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The house, built by Joe Chalupsky in 1941, had been slated for demolition



Photo Credit: SPOKESMAN PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - Former Wilsonville Mayor and current City Councilor Charlotte Lehan led the restoration of this 1941 Craftsman home built by Joe Chalupsky, the carpenter responsible for building Wilsonvilles historic Methodist church that now is a McMenamins brewery. An old local home that once was slated for demolition now has a new lease on life.

City Councilor Charlotte Lehan recently unveiled the refurbished Craftsman-style home that originally was built in 1941 by noted local builder Joseph Chalupsky. The two-story wood-framed structure once sported a wood-burning furnace and was owned by a local farming family.

Now, however, it is a showpiece of 1940s Craftsman style and quality that Lehan intends to use as short-term rental property.

The remarkable thing about the transformation, though, isn’t the end use. It’s the fact that so much of the home itself has been retained in the remodeling process. It’s practically a museum piece at this point and an outstanding representation of the type of World War II and post-war era construction that swept the Pacific Northwest.

“We’ve been working on it for a year-and-a-half, so it’s been quite a process,” Lehan said at a recent open house that brought out many of the dozens of friends and other volunteers who played a role in bringing the old house back to life.

“I’d like to say it’s been an adventure in moving,” she said. “But it’s been rewarding to bring it back to kind of the full essence of itself that shows off the best of 1941 craftsmanship and Joe Chalupsky, and at the same time bring it up to date with the technologies and conveniences that people expect today.”

While the exterior certainly has not been neglected, most of the upgrades took place behind the scenes, including replacing the wood-burning furnace and overhauling the plumbing and electrical systems. A new dishwater, for instance, was installed in the kitchen, but is hidden behind what appears to be an ordinary cabinet door.

Photo Credit: SPOKESMAN PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - As much as possible the restoration of the Chalupsky house maintained original fittings and materials, including this sink and taps. “There were those kinds of things we tried to ease into the house as best we could,” Lehan said. “The conversions are there but they don’t detract from the house. It’s a modest farmhouse, and we weren’t going to do granite countertops or have a giant refrigerator that wouldn’t be in keeping with the character of the house.”

Originally constructed in 1941, the 1,470 square foot, two-bedroom, one-bathroom home once sat on 10 acres of farmland adjacent to the now-demolished Dammasch State Hospital. Chalupsky got help with construction from Vernon Boeckman, a young Wilsonville farmer who used his carpentry talents to supplement that income.

Chalupsky died in 1947, but left behind a local legacy that includes the former Methodist Church off Boones Ferry Road built in 1910. The church was refurbished by Portland beer magnates Mike and Brian McMenamin and re-opened in 2011 as a brewpub and music venue.

The old home off Tooze Road nearly suffered a more ignominious fate. Once the home of the Bischoff family, known around the area for the sheep farm that still bears their name, it was rented out by Wilsonville, which owned the 10-acre property and used a barn and other outbuildings for storage. Eventually, however, the home suffered from roof leaks and other problems that led to plans for its disposal. Before that happened, however, the City first sought a buyer. Lehan wound up being the only interested party and purchased the house for the princely sum of $501.

Part of the attraction of the old home was the fact Lehan already lives in a Chalupsky home built in 1947.

“I didn’t know that this was a Chalupsky house until I walked inside it,” she said. “But I stepped into the living room and I could tell you who built it.”

From the design and style to the quality of work, it was an easy call, she said. The differences between the two are small and mostly informed by the date they were built, she added.

“The woodwork is exquisite,” she said, pointing to original hardwood floors and molding that simply needed refinishing in order to take on the look of a catalog piece.

“And because it was in ‘41, before World War II, the metal work, the copper is just outstanding,” she added. “The fixtures, the lights and the registers, the door and window hardware, it’s all pre-rationing for sure. Our house was built in ‘44 and it’s much more austere in the metal department even though it’s a bigger house.”

Now, the general public will have the chance to take a peek at a piece of local history, should you decided to spring for a short-term rental.

“It’s one of the things we were thinking about,” Lehan said. “So for right now that’s what we’re planning and we’ll see how it goes, not having done that before.”

Photo Credit: SPOKESMAN PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - Charlotte Lehan is shown in the kitchen of a refurbished 1941 Craftsman home she purchased from the city of Wilsonville for $501.

Photo Credit: SPOKESMAN PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - The hardwood floors in the restored Chalupsky house are original to the 1941 construction, which shows off the popular archways of the time in this photo of the open kitchen, entry foyer and living room in back.

Photo Credit: SPOKESMAN PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - The Chalupsky house was moved from its original home on Tooze Road to Lehan Court, alongside another Chalupsky house built in 1947. Here the house is moved along S.W. 110th Avenue, which was closed last year to make way for the new Villebois Drive North.

Photo Credit: SPOKESMAN PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - The Chalupsky home makes its way through Villebois on its way to a new home on S.W. Lehan Court. The house was moved in 2013 and restored at its new location alongside another Chalupsky house owned by Charlotte Lehan.


By Josh Kulla
Assistant Editor / Photographer
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