Pamplin Media Group – HISTORY NOTES: The Story of Block 1, Lot 1

June Reynolds says Sherwood’s land deeds have quite a story to tell, and of course she’s happy to fill in any gaps.

“Know All Men By These Gifts James C. Smock and Wife of (Sherwood) and Washington County in Consideration of $80 Paid to Us by WF Young, Lot 1 Block 1 in the Town of Smockville.” – as recorded in Hillsboro Record, May 31, 1893

Thus, the first block of our Old Town was bought and sold.

As you can see, I once again descended into the title deeds rabbit hole. It’s a nice way to compile history, but it can be time consuming.

The reason for this right now is to research the “Park Park” which is being built on Block 1, Lot 1 near Clancy’s. It has a Robin Hood Theater theme, but before that time part of it was already being developed by the first Ford dealership and garage owned by Emil Lawrenz.

In fact, this area could be presented as the transport district of the city. The other corner, (now anchored by Clancy’s) was a wooden boarding stable – a place to park your horses for the night and maybe even the traveler would stay if you didn’t mind sleeping in the hay. James and Ella Brown owned the livery and ran a freight business before the railroad came along. They sold this lot to JF and Christina Melzer in 1915.

The land between and Lot 1 at the corner of today’s Pine and First Streets, was sold by W.F. Young to the Browns in 1906 as a launch site for freight cars next to the livery stables.

The Browns also owned a farm overlooking Rock Creek off present-day Oregon Street. They gradually ceased their freight business in town and moved it to the farm. There was little demand for the business with the development of the railway. The Browns moved to Portland and leased the land to a Belgian family, the DeConnicks.

Then, on May 2, 1919, the corner of today’s First and Pine was sold to EJ Lawrenz and his wife Minnie (née) Kruger. Mr. Brown’s freight business gave way to the future of gas-powered automobiles and Oregon’s first Ford car dealership. The garage was under construction even as the ink dried on the warranty deed. Ford Model Ts were being built on the street and on the sidewalk at the Lawrenz Hardware store near the corner of First and Washington, and business was booming. Two of the men who built the cars were Mr. Stevie and Ed Troyer.

According to Ford sales records, between 1924 and 1932, 210 cars or trucks were sold to the local community. The 1924-25 sales year also had people from Tigard, McMinnville, Silverton, Hillsboro, the Oregon City RFD and Newberg Motors.

“Know all men by these presents that David Fletcher, an unmarried man of Sherwood, in return for one thousand nine hundred of his paid by CP Kruger and Emma Kruger, lots seven and eight in block 6 in the town of Sherwood.”

This mandate was signed on May 9, 1919. Minnie’s father and mother bought the house directly across from the garage. The garage was oriented to the southwest and the house to the north. CI Calkins and Minnie Reiser were witnesses at Citizen’s Bank. There was a roaring fire in the house and the strange upstairs area needed repair.

Emil decided to buy more 6 blocks around the corner, move the house facing Pine Street and rebuild functional bedrooms upstairs. It happened in 1926.

Emil and Minnie had four daughters: Mabel, Emily, Ada and Della. The first three daughters were born at the Midwifery Home at Washington and Second Streets. Consequently, many members of the Lawrenz family are scattered throughout Oregon.

Annual meeting

All members, volunteers, prospective members and the community are invited to join us on Wednesday, November 30 at 3 p.m. for our annual members meeting.

There will be a social time, the election of officers, a year in review session, a demonstration of the newly acquired “Square” machine, payment of dues and much more. The monthly meeting will follow.

Regular hours of operation are still Wednesday and Saturday, 1-4 p.m.

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June Reynolds is a member of the Sherwood Historical Society.

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