History

oldphoto-webWaverly Cottage is located at 305 N. Grape Street and occupies Lot 1 of Block 58 from the Original Plat for the City of Medford in Jackson County, Oregon. The house is a notable example of complex design and embellishment of the Queen Anne / Eastlake style.

The original owner, Joseph Shone, was born in England in 1865; emigrating to New York in 1880. After living in Denver, Colorado and Socorro, New Mexico, he moved to Medford in 1895 with his wife and two children.

Shone hired architect W. J. Bennet to design the elaborate, multi-colored home. Historical photographs reveal the complexity of the design, which included a porch embellished with a multi-faceted, onion-domed bay. Roof cresting, finials, and an intricate fence composed of pierced and jig sawn pieces complimented the elevations which were decorated with characteristic Eastlake ornament.

The one-story rectangular home is topped by a steeply pitched hip roof from which gable ends appear on the north and south elevations, and extend into a gable projection on the east elevation. A lower, hipped kitchen wing and porch appears on the west elevation.

Horizontal and vertical wood panels sheath the balloon-frame structure. Corner boards, panels, sawn boards, dentil projections, and the Eastlake-style ornament are still intact on the exterior.

Originally, the textural effect was heightened by the use of color highlighting, ridge cresting, finials and the projecting onion dome extension (lost in the 1920s but rebuilt in the recent renovation).

The house includes a parlor, dining room, entry hall, two bedrooms, kitchen, pantry, utility room, bath and front and back porches. There are two front doors; one into the parlor and the other into the entry hall which leads past the front bedroom into the dining room and bypasses the parlor completely.

The foundation is made of brick, laid over a cemented river rock footing which still supports the perimeter of the house. The original water supply was a hand-dug well under the back porch.

The only other basic exterior change was an addition to the original bathroom by a contractor, William Cooney, in 1930.

Curiously, the Shone family attached the name “Waverly Cottage” to the front of the house. Research has failed to attribute the name to the Shones or to shed light on its meaning. Some have suggested the name may relate to the Waverly novels of Sir Walter Scott. However, an item in the Medford Mail newspaper from August 23, 1895, said Shone had also recently purchased a new high-quality Waverly bicycle.

The Shones sold the house in 1901 to William and Andromeda Charley and moved to South Bend, Washington. The house remained in the Charley family until 1978.

William Charley was born in 1832 in Hursttown, Indiana. He was married in 1852, first moving to Iowa and Nebraska before returning to Indiana, where Charley worked in various lumber mills. In 1861, he enlisted in the Union Army and was eventually promoted to regimental bugler.

Charley came to know such prominent officers as General Philip Sheridan, Major General George Meade, and General George A. Custer. While enlisted in the 3rd Regiment, he took an active part in numerous battles, including Gettysburg.

After his discharge in 1865, he headed west with his wife and children, first living in Iowa until 1876, and then moving to Jackson County, Oregon. By 1886, the family had purchased a homestead at Climax, Oregon, near the head of Antelope Creek, where they raised cattle.

When the Charleys retired, they moved to Medford and purchased the Waverly Cottage. William Charley died in 1920 at the age of 83. Andromeda Charley moved to Ashland after his death and lived until 1924. Their son, Lemon Charley and his wife Jennie Brown Charley purchased the house in the 1920s. Lemon Charley was a prominent dairy rancher who died of a heart attack in 1933. His wife, also the daughter of Oregon pioneers, remained in the house.

W. J. Bennet’s architectural practice in Medford was short-lived (1894-C. 1896) but note-worthy as the earliest of record in the city. Bennet’s output in the region was significant, in part because he was a strong believer in self-promotion. He designed the Wilkinson-Swem Building in downtown Medford, which is also listed on the historic register. He later moved to La Grande, Oregon and while on a business trip to Union, Oregon committed suicide on May 31, 1899. Various newspapers blamed a combination of alcohol and “business troubles” as the cause.

Significant restoration and maintenance on Waverly Cottage has been necessary over the years. Some work was done in the early 1960s by Martin Burke, a local builder, but it was Dave Fisse who did a large restoration in the late 1970s; getting the house placed on the National Historic Register. Fisse would do tours for local schools and other groups, dressed in Victorian outfits and playing the part of the original owners.

When Robert and Tiffany Pool purchased Waverly in the early 2000s, it was in bad shape and needed a total restoration from the foundation up – which had never been done. Using old photos as a guide, Robert rebuilt the original porch and the carriage house. He is also in the process of recreating all the fancy embellishments. The project took four years to complete, after which the Pools lived in the home for four years. Later, they used it as an antique store and now operate the cottage as a bed and breakfast.

In recognition of excellence for the historically sensitive restoration of Waverly Cottage, owners Robert and Tiffany Pool were given a City of Medford Historic Renovation Award in 2008 by the city’s Landmarks and Historic Preservation Commission. See article.