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Kiernan House listed in National Register of Historic Places

April 11, 2019

The Kiernan House in Portland is among Oregon’s latest entries in the National Register of Historic Places.
Oregon’s State Advisory Committee on Historic Preservation recommended the building’s nomination at their October 2018 meeting. The National Park Service—which maintains the National Register—accepted the nomination March 6, 2019.
The Kiernan House was nominated as a rare survivor of Portland’s Pioneer past and is one of only three Italianate single-family houses built before 1870 that remain in Portland. When the house was built on the southwestern edge of Portland, the area was relatively rural and surrounded by the wooded hillsides to the south and west. As the downtown grew, that area became home to many of the city’s working class and the homes constructed around the Kiernan House were single and multi-family houses large and small.
The Kiernan House was also nominated for its architectural significance as a representation of Italian Villa architecture. The house is a one-story building with flush tongue-and-groove board siding, segmental-arched windows, and porch and eave details. The earliest image of this house comes from an 1879 map of Portland that shows a similar representation of the current house now.
Located in the Terwilliger Heights neighborhood in southwest Portland, the circa 1865 Kiernan House was moved from downtown Portland to its present location in 1964. The house was in the path of the “new” Stadium Freeway (I-405) construction and so it was slated for demolition.  For $350, James and Ruth Powers purchased the building and found a location to move the building, which is where the building remains. At the time, the location James and Ruth Powers found was a site used by the city to dump dirt while digging a nearby reservoir.

The National Register of Historic Places was established as part of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966.
More information about the National Register and recent Oregon lists is online at www.oregonheritage.org (click on “National Register” at left of page).