Once upon a time, Lake Oswego was called “Sucker Lake.” Around the lake were fishing shacks that had been built by Portlanders for use in the summer only. Many of these were built on land they did not even own.
Emma Austin, of all literary sounding names, was a Portlander of means who had her 1910 summer home designed by the great Portland Architect, Joseph Jacobberger, with handsome stone and inspired by Arts and Crafts and the architecture of Greene and Greene.
The beautiful house was on the brink of being bulldozed by another lightning-fast infill developer when the Lake Oswego Preservation Society contacted us and told us that if we could buy the house in two days it would save it from the bulldozer. We bought the house immediately, winning the Society’s award for preservation, and saving what the locally famous book, The Classic Homes of Portland” listed as one of the best examples of an Arts and Crafts bungalow in the greater metropolitan area.
We took the home from a run-down little utility cabin to an upscale place on an acre of landscaped spaces with hundreds of feet of new stone walls that look as old as the house.
Austin was ahead of the trend. Just a few years later, the developer of Portland’s Laurelhurst Neighborhood began to develop the town. His first move was to change the name from Sucker Lake to Lake Oswego and coin the slogan, “Live where you play.”