Building - Gentle House (GH)
REMODEL: The house has had few structural changes since it was first built in 1880. Thomas and Carrie Gentle did extensive interior remodeling and added an external apartment to rent to students. In the 1970s, Catharine and Maurice Gentle started an interior restoration project which was not finished. The remodel and renovations were finished after the university acquired the property in 1981. The parlor, living room, dining room, kitchen, and upstairs bedrooms have all been renovated. A conference room was also added to the house.
CONSTRUCTION COMPANY: The original construction was most likely completed by the land owners.
COSTS: Gentle House was donated to the university by Catharine Gentle in 1981.
ARCHITECTS AND BUILDING STYLE: The house was designed in the Victorian style of architecture.
CURRENT USES: Gentle House is maintained by Western Oregon University as a conference and special events center. Gentle House can be leased for non-university functions.
HISTORY: Gentle House was built in approximately 1880 on land originally settled by John B. and Emily Smith in 1866. At one time, the land was owned by members of the Butler family. Thomas and Carrie Gentle bought about 150 acres of the land in 1914.
OTHER INTERESTING FACTS: Catharine Gentle donated the house to Western in 1981 for use by the college and community for “genteel entertaining.” The gift totaled $125,000. The land and house were valued at $100,000, with an additional $25,000 to start the renovation project. At the time, it was the largest donation ever made to the college. Thomas Gentle was a professor at the college and responsible for the creation of the Campus Elementary School. The Gentle family has been associated with the college for over seven decades and at least 12 Gentles have graduated from the school. The second story bedrooms and study are maintained as a museum of the family’s antiques and are available for tours upon request. The ghost of Catherine Gentle is reported to wander the house changing the thermostats.
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