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The James Franklin & Mary Stella Adams House

214 South Molalla Avenue
By Gail J. McCormick

The James Franklin & Mary Adams House is located at 214 South Molalla Avenue in Molalla, Oregon.  The architectural style is 20th Century Classic Box form.  It has the typical truncated pyramidal roof form and full length front porch.  However, this front porch was later added.  The original front porch was smaller and two stories which included a balcony.  The house is well preserved for its age and is privately owned.

James Franklin Adams  was known as “Frank” throughout his life in Molalla.  Frank and Mary Adams purchased the land for this home in 1898.  It may have been built as a house that he intended to resell.  Frank was an excellent carpenter, having learned the trade from his father who was a master carpenter.  Frank described himself as a "house carpenter".  Frank’s granddaughter, Pat Lantz of Molalla, related to me that Frank did not live in one house for very long.  Next door to this house, toward’s town, are two houses where Mary’s sisters, Ellen Kayler and Florence Kayler, lived.  These two houses may also have been built by Frank Adams.  Frank was also a farmer.  When his father, William D. Adams, decided to open a store for a wagon, furniture and casket making business in 1889, Frank took over the farm for him.  At another time, he had a farm on Sawtell Road.

Frank was the son of Oregon Trail pioneers, William D. Adams and his wife, Lucina.  William and Lucina traveled the Oregon Trail  in 1865. They settled in Molalla and lived the rest of their lives here, as did most of Frank's siblings.   Frank was born on the old Adams homestead, about a mile south of Molalla, on June 21, 1868.   Frank's siblings were: Mary E., born 1858, who married Thomas Hammond, a farmer; George V., born 1862, a carpenter and farmer, who married Kate Robbins; Albert A., born 1863, who died young; Lucy E., born 1865, who married Whitcomb F. Briggs, a logger and farmer; Etta E, born 1873, who married Joseph Harless, a farmer and gold miner and Effie B., born in 1877, who married Dee Engle, a farmer.

Frank and Mary were married on June 15, 1889, at her parent’s home.  Mary’s parents were Oregon Trail pioneers, Henry F. and Catherine Herman Kayler. They traversed the Oregon Trail in 1852 and 1866, respectively.  Mary was born June 1, 1870, on her parent's Donation Land Claim two miles south of Molalla, on Herman Road.

Frank and Mary’s children were: Gertrude, born in 1890, who married Harvey Everhart, the undertaker; Zella Grace, born in 1892, who married Clyde Engle, a salesman; Lee Mason, a carpenter, born in 1896, who married Nell Bland, a school teacher; Merle Maude, born in 1900, who married Fritz "Fred"  Sandgren, a restauranteur and hotel operator; Lois Katherine, born in 1902, who married Gilbert Meyers, a farmer, and Frances P., born in 1908, who married Orville Klinger, a steel foundry worker.

Frank and Mary’s daughter, Merle and her husband, Fred Sandgren had the Hungate Hotel in Molalla, where they rented out rooms.  It was torn down when the current Chevron Station was built. Their son, Lee, also took up the trade of carpentry.  Lee is credited with building the Dickey Prairie School.  It is one of the exceptional Clackamas County Landmarks in our area.  The architect was C. N. Freeman of Portland, Oregon.  Lee also built Maple Grove School, off Sawtell Road, and Hebo School, on the coast.  The whole family camped out at the coast while Lee built Hebo School.

Mary Adams died in 1933.  Frank Adams died at the Silverton Hospital in 1950.

Photo Gallery


"James Franklin Adams House", Molalla Self Guided Walking Tour, Judy Sanders Chapman & Lois E. Helvey Ray, 2009
"James Franklin Adams", U. S. Census 1910, 1920, 1930, 1940,, 2017
"James Franklin & Mary Adams House", #801, Clackamas County Cultural Resource Survey Form, 1984
"Mary Kayler Adams", Obituary, Molalla Pioneer, May 4, 1933

© Gail J. McCormick, 2018

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