In my research, I discovered through old directories and census records that Ida McCain was the architect of the firm Spencer-McCain, and she was only 25 or so when she was here in Portland.
Arthur, her brother, worked as a meat cutter before arriving in Oregon, and then described himself as a contractor for the 1910 census. Their business partner, Charles Spencer, was a bricklayer and reported contractor on the 1910 census. He was also married to Eda McCain, Ida and Arthur's sister. (Their mother Hannah King was also here with them.)
Besides our house, I've found 10 houses they completed here in Portland (that haven't been torn down). In March 1912, this sentence was published in The Oregonian, ". . . the Spencer-McCain Company will build on seven lots [in Laurelhurst] this summer."
I've identified maybe four of these houses, so there might be three more. Or maybe they just abandoned their plans for seven houses to return to California. Or maybe they didn't plan to build that many homes but said they were because they were trying to create interest; I'm trying to figure it out. So, I am irrationally going through lot-by-lot making an "inventory" of all the houses in Laurelhurst including the builders, when I can find the information at portlandmaps.com. (What an amazing resource we have!) This will also help to match up old photos when they only identify the owner (or builder) name.
Anyway, I can usually get through 100 to 150 a day during my goof off in front of TV time, so at this rate it will take me something like a month or two to make the full list. But, if Spencer-McCain built more houses in Laurelhurst, I am determined to find them. =)
Oh, and since I'm taking over the Laurelhurst newsletter this spring, I should have some good material for history-based articles. At least I hope so.
|This is a concept drawing for a house they were planning to build for Hannah King, their mother, in Alameda Park. Though, I think they actually built it (or its twin) in Laurelhurst on Senate Street.|