If you enjoy touring authentic historic homes rather than re-creations, head to Salem, Oregon and have a look at Deepwood Estate. Completed in 1894 when the average cost for a home was only $1,000, the price tag on this Queen Anne showcase was $15,000. The architect was William Knighton, who later served as Oregon’s first State Architect. Some of the five-acre estate’s finest features include exquisite Povey Brothers stained glass windows, warm golden oak woodwork, original gas and electric light fixtures, and professionally designed English gardens. Docent-led house tours are available for a nominal fee, or you can roam the grounds and greenhouse for no charge.
Over the years, Deepwood Estate had three owners. First built for druggist Luke Port and his family, the Ports did not live here very long. The house was sold shortly after completion, following the death of Doctor Port’s son. Judge George Bingham and his wife bought the house in 1895, and lived here until their deaths in 1924. The property acquired its formal name, Deepwood Estate, from a children’s book The Hollow Tree and Deepwoods by Albert Bigelow Paine, when the final owners, Clifford and Alice Brown purchased it in 1924.
In 1929, two years after the death of her husband, Alice Brown turned her whole-hearted attention to the development of a dozen formal gardens at Deepwood Estate. To realize her dream, she hired Elizabeth Lord and Edith Schryver, the first professionally trained female landscape architects in the Northwest to practice without male partners or supervisors. With names like Scroll Garden, Secret Garden, and Great Room, these green spaces are quite the focal point, and remain popular wedding sites today. In 1973, both the house and gardens were placed on the National Register of Historic Homes.
IF YOU GO
1116 Mission Street SE
Salem, Oregon 97302
Gardens open daily dawn to dusk and are FREE. House tours depart on the hour and are $4 for adults; $3 for seniors and students.
Tours are conducted:
- May – October 15th, Daily 9 am – Noon (Closed Tuesdays)
- October 16th – April, 11:00 am – 3:00 pm on Wednesday, Thursday, & Saturdays
Interstate 5 to the Santiam Hwy 22 Exit. (Mission Street)
Head West about 2 miles. Turn Left on 12th Street. Turn Right on Lee Street. Parking located one block south of 12th & Mission at 12th & Lee Streets (near the greenhouse). Large lot can accommodate RVs.
In addition to writing about her travels, Denise Seith is also a treasure hunter and loves a good latté. She and her husband own an online gold prospecting and metal detecting equipment store found at GoldRushTradingPost.com