The Burlingham residence represents an excellent example of a custom design and construction of a Minimal Traditional house of the 1930s.
The Doris and Gordon Burlingham House incorporates three principal areas of significance:
Doris Wells Burlingham grew up in Portland. Her father was William Bittle Wells, who was the founder and editor of The Pacific Monthly magazine.
Gordon Burlingham was the son of Ernest F. Burlingham who came from England by way of Hawley, Minnesota where he had a business. However, like so many others, Ernest and his wife Annie came to Forest Grove because of the location of Pacific University and the educational opportunities it could provide for their children. His first business here was in dairy and poultry supplies and it evolved and became a family business. When his sons grew older they joined him. His oldest son Vernon, expanded the business further into grass seed. In time, Gordon and Doris’s son George became President of the company and later in turn, a fourth generation, George’s daughter, Sheri Burlingham also joined the firm. The company has always engaged in seed research. E. F. Burlingham and Sons became known internationally for its quality seed production. Now located west of Salem in the community of Rickreall, E. F. Burlingham Seeds has recently celebrated 111 years in business.
Gordon Burlingham was active in Forest Grove business and cultural activities during his long life. Doris Wells Burlingham devoted herself to many civic improvement activities. She helped organize the League of Women Voters in Forest Grove in 1937. Doris served in the Office of Price Administration during World War II, keeping track that local stores were adhering to maintaining their prices in accordance with the government controlled price lists. After the war, she served on the Forest Grove School Board for fifteen years helping to upgrade local schools. She was an active member of the Board of Trustees of Pacific University for many years. One of her many gifts to the University was to restore Old College Hall to its original condition, in memory of her husband.
On her death at age 97 in 2004, the Burlingham House was donated to Pacific University, which sold it to Scott and Laura Hancock. In 2007 the Hancock’s sold it to Scott and Donna McCahon who lived here for 11 years before selling it in 2018 to the current owners Brian and Robin Dickinson.
When Doris and Gordon Burlingham were just young adults beginning their life together they chose a distinguished Oregon architect, Ernest Tucker, to design and build their family’s future Home. The result is a beautiful house in well maintained complementary surroundings that is standing the tests of time.