What women did
The latest addition to Philip Foster Farm will highlight the lives of pioneer women, particularly the founder's daughter, Lucy.
After three years of restoration, the home where Lucy and her husband Josiah raised their family will open to the public on the National Historic Site's opening day for the summer, Saturday, June 15. The event will also feature a pioneer food celebration.
After spending many years as a rental house on Burnett Road, the home was purchased and moved across Highway 224 to become a part of the historic farm site at 22725 S.E. Eagle Creek Road.
The house consists of a parlor, kitchen, bedroom and two porches on the first floor, along with a children's bedroom and what was likely a sewing room on the second floor. Several later additions to the structure, such as a bathroom and laundry room, have been removed to preserve historical authenticity.
The home was built for Lucy and Josiah in 1860. Approximately 20 years prior, Lucy's parents Philip and Mary Charlotte traveled from Maine and established themselves in Eagle Creek to host numerous pioneers traveling west on the historic Barlow Road. Their 640 acre property featured a store and places for weary travelers to stay.
In the late 1950s, Lucy married one of these travelers, Josiah Burnett of Missouri. The newlyweds joined the rest of the Burnett family in Roseburg and remained there for a brief time until Philip offered them 40 acres if they were to move back to Eagle Creek. The couple accepted, and their house was later built across the street from Philip and Mary Charlotte's.
Since moving the home in 2016, staff at Philip Foster Farm have drawn upon several first-hand sources during the restoration, including remains of the original wallpaper and receipts from purchases Lucy made for the building.
Based on remnants of the original wallpaper, staff picked patterns that were similar and appropriate for the time period. Wallpaper during the 1860s often featured busy patterns, partially to distract from the walls, which were not as smooth as modern ones.
"They nailed cheesecloth to make the walls smooth. They wet it and then put down the wallpaper. That was as good as you could get before drywall," explained Jennifer Goldman, programming director at Philip Foster Farm.
Goldman noted it is unusual that areas like the children's room had wallpaper, since they would not have been public spaces and the paper was difficult to put up in the 1860s.
One of the next steps in the restoration is the addition of lights, and farm staff plan to use reproductions of historically accurate kerosene lamps. Though gas had arrived in Portland during the 1860s, it would not reach the Estacada area until later.
Receipts from Lucy's purchases for the home, which Philip Foster Farm staff have been using during its restoration, show that lumber for cost $199.07, and furnishings were $70.03. Certain items, such as a "parlor bed," are not easily identifiable, though farm staff think this might be a guest bed.
Even with several primary sources, it hasn't always been easy recreating the historic home.
"You don't write letters to your husband saying 'I set up the sewing room in the upper right corner of the house,'" Goldman said. "It's a puzzle. We keep putting it together."
In terms of exterior updates to the house, a new roof and updated siding have been added — the latter of which was hand milled, as it would have been in 1860.
Leaders at Philip Foster Farm want the Lucy House to become an interactive exhibit. Many furnishings will be replicas rather than originals from the 1800s.
"We want people to feel like they're experiencing life in the 1860s," Goldman said, noting that many items in the house will be able to be picked up and touched by visitors. "You might see someone cooking or spinning wool on the porch."
Those at Philip Foster Farm are eager to honor the lives of pioneer women through the Lucy House and other opportunities.
"We want to be able to talk about women's lives," Goldman said. "Lucy is interesting because she wrote a lot. Her husband traveled for work so she wrote to him. We know more about her life than we normally do for a woman in 1860."
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