Structure Type: built works - dwellings - houses

Designers: Fealey, Barbara (firm); Gordon, Walter L., AIA, Architect (firm); Barbara Fealey (landscape architect); Walter Lyle Gordon (architect)

Dates: constructed 1949-1950

1 story

Portland, OR

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William Wood Wessinger (12/30/1917-02/072014), was the great grandson of noted brewer Henry Weinhard and a friend of the lumberman Aubrey Watzek. Watzek's house by John Yeon proved to be an inspiration for the Wessinger Residence. William lived here for about 64 years, 61 of which were lived with his wife Patricia Lue Wessinger (05/10/1923-06/08/2011). They raised five children, three girls and two boys in this spacious wood-frame residence. Wessinger co-owned the Blitz-Weinhard Brewery (with his brother, Frederick) and was important in preserving part of the Armory Building across the street, which the company used initially as a warehouse. In later years, Wessinger and his wife became interested in environmental causes, and donated to the Nature Conservancy. Wessinger retained the architect Walter Lyle Gordon (1907-1997), who had previously worked in Pietro Belluschi's Portland Office. The house crystallized a high point for Portland Regional Modernism, initiated by Yeon and Belluschi and expanded up on by Gordon and others after World War II. Barbara Fealey later laid out the landscape plan for the Wessinger House. (Thank you to Joseph Wessinger, grandson of William, for information on this important house, provided 03/12/2014.)

Set on a large property (originally about 40 acres), the Wessinger House featured a 40-foot-long living room. Esther McCoy said of the Wessinger House in 1953: "Indebted to the early Northwest Barns for its shape, this Portland house with low-pitched roof adapted to the contours of its hilltop site follows a rambling plans and is set amidst a stand of firs." The Wessinger House cost a significant $48,000 when it was completed in 1950, in large part due to its top-quality finishes and superb detailing.

Two additions were made to the house early on. One was an extension of the bedroom wing and the other was an extension of spaces off of the utility room. The utility room addition housed a utility room, bar and family room, while the bedroom wing was set aside for sleeping quarters. The house was zoned to keep the boys and girls separate, the girls wing occupying the bedroom wing, the boys taking over the servant's bedroom spaces on the other side of the house.

PCAD id: 12299