Laurelhurst, Oregon Custom Home Builder

by Delahunt Custom Homes

Laurelhurst is a neighborhood of vintage homes and undulating streets surrounding a park of the same name, straddling the NE and SE sections of Portland. The neighborhood borders Sunnyside to the south, Kerns to the west, North Tabor to the east, and Hollywood to the north.

Laurelhurst is an area of 428 acres containing 1,819 households with a total of 4,633 people (2010 census). It’s a neighborhood of homeowners as 90.8% of the Laurelhurst residents live in their own home and in 11-12 minutes you can be downtown traveling west on East Burnside Boulevard.

You know that Laurelhurst residents care about their community when see the committees for the Neighborhood Association: Land Use, Transportation, Traffic, Trees, Safety, Garage Sale, Friends of the Laurelhurst Park, Bike, Clean-up, Environment, and Community Safety.

If you looking to nurture your young ones and instill in them caring values, find a home in Laurelhurst. Members of the neighborhood’s Laurelhurst Kids Club not only have the names, phone numbers and addresses of other parents with children the same age in the area, but also have access to weekly playgroups, vetted babysitters, critiques of nearby preschools and e-mail alerts with key information, such as a stroller recall or free swim lessons. All parents have to do is log on to the Kids Club at the Laurelhurst neighborhood association website.

History of Laurelhurst, Oregon Custom Home Builder

In 1850 congress passed the Donation Land Act, which encouraged individuals to head out west and claim large tracts of land. Those arriving on December 1st, through to the time when the Act expired (December 1, 1855), were eligible for 320 acres if married, and 160 acres for unmarried males. Note that women could not claim land on their own, but if they claimed land as part of a married couple, their name was put on the deed, marking one of the first times in the history of the US when women could directly own property. To gain the deed to the land, a settler would have to live on, and maintain, the land for four years.

The area that would become Laurelhurst is comprised of two claims under the Donation Land Act. The first claim (claim #1008) was made by Elijah B. Davidson and his wife Saloma. The second claim (claim #1027) was settled by Terence and Mary Quinn.

In 1869, William S. Ladd began buying up the land that would eventually become Laurelhurst. It wasn’t his plan to turn the land into a place for a rich community to be formed…at least not a community of people. One portion of the land (320 acres) came from the purchase of Thomas Frazer’s Hazelwood Farm in 1869. After the 1869 purchase, other purchases were subsequently made in 1873 and 1876. Ladd named his land “Hazelfern,” the name of one of the streets in the area. Here Ladd developed one of the most prestigious stock farms in the West. His purebred Jersey cattle probably laid the foundation for Oregon’s future livestock industry.

Ladd died in 1893, likely marking the transition of the property from farming to residential use; though, like his son, William S. Ladd would have likely found both pressure from the surrounding neighborhoods (for such things as roads through the property) and skyrocketing land prices.

The General Neighborhood History of Laurelhurst starting in the 1850s

Origin of the Name Laurelhurst

The Laurelhurst Company purchased most of the property in 1909 except for 31 acres that was sold to the City of Portland for the Laurelhurst park. The company christened the new subdivision “Laurelhurst,” using the same name they had already employed for a successful “Laurelhurst” residential area they developed in Seattle. “Hurst” is an old Anglo-Saxon word meaning “a wood, grove, or copse,” and “laurel” was chosen because of the shrubs growing in the Seattle development.

Laurelhurst Theater near Laurelhurst, Oregon Custom Home Builder

The Laurelhurst Theater became part of Portland’s cultural and architectural history when it was built in 1923, one of the first art deco style buildings of the period.

Like every theater in the country, what was once a successful family theater lost out to the multiplexes of the late eighties. In 2001, months of renovation brought the theater back to stand again as a proud icon to Portland’s history and future. The theater’s four screens bring the best of modern cinema, independent art and classic film to Portland’s movie lovers at remarkably reasonable prices. Starred attractions are only $3 while general films are $2. It’s independently owned and operated without commercials and previews are limited to five minutes.

Laurelhurst Home Styles

The neighborhood has over 1,500 homes and most are vintage homes including Bungalow, English, and Tudors.

Websites to Learn More About Laurelhurst

  • Laurelhurst and Its Park A sales brochure for the Laurelhurst neighborhood published in1916.
  • William S. Ladd All of Laurelhurst was once the property of this pioneer of Portland.
  • NE Flanders Street This is an example of a street-level page. It contains history about the street, as well as a listing of the houses on the street.
  • Laurelhurst ParkThis park is probably the most well-known feature in Laurelhurst.
  • 3360 SE Ankeny Street  One of the over 1500 houses in Laurelhurst.
  • Sidewalk Stamps  Street names are stamped at most corners in Laurelhurst; though the name isn’t always what
  • Documents A list of documents, primarily Oregonian articles, pertaining to Laurelhurst.
  • 1911 Laurelhurst events that happened in 1911.

Portland Monthly Magazine Guide to Neighborhoods

In their April issue every year, the Portland Monthly magazine features the past year home prices along with other information about Portland neighborhoods and suburban communities. To read the magazine’s latest stories and numbers visit the Real Estate section.

Details, Details, Details  Buried deep inside the website are four sections (real estate, people, crime, and lifestyle) on each of the Portland 90 plus neighborhoods as well as 25 suburban communities. There are over 50 items of information about each neighborhoods and community. One of the items you don’t want to miss is the “average cost per square foot” of homes that sold during the year. The range in prices is a real eye-opener.

Laurelhurst Demographics  Below are some facts about the Laurelhurst neighborhood gleaned from the magazine’s website. A few numbers can tell much about the character of a neighborhood. You can view more data about Laurelhurst by visiting the Portland Monthly’s website.

  • Average year homes built in the neighborhood:  1925
  • Residents in neighborhood with bachelor’s degree:  36%
  • Percent of residents below poverty level:  4%
  • Percent of neighborhood size with parks:  8%
  • Live within half mile of a park:  80%
  • Commute by bike or walking:  4%

Laurelhurst Home Prices:  2007-2014

  • Number of Homes Sold in Laurelhurst—►   100 homes were sold in 2014 and 2% were distressed sales. 93 homes were sold in 2013 and 4% were distressed sales. 89 homes sold in 2012 and 10% were distress sales. 70 homes sold in 2011 and 13% distressed sales. 63 homes sold in 2010 and 6% distressed properties sales.
  • Median Price for Homes Sold in Laurelhurst—►   $543,000 in 2014, $535,000 in 2013, $472,500 in 2012, $440,500 in 2011, $445,000 in 2010, $460,000 in 2009, $491,000 in 2008, and $514,000 in 2007.
  • 1-Year Median Sales Price Change in Laurelhurst—►   In 2014 the sales price change was 2%, in 2013 the sales price change was 13%, in 2012 the sales price change was 9%, in 2011 the sales price change was -1%, and in 2010 the change was -3%.
  • 5-Year Median Sales Price Change in Laurelhurst—►  2010 to 2014 the sales price change was 11%. 2009 to 2013 the sales price change was 9%. 2008 to 2012 the sales price change was -4%. 2007 to 2011 the sales price change was -14. 2006 to 2010 the change was -10%.
  • Portland Metro Area Median Home Price—►  $285,500 in 2014, $265,000 in 2013, $235,000 in 2012, $221,000 in 2011, $239,900 in 2010, $247,000 in 2009, $278,000 in 2008, and $290,000 in 2007.
  • Metro Area Average Home Price—►  $333,000 in 2014, $310,600 in 2013, $275,000 in 2012, $263,300 in 2011, $282,100 in 2010, $289,900 in 2009 $330,300 in 2008, and $342,000 in 2007.

Please be aware that the above figures are subject to error and are intended as guidelines only.

Laurelhurst Homes for Sale

Parks in the Neighborhood

Laurelhurst Park is a spring-fed pond on the property had always been a favorite watering-hole for cattle, as well as a favorite swimming hole for both children and adults. In 1911, seeing the potential for a park as part of the Olmsted’s plan, the City of Portland bought 30-31 of the acres, including the pond. Workers were hired to deepen the pond into a 3-acre lake. Also developed was a “play park” between Oak and Stark Streets. The boys were to play on the south side, the girls were to play on the north side, and general games were to be held in the eastern block.

In the park’s early years, it was patrolled by a white swan named General Pershing (for his militant attitude). He forbade anyone to approach the edge of the lakeshore. In later years a black-beaked, black-toed swan, named “Big Boy,” was lake marshal. A man known only as Mr. Martinson fed Big Boy every day for 15 years. Mr. Martinson taught Big Boy to nod his head and honk “Hello!”

In the Laurelhurst park’s early years, it was patrolled by a white swan named General Pershing (for his militant attitude). He forbade anyone to approach the edge of the lakeshore. The park includes soccer field, basketball and volleyball courts, two lighted tennis courts and practice board, horseshoe pit, wading pool, playground, picnic tables, electricity, restrooms, and paths. In February 2001, Laurelhurst Park was named to the National Register of Historic Places, the first city park ever listed on the national register.

Laurelhurst has 33 acres of park land and open spaces according to Metro and the Portland Department of Parks and Recreation.

Walking in Laurelhurst

This 3.5-mile walk loops through Laurelhurst. The walk passes wooded Laurelhurst Park en route to the Sunnyside neighborhood with its many Queen Anne homes and lively commercial scene on SE Belmont Street. Joan of Arc memorializes the fallen soldiers of World War 1 in Coe Circle at NE 39th and NE Glisan. In honor of the American Doughboy, soldiers closely allied with the French in World War I, Dr. Henry Waldo Coe donated the statue (Joan of Arc, Maid of Orleans 1412-1431). She sits atop her horse at the intersection of NE 39 Street and Glisan (now called Coe Circle) in the Laurelhurst neighborhood. The statue was created by Emmanuel Fremiet in 1924.You’ll see her on the walking tour. Click here to download the guide.

Walk Score helps you find a walkable place to live. Walk Score is a number between 0 and 100 that measures the walkability of any address. Portland is the 14th most walkable city in the U.S. with a Walk Score of 63, a Transit Score of 50 and a Bike Score of 72. There are over 3,000 restaurants and coffee shops in Portland. People in Portland can walk to an average of five restaurants and coffee shops in five minutes.

The Walk Score for the Laurelhurst neighborhood is 79, the Transit Score is 64, and the Bike Score is 96.

Todd Delahunt
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Todd Delahunt

Delahunt Homes is a residential, custom, luxury home builder serving the Portland Metropolitan area and other parts of the Pacific Northwest. We've been building custom dream homes featured in The Street of Dreams since 1992.
Todd Delahunt
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