Text information below is from 1975 documents of the
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR – NATIONAL PARK SERVICE
NATIONAL REGISTER OF HISTORIC PLACES INVENTORY — NOMINATION FORM
James Kinney built the Gallaher House as a gift in 1914
for his daughter and son-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. Clyde Gallaher.
Kinney was born about 1860 in Milton-Freewater, Oregon.
He came north to Douglas County with his wife and family late in the 1880’s.
Near Lake Chelan, at the head of McNeal Canyon, he set up and operated a sawmill.
Kinney also did carpentry work and contracting in the surrounding area.
After he completed the elaborate eight-sided house, northwest of Mansfield in 1914,
he constructed a smaller version of the same structure for himself in Waterville.
That building has since been altered considerably.
Kinney soon retired and moved to Walla Walla where he died some years later.
D. C. Gallaher was a wheat and cattle rancher and a native of Tennessee.
Gallaher settled in the Mansfield area in 1902.
There is very little additional information available relative to the history of James Kinney and the design of this octagonal plan residence.
Huston Gallaher, Kinney’s grandson and present owner of the house and farm, cannot recall any discussion of a source for the architectural plans.
Huston’s assumption has been that his grandfather conceived of the configuration and details himself without the benefit of published specifications.
However, it is a fairly sophisticated design — artfully proportioned, spatially complex and functional in plan.
It is also interesting to observe that its architectural style includes finials, cresting cornice brackets and other details more typical of buildings constructed at least 20 years earlier.
It is perhaps an amusing coincidence that Orson Squire Fowler, author of A Home For All; or The Gavel Wall and the Octagon Mode of Building, (1st edition click here ) also published books in the 1850’s on improving health and marital happiness. Here’s one of those books on “marital happiness”.
Kinney’s octagonal house was a gift to his daughter and her husband.
Gallaher House is significant as one of the few examples of eight-sided domestic architecture in the Northwest.
It is the distinctive work of a master craftsman in an unusually remote location.
Photo Left: Pictured in it’s original location on Dyer Hill at the Gallaher Ranch; circa 1973.
Gallaher House is a complex three story octagonal plan residence built about 1914.
It is of frame construction on a field-stone foundation.
The house is in a remote location ten miles from the nearest crossroads town on a plateau in vast Douglas County ranch country, 2,300 feet above sea level and about ten miles from the Columbia River.
The shingle roof is a steeply sloping eight-sided pyramid with a large gable dormer on each facet.
Above every dormer is a second, smaller dormer farther up the main roof. The large dormers have single double hung windows in the gable ends, and the small dormers have fixed elliptical windows — each with four axial “keystones” in the en-frament.
All sixteen dormers have returned cornices, cresting on the ridges and finials at the apex of the rake in front.
There is a corresponding finial at the apex of the main roof.
Two small chimneys with corbelled caps are on opposite sides of the roof toward the back.
The front porch is a sheltered deck under the perimeter of the main roof.
A series of six fluted Doric columns support the bracketed frieze above the porch.
The wall surface at the entrance is a short section that includes the doorway set back between two identical bay windows facing forward.
These incorporate the angled walls of the octagonal plan so that their outside facets coincide with the established perimeter.
There is a large oval window with bevelled glass in the front door and the bay windows have one double hung window in each section with colored glass panes on the upper light.
These are in one of two geometric muntin patterns positioned in an a-b-a, a-b-a relationship.
The other windows around the first floor are also double hung.
They are placed one to a wall section; either centered or offset depending on interior requirements.
There is a one story porch with an attached hip roof built onto the back of the house — probably an addition.
On the interior, the house is roughly divided into quadrants arranged around a central spiral staircase.
The parlor is to the right of the front entrance and stairs, and the dining room is on the left.
Through a doorway behind the dining room is the kitchen.
The remaining quadrant is occupied by the master bedroom and the washroom, accessible from the kitchen.
Indoor plumbing was not provided when the house was built, although it was installed many years later.
The upper story consists of eight, 8 x 10 foot bedrooms, one in each dormer.
The doors to these rooms open onto a circular landing at the head of the spiral staircase.
Every alternate bedroom door has glazed upper panels admitting natural light to hallway.
A steep set of stairs leads from one of these rooms to the attic, a complex and intriguing space with eight dormers and eight oval windows.
There are no fireplaces in the house; heat was provided by wood burning stoves.
There is little decorative carpentry as such on the interior.
The mill-work doors and the spiral staircase, including a supporting Doric column, are all stained dark brown. They have never been painted.
The house was listed on the National Register OF HISTORIC PLACES on August 1, 1975, and then again in 1994 after the move.
The house has eight sides, is three stories, and has twelve rooms. The ceilings are nine feet. There is a circular staircase to the 2nd floor.
Eight small bedrooms are upstairs and two bedrooms are on the first floor. The house is 2125 square feet in all.
Due to the shape of the house, all the rooms are odd shaped, especially the bedrooms upstairs.
There are some stained glass windows, with sections of yellow, green, and red.
The home originally had no indoor plumbing and no electricity.
The boards used to build the house arrived on the train in Mansfield and were hauled out to the scene by horse and wagon.
Clyde Gallaher died in 1936.
Ruth Gallaher lived in the home with one of her sons, Huston, until he married in 1942 and then she moved to Mansfield.
Huston and his wife Lois lived in the house until they built a new and more modern home in 1948.
The 8-sided home was then used as housing for employees and temporary workers.
The house was sold to RB “Bun” Allen in 1993 and moved to Bridgeport in 1994.
In 1994, the Gallaher House was moved from its original location to a new site 10 miles away in the community of Bridgeport.
Prior to the move, the house stood in an advanced state of deterioration and was prone to demolition.
In an effort to reuse and preserve the property, the current owners acquired a lot in Bridgeport for its relocation.
Although the property’s original rural setting has been somewhat compromised by its removal to a small community, the building’s architectural stature is exceptional in the state context.
The home’s rare architectural merit as a late Victorian, octagonal residence is not, therefore, dependent upon integrity of original location.
The new context of the home is appropriate in terms of its isolation at the edge of town and its temporal association with an adjacent neighborhood of mostly historic homes.
Status of new site prior to the move. No archeological deposits were known to exist.
The lot contained the remains of a historic house which had burned.
These remains were cleared and the sloping grade leveled.
Terracing was used to offset the relatively steep slope of the lot and a new concrete foundation prepared.
The original relationship between the grade and sill line has been recreated.
METHOD OF MOVING
The Gallaher House was jacked up and placed on dollies for hauling.
Although the new site is ten miles from the original, a twenty-mile route was the only access available.
To accommodate a 500,000 volt power line, an eight foot portion of the top of the house was temporarily removed.
Crumbling chimneys, which have not been replaced, were also removed.
All original materials were reused to replace the top portion after the move.
The original roof, long since deteriorate, was replaced with new roof decking and wood shingles of appropriate dimension and application.
Rehabilitation was work was extensive, however, all new materials were reused when possible.
Structural stabilization of the walls and foundation, re-roofing, painting and window glass replacement were undertaken.
HUGE THANK YOU TO BUN ALLEN for preserving a special piece of Dyer Hill History!!!
Interior pictures below are from Northwest Multiple Listing Service Real Estate Photos.