AKA: Portland Children's Museum, Portland, OR; Alliance française de Portland, Portland, OR

Structure Type: built works - dwellings - houses

Designers: Krumbein, Justus, Architect (firm); Justus F. Krumbein (architect)

Dates: constructed 1871

3 stories, total floor area: 8,671 sq. ft.

1425 SW 20th Avenue
Portland, OR 97201

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Original address was 488 Main Street.

Jacob Kamm (1823-1912), a Swiss immigrant and former MIssissippi River steamboat engineer, lived in this house on a 13-acre property with his wife Caroline Augusta Gray Kamm (1840-1932) and their only child, Charles Tilton Kamm, (1860-1906). The Kamm House has been called Portland's first mansion. (See Bart King, An Architectural Guidebook to Portland, [Corvallis: Oregon State University Press, 2007], p. 202.) Jacob Kamm became a shipping magnate, a large shareholder in both the Oregon Steam Navigation Company (with routes serving commercial interests shipping goods between San Francisco, CA and the ports of The Dalles, OR, Astoria, OR, and Portland) and the Ilwaco Railway and Navigation Company, a route connecting the Columbia River with Willapa Bay, WA. Kamm spent about $80,000 to build the residence, a large sum in 1871. The house was a notable early example of the French Second Empire Style in Portland; things French may have been very topical in 1870, as that country was engaged in a humiliating war with the Prussian-led, German war machine. Portland architect Justus Krumbein, designed two structures for Kamm, this residence and the cast-iron Kamm Office Building, Portland, OR, (1884). Thirty-year-old carpenter, Lawrence Therkelsen (born c. 1840), a Danish immigrant who lived in San Francisco, CA, c. 1870, served as the building contractor. In later years, the house has contained the Portland's first Children's Museum (c. 1946) and private offices.

The residence was moved from its original location at 14th Street and Marion Street in Portland, OR's Goose Hollow Neighborhood. The original address was 488 Main Street, before the City of Portland renumbered its streets in the 1930s. In 1950, the Kamm House was moved to 1425 SW 20th Avenue in Portland to allow for the construction of Lincoln High School on the first site.

National Register of Historic Places (November 5, 1974): 74001708 NRHP Images (pdf) NHRP Registration Form (pdf)

PCAD id: 16043