June 27th, 2012
In March this year we completed a job on a part of Portland’s History. We wanted to share with you some details about Armstrong Hall at Western Seminary. This facility has a long line of history that dates back to the start of Portland in 1892.
We started the process in late winter and due to the weather it became a challenge to keep everything watertight. We were able to complete the job in March, 2012. Our crew replaced the old built up roof with pvc membrane and the deck was done in Duradek walk surface.
Please take a few minutes to read the story below and if you want to know more about the project you can email us for the full history of Mt tabor and the mansion.
Visit our Facebook page to view all of the photos
- First began to be settled in 1842, with only one settler on the East side in 1844.
- Reverend Clinton Kelly, a circuit riding Methodist preacher, settled on the East side of the river in 1848, purchasing a land claim for $50.00 Southwest of Mt. Tabor.
- In 1853 Reverend Clinton Kelly’s son, Plympton, was reading a book about Napoleon and his Marshalls and was impressed by the battle fought near the base of Mt. Tabor in Palestine. His enthusiasm for the name, coupled with the fact that Mt. Tabor has traditionally been held to be the site of Christ’s transfiguration, impressed Plympton and the ten local Methodist families sufficiently to choose the name Mt. Tabor over the name Mt. Zion, proposed by his father, Clinton.
- By 1855 all the land on Mt. Tabor had been claimed by early settlers through eight donation land claims.
Dr. Perry Prettyman:
- An itinerant naturopathic doctor, and acquaintance of Rev. Clinton Kelly, staked out a land claim in 1849 and homesteaded on Mt. Tabor. Prettyman was a naturopath who had studied at the Botanic Medical School in Baltimore, and introduced the dandelion to Portland, imported from Missouri to be studied for potential medicinal purposes.
- Prettyman was a leader in the growing community and helped organize the first Multnomah County Agricultural Society.
- In 1860 Perry Prettyman’s land was the most valuable property on Mt. Tabor. He told his sons “I shall live to see the land worth $100 an acre; you will live to see it worth more.” Before his death in 1872, Prettyman’s land value was greater than $300 an acre.
- Later, the property, owned by Prettyman’s son, became an inn and stage stop primarily for soldiers travelling between Vancouver Barracks and Oregon City.
- The inn was bought by Philip Buehner in the 1890s.
- It was rumored that Buehner once hosted Ulysses S. Grant in the old inn.
- Buehner remodeled the inn with lumber shipped around Cape Horn. Upon the completion of the home, the lumber was discovered to be riddled with termites and the home had to be burned to the ground and rebuilt into the current mansion.
- After the incident with the termite-riddled lumber, Buehner started the Western Lumber Co., the first of his many lumber businesses.
- Buehner retired from the lumber business in 1927, but remained as head of Buehner Investment Co., and retained interests in lumber holdings around the state.
- He was a real estate developer of Mt. Tabor properties such as the George Eastman, nine-room New England Colonial on 56th and Salmon, built for $8,500.
- Buehner, a mechanical engineer by training, co-founded Wolff, Zwicker and Buehner iron works, which was started in order to build the first Bull Run pipeline to bring water to Mt. Tabor/Portland.
- Western began in the basement of local Eastside Baptist (Hinson Baptist) Church in 1927. Five years after Philip Buehner’s death in 1940, and because of his enjoyment in hearing Dr. Walter B. Hinson’s sermons preached over the radio, his family contacted Hinson Church to see if they wanted to purchase the mansion. They referred the family to Western Seminary, who purchased the 4.5 acres and 3 buildings for $30,000. And the rest, (like the first part) is history.
- The mansion was listed on the National Registery of Historic Places in October of 1980, and also has a Giant Sequoia tree registered as a local Heritage Tree (# 165) due to its age and its history.