The Enduring Historical Buildings of Molalla
By Gail J. McCormick for The Molalla Pioneer
The George V. & Kate Adams House is located at 521 South Molalla Avenue in Molalla, Oregon. The architecture is the Craftsman Bungalow Style, a popular style in Molalla in the early 1900s. This house is similar, in design, to the William & Annie Everhart house. It is located across the street and was the featured story in Chapter 4 of this series. Although the outside of the Adams' house has been changed, it retains some of the original characteristics of the Craftsman Bungalow Style. The addition of an upstairs apartment, with outside stairs, was added in the 1960s. Two upper dormer windows, elements usually included in the Craftsman Bungalow Style, have been removed and replaced with more modern windows. The inside of the house has many of the original design elements of the Craftsman Bungalow Style. The house is in good condition today and is privately owned.
George V. Adams
George V. Adams was born in 1861, at Knox County, Illlinois. His parents were William D. & Lucina Loveridge Adams, whose story was featured in Chapter One of this series. When he was four years old, George's family emigrated to Oregon via the Oregon Trail and settled in the Molalla area. From that time on, George spent the rest of his life in Molalla.
In 1877, when George was sixteen years old, he was apprenticed to a carpenter under the direction of his father, William D. Adams, who was a master carpenter. In 1885, George purchased 180 acres of his father's farm on Adams Road and changed his occupation to farming. In 1886, he married Kate Robbins. Kate was born in 1867, at Marquam, and was the daughter of Oliver and Mary Thompson Robbins. Also, in 1886, George added 140 adjoining acres to his farm, which he purchased from N. G. Stewart. By 1915, George had 220 acres under cultivation on his 320 acre farm. In a newspaper article in the Enterprise Courier, Anniversary Edition of 1915, he is described as "a prosperous and progressive type rancher, who purchased thorough-bred stock. He was raising hogs and had 50 head ready for market. He had purchased registered Berkshire sows and was building up a herd." George also had purchased one of the "finest teams of draft horses in the Molalla district." They were Percheron and Morgan cross breeds and weighed approximately 1,800 pounds each. On the farm, George and Kate also had an outstanding residence which, today, is a Clackamas County Landmark. George and Kate had three daughters: Bertha, Edna and Ofa.
By 1917, George had retired from farming and sold his farm to the Lay brothers. He and Kate moved into Molalla to the house on South Molalla Avenue. George was very active in civic life. He had served as Director of the First National Bank in Molalla and was a member and past steward of the Molalla Grange #310. George passed away in 1930, at Molalla. Kate passed away in 1959, at Silverton.
In Molalla's early days, Kate's parents, Oliver and Mary Robbins, took an active part in building up the community. Since no structure has been left behind to remember them by, I am remembering them in this story, as a tribute to their foresight and generosity. Oliver Robbins, was born in Indiana, in 1840. He traversed the Oregon Trail, with his parents, Jacob and Sarah Spillman Robbins, in 1852, when he was twelve years old. Most of the way he rode a horse and helped drive the stock. The family first settled in Salem and moved to Molalla in 1860. In 1865, Oliver married Mary Jane Thompson. Her family was from Ohio and, also emigrated to Oregon, in 1852. The Thompsons settled in the Marquam area.
Oliver's father, Jacob Robbins, had purchased the 629 acre donation land claim of Charles Sweigle. Today, this land includes the Coleman Ranch, east of town. Oliver and Mary worked this farm for many years. They moved, from the farm, into Molalla city in 1895. They were known as "Uncle "Ol" and "Aunt Mary" to their friends and neighbors. Oliver was often called the "Father of Molalla". They always helped with civic improvements and were longtime members of the Grange. Around 1912, at a critical time during the construction of the Willamette Valley Southern railroad, they donated $10,000 to the project.
Mary Robbins started the Women's Civic Club of Molalla and was their first president. Through this group, she became the innovator that started the Leonard Long Park in 1925; a park we still enjoy today. At the time, Oliver and Mary lived across the street from the park and donated the land for the park to the Molalla Civic Club. The Club established the park and donated it to the City of Molalla. A drinking fountain/bird bath memorial, at the park, was dedicated to Mary Robbins in 1940, by the Club. The stone used for the fountain was from the first pioneer Clackamas County Courthouse in Oregon City. Oliver passed away in 1933, at Molalla. Mary passed away in 1940, at Molalla.
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