1934 SE Umatilla St, Ronald Quiroga
  • 1934 SE Umatilla St, Ronald Quiroga

History means a whole lot to different people. It can be endearing and show character. Others may see history as baggage, especially when most of that history is clouded and undocumented.

But what does this all mean when talking about a home? Like your choice in underwear or your Internet’s browser history, one’s home can be the most personal and historically revealing attribute of a person.

This centennial Victorian in Southeast is waiting to make more history.

At a first glance, 1934 SE Umatilla needs some TLC. It’s a home with delicate details and beauty oozing out of every slab of maple that lines its floors and abundant stained glass windows. Many of its rough characteristics are also what make it a special property: uneven floors, spunky dark wallpaper, and smaller-than-usual rails are all part of its appeal and wonder.

According to the current owners, it was built and completed roughly between 1878 and 1890. A couple of photos of the home hang on the walls of its living and dining rooms from a time when Sellwood was still its own municipality (it was annexed by Portland in 1883—check out the photos).

Home circa 1890
  • Home circa 1890

The owner’s also confirmed that past tenants included the former president of the Portland Blues Society and many famous blues musicians actually played in the house, including Muddy Waters!

“Everyone has different ideas of what they want. You’d have to love this house for all the character and quirkiness that it has,” said Wendy Snyder, head agent for the home. “The owners didn’t want to change or ruin any of the character.”

Courtesy of Portland Creative Realtors
  • Courtesy of Portland Creative Realtors


Courtesy of Portland Creative Realtors
  • Courtesy of Portland Creative Realtors

Just two blocks way from the hustle and bustle of 17th Ave and Tacoma, Snyder of Portland Creative Realtor, stressed the neighborhood’s small town feel.

“A lot of families are drawn to Sellwood for the great schools, but everyone is drawn to Sellwood for the walk-ability. Even single people, people who don’t care about the schools—it attracts all ages. There’s a status symbol of living in Sellwood. People are proud to live here,” said Snyder.

The neighborhood’s access to downtown is amazingly efficient. A 10-minute bike ride over the Sellwood Bridge will get you into the heart of the downtown waterfront, while a trek over the Morrison bridge costs you about a half-hour car ride, without traffic.

Not to say that all this isn’t worth it.

“I’ve got clients who work at Intel and Hillsboro but live here and commute everyday because they want to live in Sellwood,” said Snyder.

Seemingly more than just a home built of brick, wood, and cement, it feels more like a living testament to times where designing and architecture were left up to artisans. It’s round "Moorish" arches frame the living, dining, and family rooms, begging the home to be nicknamed the "hobbit house," according to the agents.

Set on a 6,999 sq. ft. lot, the nearly 2,300 sq. ft. home is currently priced at $375,000. After being put on the market last summer, the home received a lukewarm reception, according to Snyder. But as most realtors have confessed, Portland’s market has been as active as ever. Consequently, Snyder believes the home will imminently sell in the next couple of weeks.

For more information, visit Portland Creative Realtors or contact Wendy Snyder at 503-810-6470 or Wendy-Snyder@hotmail.com