Visiting beyond the Porch

Feb 22, 2013 | 4 comments

Greg's HouseJPGYesterday morning I went calling on our new neighbor Greg Rogers.  I had an appointment to interview him for a Chinook Observer article on his plans for the Oysterville Store.  We met at his house – the place we all call the Bert and Minnie Andrews House.

No one is completely sure when or where the house was built.  According to Bud Goulter, who seems to always know about these things, the house was once situated on Andrews property across from the John Crellin house, now often called “the bottle house.”  In the early 1900s Tom Andrews owned the Crellin house and the large Andrews family owned much of the property across the street.  Bert was Tom’s nephew.

Bert Andrews HouseAlso, according to Bud, the building was moved to its current location in 1907, although Bert and Minnie didn’t move into it until 1919.  All that is a little murky in the Facts Department.  Although Bert and Minnie and their five children are listed in the Oysterville Census of 1920, they are not listed in the 1910 census.  So perhaps they were not the owners of the house in 1907?

On the other hand, though they came from California, their four youngest children (the oldest of whom was 12 in 1920) were born in Washington.  So, if Oysterville was their birthplace, the family could have been here in 1907 or 1908.  Why they would move the house to a new location but not move there, themselves, is a bit of a puzzle.

Bert and Minnie Andrews(An aside – Tom Andrews’ brother, Sam, was the Oysterville postmaster from July 23, 1895 until his brother Tom replaced him on May 4, 1901.  In 1913, Sam took over again and then in July 1918 their niece-in-law, Minnie Andrews, became postmistress.  According to Charlotte Jacobs, an Andrews descendent, the issue was probably not one of nepotism but more a question of who could be talked into taking on the job. A case in point is when Tom Andrews was eager to move away from the peninsula.  Taking his postal responsibilities seriously, he felt he could not leave Oysterville before finding a replacement postmaster and talked brother Sam into serving a second time.  It apparently took Sam another five years to talk Minnie into taking her turn.  By the time Minnie retired on July 1, 1945, the Andrews family had collected and distributed mail for the residents of Oysterville for fifty years less twenty-one days.  An admirable record!)

Nevertheless, everyone seems to agree that Bert and Minnie moved into the house now owned by Greg at the same time that they built the store and post office.  In the earliest pictures of the house, it looks much the same as now – not many changes to the outside.  The inside, though is a different story.

Greg has been busy removing carpeting and old linoleum, tearing out non-original partitions and gradually getting down to the bones of the buildings.  There have been numbers of owners since the Andrews – The Wrights, the Stahlkes, the Munseys, the Smiths and maybe some I’ve forgotten.  Each family apparently put their particular stamp on the original.

Interestingly, there are few Oysterville residents who remember being inside the house since back in the 1950s or ‘60s.  I don’t think I was ever actually inside, even as a child – only on the big front porch back when the Wrights were the owners.  They had a player piano that they kept there and I remember how much fun it was to watch the keys go up and down as it played “Glow Little Glow Worm” and we sang along for all we were worth – a forerunner to today’s karaoke?

Greg and I did talk about his plans for the store which was, after all, our original intent.  We even went next door so I could take a look.  But I think I’ll have to do a follow-up interview if for no other reason than to see more of the inside of the house.  Such a treat after all these years of wondering what was beyond the porch!

4 Comments

  1. Stephanie Frieze

    The black and white picture looks so sweet with a beautiful garden and fence. Thanks for sharing your first foray. I hope more pictures will follow so we can see the work being done inside.

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  2. Nancy

    Another aside: When Jack and I were considering a move to O’Ville we did go inside! Smiled in memory of thinking of it as similar to the Winchester House in the Bay Area, a feeling that there was little rhyme or reason or planning as we walked from room to room. If it had not been for our advanced age and my need for seeing the sun on a regular basis we might be there now. So glad to read that Greg will be tending the property which is, indeed lovely. The house has great potential and the gardens are a delight to see (and walk through).

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  3. Cousin Ralph

    Cousin Sydney, at Ancestry.com I found that Thomas Albert Andrews (that is his full name from WWI draft registration) and wife Minnie were living in Nahcotta for the 1910 federal census with their two eldest children Carl and Ruby. I guess this still doesn’t help in showing who moved the house in 1907 and consequently lived there until Bert and Minnie moved there in 1919.

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  4. Greg

    What would I do without a crack girl reporter like you on the scene! Thanks for answering so many questions. Thanks also to “Cousin Ralph” and Nancy for the added info. My goal is to have the mood and spirit of 1919 without it looking like a Stickley showroom. Lol

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