THOMSON HOUSE (1889)
Originally at 808 Janesville Street
One of Oregon’s earliest settlers, Robert Thomson settled in section 12 of Oregon township in 1841. He purchased 46 acres from the government and built a log cabin on the bank of what is now Thomson’s Creek, near Janesville and S. Perry Parkway. He died in 1882, leaving 42 acres to his daughters, who in turn sold it to Robert’s nephew, George Thomson (a carpenter) and his wife Ella.
George built the larger home in 1889 at that same location, next to the current site of WISCO Industries. The house was built during a time when “gingerbread” was popular and George Thomson added scrollwork and Victorian decorative features. There is a stained glass window lighting the stairway to the second floor. A small balcony opens from the stairway, over the front entrance. That is where they would shake rugs.
George and his wife Ella farmed the land and lived there until George died in 1927. Ella remained there until she died in 1938. The house and farm were left to their daughter, Janet Thomson, who was teaching in Michigan. She lived in the house only in the summers and she rented out the land. Janet Thomson married Charles Friday in 1947. By 1948, an attached garage, and an upstairs bathroom were added. A fireplace was built in the 1950’s. When Janet died in 1958, the home was left to her husband, Charles Friday, and her niece, Ellen Peterson Robinson, and Ellen’s son, Keith Robinson. Charles Friday died in 1973 and Ellen moved into the home in April of 1974, after several improvements had been made. Ellen Peterson Robinson, GeorgeThomson’s granddaughter, was the last family descendent to live in the house, until her death in 1992.
Her son, Keith Robinson sold the house in 1993 to WISCO Industries, Inc., which is located next door. WISCO needed the land for future expansion, and wanted a buyer to move the historic home, saving demolition costs, and saving this historic Oregon home.
Jim and Sandy Ness purchased the house and arranged to have it moved in 1995 to a 7.5 acre lot overlooking the Town of Oregon, south of Autumn Woods on Highway MM. Phil Harms, of Advantage Builders in Oregon, served as the general contractor for restoring the unique home.
Jim’s dad, Peter, and friends, Thor Gotrick and Marlene Winters, helped with tearing down and putting it all back together. It was 16 months before they could move in, and around 6 years before every room was completed. The extensively landscaped lot makes the house look like it has always been at the top of the hill where it is situated.