Hiram Porter, who was a carpenter, built this house circa 1905 on lots 11 & 12 of block 8 in the South Park Addition of Forest Grove. This was land he had purchased in 1904 from E. W. Haines. The house is very similar to those others of the time designed by local architect J. E. Jerome. Hiram and his wife Mary had moved their family to Forest Grove from Austin City, Minnesota sometime after June of 1900. Little else is known about them, although it is believed that Hiram built other houses here. They lived in this house for about 2½ years. In September of 1907 Willamina Cline purchased the property from them and kept it for about 8 years. Before she moved to Colorado in 1916, she sold the house to Septimus Gibson who kept it for 5 years.
In January of 1920 Septimus Gibson moved to B Street, and Lucy Weeks bought the Porter House. Lucy (37), her husband Merton (44) and their son Harold (2), had been living at her parent’s farmhouse north of Forest Grove. She went to work as a cook at Pacific University while Merton was working as a farmer. Records indicate 14 years later in 1934 Lucy was divorced and married Henry J. Rolston, a man who had been two times divorced, and who worked for the railroad. Lucy and her second husband Henry retained the home until September of 1939 when they sold it to a logger, William L. Fitzgerald, and his wife Gertrude who lived there for 4 years.
In 1943 the Porter House transferred to Arthur and Emma Hellickson. Their reason for buying the home is unknown but perhaps they only planned to “flip it”. Arthur was a well-known builder around Forest Grove who went on to construct dozens of homes here over the next decades. After only 5 months they sold the home to Edward and Minnie Merritt.
Edward Merritt was a farmer. Minnie was only 16 when she married Edward, eight years her senior. They raised their family of 9 kids in a sod house on the Kansas prairie for 22 years before moving to Iowa. They continued to farm there until moving to Forest Grove to retire.
After a hard life farming, Edward only lived another 8 years, but Minnie continued to live in the Porter House for a total of 39 years, until she reached the age of 94. Among her special interests, she enjoyed raising berries, fruits, nuts and flowers in her yard. She also had a special love for making quilts, as she made over one hundred of them. At her death she was survived by 45 Grandchildren, 114 Great Grandchildren and many Great-Great Grandchildren as well as a host of friends and neighbors.
Subsequent owners include:
1984 Douglas Hamilton & Susan Barth
1989 Theodore D. & Linda J. Welker
1998 Mathew A. & Connie J. Carr
2003 Brian A. & Sara L. Green
2007 Gerardo Vergara Monroy & Monique Grindell
Friends of Historic Forest Grove members Elizabeth & Travis Powers became the latest owners in 2020.