Wishard House – 406 West Jefferson Street, Bloomfield
The Henry Wishard house at 406 West Jefferson is the only private residence in Bloomfield listed on the National Historic Register.
The late Victorian-Queen Anne style home was begun in 1908 by Wilbur CarrolI, a builder for Henry Wishard. The architect is unknown. The façade shows many examples of textures, colors, and designs of brickwork constructed with masterful craftsmanship. It has a limestone foundation, sandstone ledges, and copper flashing.
The lumber for the home was all cut from the Wishard family farm north of Bloomfield with the exception of one 27-inch diameter hedge tree which came from Van Buren County. The iron infused bricks were fired especially for Mr. Wishard in Kansas City. The tile was molded from native clay and fired in Bloomfield. The house features 2400 panes of beveled, leaded glass windows and at least nine different kinds of wood in the interior. Rooms are finished with a variety of white oak, red oak, walnut, cherry, maple, birch, osage (hedge) and honey locust. There is also pine and what is thought to be ash in some of the closet woodwork. It took over two years to complete the building of this home.
In 1908 when construction began, the home was located on the main thoroughfare less than one block from the original town boundary. There was a barn, a chicken house and another small building. These were torn down and a complimentary garage was built. Sometime near 1933 Mr. Wishard built the first swimming pool in Bloomfield. The pool remains on the property, although it is not in use. The entire home and grounds have remained virtually unchanged since completed.
In addition to the significance of the architecture of this property, Mr. Wishard was a noteworthy person of significance. He was a pioneer in many businesses in Bloomfield including groceries, Queensware (a cream colored pottery), poultry buying, dry goods, lumber and coal, real estate, theaters, buggies, wagons, automobiles, shoes, theaters, restaurants, hotels and service stations. Many of these businesses were in buildings he built, having built over 100 in his lifetime.
He is reputedly known as the father of the gasoline tax because Mr. Wishard saw the need and proposed a two-cent per gallon gasoline tax to finance paving roads in the country. Oregon was the first state in the Union to adopt such a tax and the tax was made effective in honor of Wishard’s 60th birthday on Feb. 25, 1919.
Mr. Wishard owned the home until his death in 1949 at the age of 90. The house was purchased by Dr. and Mrs. Charles Fenton in 1950 when it was remodeled and updated. New wiring and plumbing were installed and the rooms were redecorated. In 1988 it was purchased by Stephen and Patricia Cutler. Richard and Nancy Squire acquired the home in 1993 and have continually worked on restoration.