street railway system was expanded into the Fairmount Loop, which made a wide circle through the neighborhood (a small section of track along Columbia Street has been preserved and is listed as a local landmark). This accessibility to the neighborhood, further enhanced by the early improvements of streets for automobile transportation, made it a desirable neighborhood for many professionals and merchant class families during the Motor Age.
Development of businesses in the neighborhood was encouraged, although the neighborhood continued to be primarily residential. A few businesses were established in the neighborhood, located primarily along or near Franklin Boulevard. The neighborhood also included churches and schools. The Fairmount Presbyterian Church (the oldest extant church structure in Eugene), located on the corner of E. 15th and Villard, was constructed in 1895. The Fairmount Church of Christ, built in about 1930, was located on E. 17th Street. Condon School was constructed in 1909 for elementary students in the neighborhood. In 1924, Theodore Roosevelt Junior High School was built on Agate Street at East 18th Avenue. When Roosevelt School relocated to a new site, the building was converted to an elementary school and renamed Condon School (the original Condon School was demolished at that time). The building is now known as Agate Hall and is owned and used by the University of Oregon.
The neighborhood is notable for its wide tree-lined streets and public parks. Villard Street is a 100-foot wide boulevard with a planting strip separating the lanes of traffic. In 1908, over 1000 trees were ordered for planting in the neighborhood. Lindens were planted on Columbia, horse chestnuts on Moss and Orchard, maples on Villard and Fairmount, and walnuts on Walnut. Elm trees were planted along Agate Street in 1909. Many of these trees survive today. In 1906, T.G. Hendricks donated ten (10) acres of land for a public park (what is now a portion of Hendricks Park). Washburne Park, originally the gardens and lawns of the Washburne residence, was donated to the city for use as a public park by Mrs. Carl Washburne.
Commercial development along Franklin Boulevard has continued to chip away at the north edge of the neighborhood. As the University of Oregon expanded, it grew in an easterly direction, taking with it a portion of the historic neighborhood, a pattern of growth that continues to encroach on the historic fabric of Fairmount Although development pressure appears to be limited to these issues at present, the neighborhood's proximity to the university makes it ripe for high-density development.
There are only two houses in the neighborhood that are listed on the National Register. These are the Charles S. Williams House (1973 Garden Way) and the Howard Hall House (1991 Garden Way). There are additional houses identified in the neighborhood that may be eligible for listing as individual resources. A portion of the neighborhood has also been identified as potentially eligible as a historic district.
† Michelle L. Dennis, Historic Preservation Consultant, Residential Architecture in Eugene Oregon, 1850 to 1950, nomination document, 2000, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.