By Joseph Ditzler

The Bulletin

A house on NW Riverside Boulevard in Bend, one of the first on that street, is for sale for only the second time in its 96-year history.

The house, built in Dutch Colonial Revival style by builder Ed Brosterhous around 1921, was home to the Peoples family until February 1995, when Donna and Bill Pfeiffer purchased it. They completely renovated the original home in 2001 and built an addition in the same style that doubled the building’s footprint.

Homes like the one at 708 NW Riverside Blvd. come up for sale infrequently, said Laura Blossey, a broker representing the Pfeiffers. Blossey and her colleague Natalie Vandenborn, of Cascade Sotheby’s International Realty, said finding comparable sales upon which to base a listing price proved difficult.

The Pfeiffers are asking $1.9 million for the property.

“(The appraiser) used a couple of homes from 2009 and 2010 and then just adjusted them from the way markets have gone since then,” Vandenborn said Tuesday.

Home prices nationwide have escalated by as much as 40 percent annually during the recovery years following the Great Recession to about 10 percent more recently, Blossey said.

“I just went to an economic forecast meeting yesterday, they were talking nationwide trends,” she said, “but I think they also apply to Bend, where the inventory is so low and our buyer pool is increasing by people moving to town.”

The Pfeiffers tried to sell the house on their own for 2½ years before deciding to list it through a broker, Vandenborn said. The house is one of only four Blossey and Vandenborn could recall being offered for sale or sold recently in that neighborhood, which lies within the Drake Park Neighborhood Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places. Vandenborn recalled making a cash offer of $1.2 million on a nearby home, and being trumped by a higher offer.

Although a for-sale sign is posted on the lawn at 708 NW Riverside, it wasn’t actively marketed until Friday, Blossey and Vandenborn said. They have already fielded calls from a handful of prospective, out-of-state buyers, they said.

“A lot of people value owning a part of history and having a unique home,” Blossey said. “It’s not just another new home in a development.”

The house at 708 NW Riverside provided a setting for a slice of Bend history, as well as a home for three families.

Samuel Peoples, 29, the son of missionaries in Thailand and a veteran of World War I, where he served with the field artillery in France, arrived in Bend in 1919 from Minnesota in the midst of a snowstorm. He went immediately to work for the Shevlin-Hixon Lumber Mill, said his son Philip Peoples, 92, of Bend.

“His first job was timber cruiser; he was out in the woods trying to judge the amount of board feet,” Philip Peoples said.

His father rose to become Shevlin-Hixon paymaster, in charge of a company payroll of $1.4 million in 1922, according to the Bend Bulletin, and then to general manager of the Shevlin-Hixon box factory, which stood near where the Deschutes Brewery stands today at Colorado and Simpson avenues.

Samuel Peoples built the house on Riverside for about $10,000, his son said on Thursday. Photographs of the home under construction indicate it was the first home built on NW Riverside Boulevard, but the claim is difficult to verify.

Samuel Peoples probably purchased the lumber from the mill, where he likely obtained plans for the house itself, said Vanessa Ivey, museum manager at the Des Chutes Historical Museum in Bend. Dutch Colonial Revival homes were popular during the period and the company produced the lumber to build them. Shevlin-Hixon made those plans available to its managers, many of whom lived in the neighborhood called the Park Addition that is part of the historic district, Ivey said.

Samuel Peoples married his first wife, Mabel Lorence, 30 at the time and a Bend High School teacher, in 1921. The Peoples had three sons — Samuel Jr., Philip and Leonard — before Mabel Peoples died in January 1937 of pneumonia after a long illness, according to her obituary in the Bend Bulletin.

“When they married, she had to drop out of school, because you couldn’t be a married woman and teach at the school,” Philip Peoples said.

His memories of growing up on NW Riverside Boulevard include his father purchasing a small shack from the mill and erecting it behind the house. In it, Samuel Peoples built a sailboat — he had learned to sail in Minnesota and was an avid boater and skate sailor — and later his son Samuel Jr. took over the shack and used it as a place to tinker with radios and other electronics. When Samuel Jr. went off to Cal Tech, the shack became Philip’s workshop for model aircraft.

“At the time there was a tennis court across the street from us,” he said. “We played tennis, and dad had model boats he’d take down and sail on the river.”

The two older boys eventually enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps and became pilots based in Italy, Samuel Jr. flying the P-51 Mustang and Philip the P-47 Thunderbolt. Leonard Peoples enlisted in 1946.

Meanwhile, their father remarried. Samuel was best man at the 1942 wedding of his father and the former Susan Margaret Kane, better known as Margaret, Philip Peoples said. The elder Samuel Peoples died in August 1974; his widow lived at 708 NW Riverside with her stepson Leonard Peoples until her death in 1994. She, too, taught school in Bend before retiring in 1974. The couple had three children, Susan, Ann and John.

“Sam and I crawled off to the service in ’42 and dad married Margaret,” Philip Peoples said. “When we came home in ’45, we had several little children in the house; it was quite a change, but they turned out to be great half-brother and sisters. I remember that pretty well.”

The Pfeiffers, formerly of Rancho Palos Verdes, California, bought the house out of a probate action after Margaret Peoples died. Donna Pfeiffer, a psychologist, and Bill Pfeiffer, a lawyer and general counsel for the California Association of Realtors, were frequent visitors to Bend with a vacation home on NW Louisiana Avenue. Donna Pfeiffer said her regular walks often took her past the Dutch Colonial on Riverside. She told her husband she wanted the house someday, Bill Pfeiffer said Wednesday.

“She knocked on the door one day and met Margaret Peoples, who lived there with one of her sons, and got a tour,” he said.

Margaret Peoples died a year later, and shortly afterward Bill Pfeiffer saw a for-sale sign on the lawn. Donna Pfeiffer on Wednesday said that on the way to meet the family she told her husband: “You better do the offering because I’ll give them anything they ask.”

They offered the appraised value, and the home was theirs. They found it in very bad shape, Donna Pfeiffer said. In 2001 they remodeled the interior of the house, down to the plumbing and wiring, removed a wall in the original building to create a master bedroom and built an addition.

“We spent eight months sleeping on mattresses, moving from room to room,” Donna Pfeiffer said.

The addition included a connecting formal dining room, an oversized two-car garage, two upstairs bedrooms, full bath and kitchen nook. Altogether the home has 3,651 square feet of living space, an 800-square-foot unfinished basement and a 701-square-foot garage. Outside, the gazebo still stands and longstanding raspberry bushes grow.

The Pfeiffers created their own memories at 708 NW Riverside, including big parties on the lawn for neighborhood families invited to watch the annual Christmas parade, with refreshments afterward.

“We’d have up to 100 people on our front lawn,” Bill Pfeiffer said.

Unlike modern, open floor plans, the original interior of 708 NW Riverside is filled with myriad nooks, closets and rooms off of rooms.

Just inside the front door is a telephone closet, now used for storage, where calls could be taken in privacy. As part of the historic district, the home is subject to city regulations meant to preserve its exterior appearance. The addition, built prior to the historic designation based on plans for the original structure, mirrors the original home, Bill Pfeiffer said.

The Pfeiffers raised four children of their own. The addition provided room for their visiting grandchildren, whose visits grew less frequent as the grandparents, now in their 70s, advanced in years.

“It’s overwhelming to take care of,” Donna Pfeiffer said. “The house is so large, and the kids aren’t visiting anymore.”

— Reporter: 541-617-7815, jditzler@bendbulletin.com

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