East County Historical Society » MEMBER DIRECTORY

East County Historical Society

Heslin House Museum and the Zimmerman House Museum Contact: Tina Olin
Work Phone: 503-261-8078
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Biographical Info

Zimmerman House


  • The Zimmerman House was home to three generations of Zimmermans:
        • Isobel never married and never had children
          • Our second generation was George and his wife George took on the family

          dairy farm (which was 660 acres at its height), and did a significant remodel of the house in 1899; he added the wrap-around porch and gingerbread, this room had been.Jacob and Lena came across the Oregon Trail in 1851, owned property around Blue Lake and the Vanport area, and bought a donation land claim here in 1868. They built the first part of this house in 1874.  Most of the rooms on the west more than doubled in size.     The third generation were George and Jessie’s four girls:

        • Jessie married, but did not have children
        • Olive married, had two boys, but they did not marry and did not have children
          • Olive married, had two boys, but they did not marry and did not have children
          • Mabel died in her 20’s from complications of surgery and
          • Isobel never married and never had children
          • Isobel realized her immediate family line was going to end, so she put the house on the Nat’l Register in 1986 and began looking for a historical society. We are an East County Historical Organization and she willed her house to us. Isobel lived most of her life in this house, and passed away in 1992 at the age of 93.
          • Just under 6 acres remain of the original 660 acres, and this is actually one of the City of Gresham’s undeveloped parks. We are in a partnership with the City where we own the house, and lease back the grounds from the City.
          • There are two things that make the Zimmerman House unique:
            • Only three generations of the same family lived here – with the exception of some caretakers brought in after Isobel passed away.
            • Everything in the house – except for the curtains and red runner rugs – are Zimmerman family possessions. So the furniture, photos, china, tablecloths, etc. – everything was found in the house and belonged to the This is unusual for a house museum; most house museums have some items that belonged to the family, but many artifacts were acquired and donated to complete the collection.
            • You are welcome to wander through the house – we just ask that you not touch the artifacts and stay on the red runner rugs when possible. There are other volunteers throughout the house and we’re happy to answer any questions you might have.
            • Other tidbits:
              • Jacob and Lena emigrated from Germany and met here in the They had two boys and two girls that lived to adulthood.
              • George’s wife Jessie was a McCall from
              • Jessie the daughter married Tom Millar- a local
              • Olive married a minister and moved to
              • The family story is that Jessie the mom didn’t think Isobel’s first beau was good enough and discouraged the relationship.
              • The railroad came through in 1910 while George and family were back Some think he was specifically invited to meet President Taft so the railroad could be built in his absence. George sued the railroad and was awarded $10,000- which is approximately $250k in today’s dollars.
              • The bathroom was added in 1923 by closing in an outside porch. It’s believed there would be six outhouse sites (based on the number of people / years) and one attempt to locate these sites was not successful.
              • The 660 acre dairy farm was from 152nd to 181st and from the Columbia River Slough to the I-84 Keep in mind the slough would have been further south than today – this was before the Marine Drive dike was built
              • And on, and on, and on!
Categories: Attractions, Museums, Non-profits
Updated 5 months ago.

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