Cooley donates historic home to Lewis & Clark
February 11, 2002
Sue D. Cooley, widow of Edward H. Cooley, the founder and longtime head of Precision Castparts Corporation, has donated the Cooley family home to Lewis & Clark College for use as a presidential residence. Her gift includes funds sufficient to operate and maintain the home and its gardens.
“I am impressed with the College’s extraordinary stewardship of the Frank estate and, more recently, of the Corbett property,” Cooley commented. “It gives me great confidence that my home will be maintained and managed with wisdom and care. And I am delighted that Lewis & Clark will at long last have a permanent home for its president.”
“This generous gift will be an important addition to the College’s life,” said Michael Mooney, president. “It gives its president a home near the College and provides a stunning venue for entertaining the College’s various constituencies and hosting scholarly and artistic activities suited to the Cooley estate.”
Ellis F. Lawrence, founding dean of the School of Architecture and Allied Arts at the University of Oregon, designed the house in 1920 for Cameron Squires. Architectural historian Michael Shellenbarger describes the Squires home in Harmony in Diversity: The Architecture and Teaching of Ellis F. Lawrence as “quintessential English Tudor, with its many prominent fluted chimneys, intricate brick patterning, extensive half-timbering, Tudor arches, and rambling floor plan.
The Olmstead Brothers designed the landscaping for the eight-acre property. It is the largest estate in the Dunthorpe area and includes gracious common rooms, seven bedrooms, and a carefully tended garden.
The Cooleys purchased the home in 1971 from James and Sally Platt, who were planning to tear the house down and subdivide the property. As a condition of the gift, the College has agreed not to divide the property and to maintain the home and grounds in first-class condition.
In honor of the Cooley Family, Lewis & Clark name the residence “Cooley House.”
About the architect
During his lifetime, Ellis Fuller Lawrence designed more than 500 buildings, including 200 houses. A graduate of the Massachusetts institute of technology, he worked briefly in New England and then spent a year traveling in England, France, and Italy before arriving in Portland in March 1906. He had planned to open an architectural office in San Francisco, but when the San Francisco earthquake struck the next month, he decided to stay in Portland.
“No matter what the exterior, Lawrence’s designs were always comfortable and functional on the interior,” writes architectural historian Michael Shellenbarger.
Known as the “father of city planning in Oregon,” Lawrence spoke out against “unbridled real estate development” and for a “healthier and more attractive city.”
Lawrence joined the University of Oregon in 1914 as a campus planner and as founder and head of the School of Architecture and Allied Arts. In 1915, the university also named him exclusive campus architect as compensation for an inadequate teaching salary. He served in all of those roles until his death in 1946.