Yesterday, I shared that we bought a new house in May. I was originally very opposed to purchasing a home that was a newer build because I wanted historical charm. Our home doesn’t quite have historical charm in the way I imagined, but it does have a backstory.
We purchased our home from the four grownup children of the DeMartini Family. Here is what we have gathered about the history of our home, so far. The DeMartinis are an Italian farm family that started a large rhubarb farm in Milwaukie, Oregon, many, many years ago. Their first house on the farm had a dirt floor, and it was located closer to the creek bottom of Kellogg Creek, which is now a green space just across the street from us. After the farm prospered, the dirt floor house was eventually torn down. They built a larger farmhouse closer to the main road. By the end of the 1990’s, the four DeMartini kids had moved away (one has a farm in Canby, OR), and the Milwauki farm was no longer producing. They decided to sell off some of the farmland, part of which was turned into a large retirement and assisted living home; but they retained a large parcel of land and built a house for their mother, Josephine. The house and property were known as Josephine’s Estate. There was even a sign in the front yard that said “Josephine’s Garden.” The house was custom built for Josephine, and we assume, she must have used a walker or an electric scooter of some kind because the house came with a built-in wheelchair ramp in the garage as well as wider-than-normal doorways and hall, with no shortage of scratches in the door jams. There was also a walk-in tub with door in the master bathroom!
After Josephine passed away in 2012, her kids kept the estate intact for a couple years before selling the land parcel to a developer. Over the past year, the land has been subdivided and more than 30 homes have been built by Renaissance Homes, a local home builder. Then, the DeMartini kids put Josephine’s Estate on the market, and we have the pleasure of being the new owners of this house with a backstory.
Our house sits at the end of the development, on a bit of a hill, compared to the other homes, and we have green space with a creek right across the street. We are the largest lot and the only existing home in the neighborhood. And you know what, we kind of like being the odd house on the block!
Since we moved in, we have slowly been putting our stamp on the house, but three of the four DeMartini kids have come by at different times to visit. They have told us that Josephine would be happy to see how we have kept up the house and yard.