Most likely, the cutest and oldest building in Sherwood is what the Historical Society calls "The Smock House." With its white picket fence and yards, front and back, it captures the imagination of many a fourth-grader doing the "Pioneer Days" field trips.
Here students re-enact with docents the daily life of settler folk, just a few years off the Oregon Trail. The first log cabins were not very comfortable with their muddy dirt floors, drafty walls, and no glass for windows. The Hall Family, along with J.C. Smock and his mother came over the Oregon Trail in 1852.
A.Z Hall, who owned the lumbermill down in what is today Stella Olsen Park, sold the logging mill to J.C. Smock's stepdad, Johnson Hall in 1861. A.Z decided to build the first milled-lumber house for his parents in 1868.
It was built somewhere near todays Main Street on the east side of the road and across from where the railroad tracks are presently located. Hall's step-nephew was 21-year-old J. C. Smock, who helped build the house. It had two separate living areas, top and bottom, and two entry doors. Each side had a set of small-paned windows.
J.C. Smock met the love of his life, Mary Ellen Sebastian, at the Sweek House Christmas Ball in Tualatin and they were married in 1868. The newlyweds lived in the old Hall log cabin on the logging mill land. Between 1870 and 1871, the small family was called back to Nodaway County, Missouri, to conduct Smock Family business.
When they returned several years later, the Smock House was empty as the grandparents had passed away. The J.C. Smock family lived there for a few years. In 1885, Smock granted the right-of-way of the railroad to come through his land and he was looking to survey and plat a town.
In 1890, the Smock House was rolled on logs with a team of horses across the newly-laid railroad track and into the center of the nine-block grid in the town, Block 5 on 1st Street. The Smocks built the Smock Mansion in 1891, which was located across the railroad tracks on Main St.
It burned down in the 1930s.
Besides the Halls and Smocks, other early Sherwoodians lived in the Smock House: James Beavert, N. Briggs, Jack Morback brother of J.E. Morback, and J. F. McCutcheon, who worked for the railroad. McCutcheon bought the house in 1920 and had the small-paned windows taken out and two larger, wavy-glass panes put in.
McCutcheon was a bachelor who had his granddaughter come out on the train to keep house. He built a kitchen addition and a large, wide porch across the front of the house so he could sit outside and watch the trains go by. Then he retired from the railroad.
By 1936, the Mansfield family bought the house and added a stairway and another bedroom onto the house. The Mansfields had a grocery store a block away which they bought in 1930 from the Kilpatricks. They were still running the store in 1939 when they added a Meat Market. By this time, their son Billy was also running the store with three other butchers.
The Smock House was located next to the Mason Hall which later became Atrell's Funeral Home. Mr. Atrell needed parking space and a better parking arrangement for his hearse. He purchased the house in 1966 with the agreement that the house would remain until Lena Mansfield's death. She died in December of 2001. That was a long wait. At the same time, the Sherwood Historical Society had formed and realized that the Smock House was a significant historical building. With an archeological expert, we were able to research and prove the provenance. We asked Mr. Atrell if we could have the building. He said yes, but it took us until Nov. 1, 2003, to get enough money together to move the structure to the alley near the Morback House. We are still grateful that Mr. Atrell is a patient man. We own the Smock House and it has been one of our best learning labs for history.
In 2008, Tyler Johnson built the tool shed in the Smock House yard for his Eagle Scout project. We promptly filled it with tools that are 150 years old.
We are still waiting for the go-ahead to re-open the History Center. We have a lot of cleaning to do after our basement renovation. By the end of summer, we will be back in action.
Our hours of operation are Wednesday and Saturday, 1 to 4 p.m. We will be hosting the Art Walk on the porch and park with a display of Sherwood history books and other books about Oregon. It takes place Thursday, June 24. Hopefully, there will be other readings from Oregon writers as well.
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