4. Mackenzie House

(now William Temple House) Whidden & Lewis, 1892 // 615 NW 20th Ave

 

Mackenzie House
Image: Bruce Wolf

WITH STATELY office towers like the Failing Building and the quirky, Renaissance-revival gem of Portland City Hall, Whidden & Lewis set the highest early architectural standard for downtown Portland. The firm proved equally adept at houses, the best of which is now known as the William Temple House. Originally built for Dr. Kenneth A. J. Mackenzie, co-founder of Oregon Health & Science University, the home is Portland’s most stunning example of the Richardsonian Romanesque style, with its trademark medieval-inspired stone arches, cone-topped turret, and wrought-iron details. Despite numerous turns of ownership (including stints as a speakeasy and a flophouse), the home’s interiors still stand among the city’s greatest, graced with oak paneling, cherry bookcases, tile mosaics, tin-embossed coffered ceilings, and a gaslight designed with a bat and serpent—the Scottish symbol for the triumph of medicine over witchcraft. The Episcopalian social service organization William Temple House purchased the home in 1971 and beautifully restored it in the 1990s. (For open house information, call 503-226-3021.)