NH: 1925 Lakewood

Beside the Lake, Beneath the Trees


Lakewood advertising brochure

A 1925 advertisement declared “Of all Lake Oswego’s districts Lakewood is the most accessible—the nearest—possessed of modern advantages. There is no more beautiful spot anywhere.” A decade earlier Ward Cotton Smith had come “out to Oswego to look for the lake and we found a mud hole down here on State Street.” The marsh that locals called the “Duck Pond” did not fit Paul C. Murphy’s definition of beauty. The Ladd Estate Company’s most significant transformation of the lake was the 1928 project to create Lakewood Bay. A channel created to pipe water to the second furnace was enlarged to flood the pond and it was renamed. An ordinance was proposed to fine anyone referring to Lakewood Bay by its former name.

During the industrial era pipe cores and bricks for the second furnace were made from clay deposits in the Duck Pond. On the south side of the Lakewood peninsula, basalt was quarried for the first furnace. East of the former quarry the Ladd Estate Company, under Paul C. Murphy’s direction, donated land for the Oswego Municipal Park on Ridgeway Road. Lakewood homeowners fought it on the basis that it would hurt property values. The heated issue of public access was resolved by a vote. The park was completed in 1936 and dedicated with the mayor and Lassie, the assistant guard dog, in attendance.

In 1938 John Yeon teamed with builder Willard “Burt” Smith to construct two speculative homes for lower income buyers on Ridgeway Road. Yeon, the pioneer of Northwest Regional Architecture, was innovative in many cost-saving but design-savvy ways, including the use of exterior plywood for construction. It is estimated that only nine of these houses were built. One of the three in Lakewood remains intact.

Affordable housing was an anomaly. Stanley C. E. Smith and Ethella Stoughton Stearns Smith hired Albert Gambell to design and build their home in 1930 on a large parcel at the terminus of West Point Road. Smith was the son of Charles E. Smith of Smith Bros. Iron Works and Smith and Watson. The Smith family had strong connections to the town. Both of the Smith brothers were major shareholders in Oregon Iron & Steel, Oswego iron once adorned the circa 1883 Smith and Watson building in Portland, and Ferdinand C. Smith was general superintendent of the iron works in 1887.

Barrett & Logan designed a 5000-square foot house on Lake Shore Road for the well-known local restaurateur Henry Thiele, and his wife Margaret, as well as Portland’s landmark Henry Thiele restaurant. The residence, constructed in 1936, featured two full kitchens. Both the restaurant and home are now gone. The celebrities attracted to this neighborhood were not only local. It has not been verified, but it is said that Humphrey Bogart once stayed at a house on North Shore Road, which was named “Casablanca” by the present owners.