February 20, 2004
The house, a Queen Anne style Victorian, appears as romantic as its setting.
Luke lived in the house. Architect W.C. Knighton’s (who later designed the Oregon State Supreme Court Building) first commission was the house, built in 1894, for pharmacist Luke A. Port. Poor Luke. His son, Omega, gone to study chemistry abroad, intending to work father’s pharmacy upon return, and lost at sea in a hurricane. A commemorative piece, the "omega" window, by the Povey Brothers, primary makers of stained-glass throughout the Northwest, is above the front parlor fireplace.
George and Willie lived in the house with its wealth of golden oak woodwork, louvered privacy-shutters built into window frames, curved glass dining room windows, and stained-glass details.
Alice lived in the house with a tower rising above the multi-gabled roofline. From there you could see, of course, the woods, and the matching carriage house, the parkland, and the English-style gardens with the gazebo from the 1905 Lewis & Clark Exposition.
The gardens, conceived of as a series of outdoor rooms, were designed for Alice, in 1929, by Lord & Schryver. The firm established in Salem that same year would design about 250 gardens throughout the Northwest including work in the orchard within Bush Park. Elizabeth and Edith were the first professional female landscapers in the Northwest. Both graduating the prestigious Lawthorpe School in Groton Mass., they actually met only later in Europe. Elizabeth’s mother founded the Salem Garden Club. Her father served as Governor (1895-99) and Chief Justice of the Oregon Supreme Court.
It was Alice Browns’s children, Chandler and Werner, who played in the woods, but it was Alice who named the property Deepwood Estate after "The Hollow Tree and Deep Woods Book" by Albert Bigelow Paine, which her children loved when young. With a bottle of champagne she christened the house on New Years Eve in 1935.
Deepwood sits on 5.5 acres in the northeast corner of Bush's Pasture Park (Overview) while Bush House (my entry) is at the park’s northwest corner. The story of the house and those who lived there is a wonderfully complex tapestry of personality (both human and architectural), merely hinted at here. The interpretive house tour guide will detail much more.
Other Deepwood Park Facilities:
--A steamy plant filled greenhouse.
--Free parking next to greenhouse. Entrance is off 12th Street and then off Lee Street, one block south of Mission.
--The Fry Stein Nature Trail skirts the creek.
Tours: Hourly noon-5pm. May-Sept.: Sunday-Friday. Oct.-Apr.: Tuesday-Saturday.
Grounds open dawn to dusk year round.
Admission $4, students/seniors $3, children $2, under 6 free. Grounds free.
(For D and G, married before Omega.)
From journal Bush's Pasture Park: (A)sahel to Ga(Z)ebos