For years, Astorians and tourists alike have been dismayed about the deterioration of the house that once belonged to Capt. George Conrad Flavel on the corner 15th Street and Franklin Avenue. Both are pictured, inset. Built in 1901 at a reputed cost of $4,000 (about $114,000 now) by Erick Gustafson, it is about 4,500 square feet (without the attic).
Abandoned in the 1990s by the last Flavels to live there, Florence and her adult children, Harry and Mary Louise, the house had been left to moulder ever since. This year it was finally rescued from the family’s clutches, and is undergoing a complete restoration, thanks to new owner Greg Newenhof, co-owner of City Lumber Company, who bought the property in May.
Anyone driving by the house recently can see there are already workmen bustling around most days, and already changes and improvements are visible to the exterior, most notably a new roof and chimney repairs. One can almost hear the house (and everyone else) sighing with relief.
One thorny problem was the garage — it had been completely overgrown, then rotted and collapsed. Greg wanted to restore it, but wasn’t sure what it looked like. Astoria’s architectural historian John Goodenberger came to the rescue, finding some old photos he took of the garage in the mid to late 1990s. Now Greg hopes to rebuild it next year.
If you’re interested in following the progress of the restoration, you’re in luck. There is now a blog about the work on the house at http://citylumber.com/blog, along with loads of photos, including the ones shown.
Everyone is achingly curious about what’s going on inside the place, but the blog notes that tours are not yet available because of “construction and insurance issues.” Just be patient, and don’t fret — Greg plans to work with the Clatsop County Historical Society to offer tours as a fundraiser for the historical society, but there’s no specific date set just yet.
Watch the blog for news, so you can be first in line — a line the Ear bets will go all the way to the other Flavel House.
— Elleda Wilson