Summerfield Celebrating 50 Years

468
Left to right: Name unknown, Roy Brown, Summerfield golf pro; Bob Luton, Tualatin Development Co., and Ron Sorensen, Chairman of the Board, Tualatin Development Co. attend the grand opening of the Summerfield Clubhouse on on June 13, 1974. Courtesy/Tigard Historical Association
- Advertisement -

Summerfield was started in 1974 with the opening of the clubhouse on June 13 and is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2024. 

Summerfield is a premier adult living community in Tigard, constructed by the Tualatin Development Company, which the late Ron Sorensen owned. Ron Sorensen also constructed King City earlier in 1964. As a planned residential area, the centerpiece of the community is the Summerfield Golf and Country Club clubhouse, completed in the summer of 1974, which houses the office of the Summerfield Civic Association, a reception room, ballroom, kitchen, meeting rooms, game rooms, a library, an art center, and on the lower floor the Golf Pro Shop and men’s and women’s locker rooms and exercise facilities. There is a large pool outside on the West side. 

The clubhouse was designed by George Rockrise, AIA of San Francisco and the golf course was designed by Ted Robinson (1923-2008) of Palos Verdes Peninsula, CA. The golf course is semi-private and open to the public when not in use by the men’s and women’s golf clubs. This nine-hole course is 2,475 yards long, with 33 being par. The developers of the Tualatin Development Company gave the golf course to its members in 1976 when they deeded the golf course to the Summerfield Civic Association. The Summerfield housing project design included single-family homes, townhouses, apartments, condominiums, and a semi-assisted care facility known as The Estates. (See the website at www.summerfield55.org) Currently, about 2,400 people reside in Summerfield.

Summerfield is served by the Tigard Water District, which has a number of water sources, including four deep wells, two lines from Portland, and one line from Lake Oswego. The golf course uses recycled water. Summerfield was served by a new facility, Unified Sewage Agency, beginning in 1975.

The area that became Summerfield was settled by Oregon pioneers. The land on which Summerfield was constructed in the early 1970s had originally belonged to a donation land claim granted in 1851 to Solomon Richardson. He had built a cabin near where the Summerfield Clubhouse stands today. 

Soloman served as a justice of the peace for the region known as East Butte (later called Tigardville and then, after 1908, Tigard) and also served as a school district clerk. Soloman and his wife, Elizabeth, are buried in Crescent Grove Cemetery near Washington Square. Richardson’s land claim was eventually divided into smaller farms—Alderbrook Farm and Willowbrook Farm—and today, Summerfield commemorates these farms in the names of several streets, Alderbrook Drive and Alderbrook Circle, and the Willowbrook Shopping Plaza is located near its main entrance. 

In the early 1900s, promoter Edward Quackenbush bought up these farms and published two pamphlets—Small Farms Pay and Tualatin Valley Farm Lands, which advertised small parcels of subdivided former farmland for sale. He promoted the healthy aspects of rural living in Tigard. When Ron Sorensen was ready to develop Summerfield, he had to buy up small parcels of land and put them together. For example, the Quakenbush Investment Company sold a part of Willowbrook Farm to Frank Bishop in 1905. Frank and Vina Bishop moved to their farm in 1908 and worked the land for 48 years. Their heirs sold the land to Ron Sorensen for the Summerfield development. The Bishop farmland was located at Summerfield’s entrance area near the Willowbrook Shopping Plaza.  The Bishops sold their produce at Yamhill Market in Portland. Frank Bishop’s youngest son, Wilbur Bishop, became Tigard’s Mayor from 1975 to 1978.

A smaller farm known as the Bunney acres also became part of Summerfield. Today, a plaque on the golf course’s fifth fairway attached to a large Sequoia tree commemorates its former owner, William H. Bunney. Many of the original trees throughout these former farms were preserved in the community’s 203-acre designed layout. The farms specialized in growing peaches, hazelnuts, yellow Danver onions, berries, grains, and flowers such as peonies and raising poultry and horses.

Summerfield’s boundary to the South, Durham Road, was named for Albert Alonzo Durham, who migrated to Oregon in 1847 and built a sawmill in Lake Oswego before settling in East Butte (later Tigard) in 1869 and building a sawmill and a grist mill on Fano Creek. These became known as the Durham Mills, and Albert Durham was a founder of the small community of Durham. The northern boundary of Summerfield was Sattler Street, named for Anton and Mariam Sattler, German-speaking immigrants from Odessa, Russia, who bought and settled on their Sattler farm about 1903 and expanded their farm to fifteen acres by 1909.

The western boundary of Summerfield was set with the annexation of the Fountainwood area, including the Fountains and the Fountainwood condos. The eastern boundary is formed by the Applewood housing development, which is separate from Summerfield and looks toward Mt. Hood.

Summerfield has always stood for tranquility, relaxation, recreation, longevity, fun, friendship, happiness, and peace. Happy 50th birthday! 

Visit www.tigardhistorical.org to become a member, volunteer, or for more information about the Tigard Historical Association.

- Advertisement -