First off, I am grateful to the Multnomah County library which provides access to the paid NewsBank service for free. Also, another site that rocks is Historic Oregon Newspapers, which includes good quality scans of the papers. So, I was able to successfully search for newspapers in NewsBank, which had fairly low quality scans, and when there was pictures, I could go to the University of Oregon site and look up the date and download the pages.
I'm not going to repeat all my earlier information, but I do want to add more details I found in the last week during my latest bit of delving through old Oregonians. I'm not going to include pictures of the houses as I've already published them in an earlier post.
|The Oregonian, 27 May 1909|
It looks like they designed a house for E.L. Pope.
“The Oregonian, 22 Aug 1909:
E.L. Pope, an Easterner, who recently bought a five-acre tract overlooking the Willamette River about three and one-half miles this side of Oregon City, is having the Spencer McCain Company prepare plans for a handsome rustic bungalow. The bungalow will be 33x40 feet in dimension, and will contain seven rooms, a reception hall and a sleeping porch. It will be sided with resawed rustic, with buffet and mantle inbuilt in the walls. Furnace heat will be provided. The bungalow will cost about $3500. Mr. Pope intends to move into his new home with his family this Fall.”
I don't know if they actually built it. I have no record of her working out of Oregon City. I did look up Pope and he ended up being sort of a big deal. He lived in Parkplace and ended up a judge.
|The Oregonian, 29 Aug 1909|
|The Oregonian, 19 Sep 1909|
|The Oregonian, 5 Jan 1910|
|The Oregonian, 16 Jan 1910|
|Oregonian, 18 Feb 1910|
On 8 May 1910, they announced a house in Colonial Heights: "The Spencer-McCain Company has prepared plans for a two-story nine-room residence for Dr. Amelia Zeigler to be built on Colonial Heights, near Hawthorne Avenue to cost $5000. The foundation and columns of the porch will be of cement blocks." Originally 297 E 23rd in 1912, now 1617 SE 23rd Ave.
|Sunday Oregonian, 23 Oct 1910|
Homer Keeney obviously liked it, as he had them build a house just like it for him and his wife in Laurelhurst. Spencer McCain pulled a permit for him in late Aug 1910:
By October the Alameda Park house was still for sale and they were starting to sound desperate in their sales ads.
Both the Henry and Keeney houses are completed by Feb 1911.
In Feb 1911, they speculate on five lots in Laurelhurst and commence building on two of them:
|Oregonian, 13 Feb 1911|
|Oregonian, 13 Feb 1911|
"Erect two-story frame dwelling. Multnomah street, between Peerless avenue and Imperial avenue; builder Spencer McCain Company; $4200." 3391 NE Multnomah St (was 1035 Multnomah St).
|Oregonian, 21 Mar 1911|
|Oregonian, 30 May 1911|
It looks like it may be the house they built for Shepherd in Portland Heights back in 1909. They offered to loan money for building purposes in the summer of 1909, so perhaps he reneged on his mortgage. If so, that certainly didn't help their cash flow or profit margin. Though, based on the earlier estimates of the project, I wonder if they were being completely honest about it being a $9000 project. The original permit said it was a $4500 project.
|The Oregonian 4 Jun 1911|
Honestly, I'm thinking they decide sometime in late 1911 or early in 1912 that they're going to wrap up their business in Portland. They had good success on spec homes in Laurelhurst, so they decide to build their last three lots.
|The Oegonian, 22 Sep 1911|
By September, they appeared to be selling off personal possessions: "If taken immediately will sell my beautiful new Melville-Clark Apollo player piano, for $335 cash; cost $750. Owner, 426 Lumbermens bldg. Phone M6000 or Woodlawn 1484." I think they must have also put the Senate street house up for sale. They just needed to sell some homes; any homes.
In October, the house on Multnomah sold to Frank E. Manning for $6000. The Senate street house sold to W.L. Simpson for $5000.
|The Oregonian, 24 Sept 1911|
They even offered it for rent in October 1911.
FINALLY, in November 1911, it sells to F.E. Gleseker for $3000. (Wow, that's a huge discount from their $9000 asking.)
In March 1912, they tell a reporter with the Oregonian that they'll be building on 7 lots during the summer. Sadly, this is their last summer building in Portland, they've largely given up trying to advertise themselves to prospective clients. The Oregonian has very little to say about Spencer-McCain in 1912. They seem to be trying to cut their losses and get out.
They finish houses at 444 NE Floral Place (was 106 Floral Ave), 436 NE Hazelfern (was 116 Hazelfern) and 475 NE Hazelfern Pl (was 115 HazelFern).
|Oregonian, 22 Dec 1912|
|Oregonian, 5 Jun 1913|
By 1914, she shows up in the Los Angeles directory.
I'm not sure how long Arthur W. McCain stayed in Portland, but by 1915, he is in arrears on his property tax on his Alameda Park house and he has a Vallejo, California address. I haven't found a sales record (yet).
Based on these ads, I get the impression that they just overbuilt their resources. They had some early success but then they got a little too enthusiastic about their prospects. Speculative houses took longer to sell than they expected, and they couldn't afford to wait. Since they had to sell them quickly, they ended up taking some pretty deep losses. In the end, I think they just couldn't afford to stay in Portland.
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