Walnut Street (Eugene)

From Lane Co Oregon

letter from

Mrs. John O. Arnn

3161 Sycamore Place

Carmel, California 93923

June 7, 1991

Dear Mr. Sterner:

Or should it be Sterne? I didn't question Nick Hill, my son-in-law, who visited me recently and gave me your address and name with a dubious e or er ending. I am Mary Margaret Arnn, nee Scott, and was born in the Walnut St. house where you are now residing, in 1921.

Nick said you thought the house was built about 1925. I remember living in it as a three year old and four year old child, and my birth certificate, as well as my late mother, says I was born there. I drove by it once or twice on return trips to Eugene as late as 1972 or 73, but never attempted to see anyone living there. Of course, I'm pleased that you take an interest in the house.

I'm not sure if my father or my grandfather, Frederick C. Potts, had it built. I think it would have been built when my grandfather sold his cigar store and the property he owned around it which I think was on 11th Street a block or so from Broadway. This could have been as early as 1915 or 1916 because my parents lived in Portland, Oregon during World War I and didn't move to the house on Walnut Street until at least 1918. I just looked in the family bible which I haven't looked at for years and fail to find the pages with the records of births, deaths, and marriages. I think my grandmother must have been living in that house before she died and that was before I was born. Family records keeping can be sort of elusive, as well as memory.

I think I remember the house had a large living room, dining room area and an ell off to the right of the front door. The staircase went up from what seemed like the middle of the room and over the ell. There were two bedrooms and a bath opening off the living room. The kitchen was adjacent to the bath, too, and had a swinging door into the living/dining area. I think there were two or, three very small rooms upstairs, one of which was mine. The living area had some handsome wainscoting. Nick said you described the architecture as somewhat "wierd." (sic) Even to me as a child it seemed odd, but for those times it was comfortable. For some reason my family sold that house and moved to Springfield for a brief time where my grandfather died. Then my father built a house on what is now Cal Young Road-- that's across the river. It was very small by today's standards, two bedroom, one bath, but with a sizable living room and a dining room separated by an archway between the two rooms. I remember we had fairly large windows on both sides of the dining room and in the front of the living room which looked out on the forested area of Cal Young's property and, best of all, a magnificent maple tree in the corner of our yard-- suitable for a swing and for climbing. I saw that it was in good shape in the 1970's.

I am curious to know if any of the subsequent owners of the house have been able to change the interior very much. Hope someone saved the wainscoting, but I could certainly understand trying to have the bedroom doors and the bathroom door open off some other area, which would have been difficult to change.

I tell you these details because Nick said you are an architect. The house next door to the right as one faces 1653 belonged to a professor of sculpture at the University of Oregon. His name was Fairbanks. I think there were two vacant lots or one large vacant lot on the left.

I hope you find the area a good place to live. I know my mother remembered it that way. I'll be delighted with any information you may have on the house.



Mary M. Arnn

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