Tigard’s historic museum was originally a wedding present from Wilson McClendon Tigard to his eldest son John Tigard and was constructed in 1880. It originally was situated on Pacific Highway (99W) where Elmer’s Restaurant is today. Built in the lovely Queen Anne Gothic style it today is painted white with red trim and is adorned in the front yard with a white picket fence and white rose bushes and sits across the street from Rise Church (formerly Calvin Presbyterian). It was moved to this new location on Canterbury Lane in Tigard in 1979 when it was threatened with being torn down for new retail stores going in on Pacific highway.
La Verne Baurer Sharp who was related to the Brandt family (she was the daughter of Ella Brandt Baurer and her grandmother was Maria Brandt) in Tigard history and a group of concerned Tigard citizens saved the house and this part of Tigard’s history from the bulldozer. The group of concerned citizens was originally titled Friends of the Museum, then the Tigard Area Historical and Preservation Association which later was shortened to become the Tigard Historical Association which today administers the John Tigard House Museum and promotes local history. The founding mothers of the Preservation Association in addition to LaVerne Sharp were Kathy Smith, Lois Abeling, and Ruth Croft who was the Manager of Crescent Grove Cemetery. In 1978 the John Tigard House was transported carefully down Pacific Highway and up the hill on Canterbury Lane to the corner of SW 103rd. The house stayed briefly in the parking lot of the former Calvin Presbyterian Church before it was moved across the street to its present location in 1979. Robert Gray Construction assisted in moving the John Tigard House to its Canterbury Lane location from Pacific Highway.
The land on which the house presently sits is owned by the City of Tigard but the house museum is maintained by the Tigard Historical Association and is usually opened four times a year to the public for free. The John Tigard House was renovated with a new roof, new electrical wiring, and a new gas furnace making this presentable and functional as a permanent museum to be enjoyed by the public.
The renovation took four years to complete and thousands of dollars were raised to support its costs with ladies’ teas and other fundraising events led by the Friends of the Museum with LaVerne Sharp as its first President and evolved through the TAHPA to become the current Tigard Historical Association of which you can become a member and volunteer.
In the past, the house museum was open in September for the Apple Harvest Festival with an old-fashioned press making apple cider, for Christmas when Santa could be seen there welcoming the children, and in April celebrating Curtis Tigard’s birthday (he lived to be 109), and in July celebrating the Fourth and offering an old fashioned ice cream social. These are all wonderful events, some of which were postponed during COVID. But the John Tigard House Museum will offer more fun in the future after the pandemic when the house can be safely reopened and toured.
The John Tigard House inside has an entryway, a parlor, a bedroom, a kitchen and pantry on the main floor, and an attic for storage that used to be an extra bedroom on the second floor. It is decorated with Victorian furniture, family portraits, a wood-burning stove, and display cabinets with memorabilia.
If you are searching for your Tigard roots, a good place to start when it reopens is the John Tigard House Museum. You are always greeted with friendly tour guides, offered games for the children, flowers and cookies adorn the inside, the apple trees provide shade on the outside, and there are usually exhibits such as quilting bees in progress on those free open house days you are lucky enough to attend. The John Tigard House Museum is now on the National Register of Historic places.
Some of what you’ll find inside the John Tigard House: Two rose upholstered parlor chairs, an organ with a portrait of Wilson Tigard hanging above it, a wood stove, and other items. Courtesy Photo/Dr. Barbara Bennett Peterson
To become a member, volunteer, or for more information about the Tigard Historical Association visit www.tigardhistorical.org.