BEDSIDE MANOR HISTORY
At the end of World War II, lumber, plumbing materials, and every other kind of building material were impossible to buy as the country recovered from the wartime economy. Not to be deterred, Joe bought a sawmill, had many of the trees on the property felled, and hired a man to run the mill and produce the lumber for the house. The huge fir supporting beams, the floor joists (some with bark still on them), the 2-by-fours, and the maple flooring were some of the products of the mill.
Click below for video of the mill and construction of the house.
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Although Joe continued his orthopedic practice in
According the Lelia, “there were 19 buildings on the place that he [Joe] tore down, rebuilding some.” The ones that remained included a barn, a chicken house, a milkhouse, and a shed. The barn burned down and was replaced in 1960 with a new one that is now located in the northeast corner of the property.
Old Barn New Barn
You can see the chicken house in the background of the picture below:
After they were settled into the new house, the old farmhouse was moved across the street, just to the west of the current location of the Happy Church. A family by the name of Tyler lived in that house until the 1970's. Here's another video clip, showing that house being moved. In the clip, the house is in the middle of what is now NE 132nd St.
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The property had the remnants of an old orchard, including 3 cherry trees, 7 apple, 2 pear, 2 hazelnut, and 4 plum as well as grape vines.
A few acres had been a commercial raspberry farm, so for some years they sold raspberries, hiring pickers and selling to fruit packers while also running a u-pick enterprise. Lelia notes, “ many people from the
Joe had worked on farms during his
All this bounty came in handy during the Korean War when Lelia noted they “were issued food stamps for butter and meat and sugar. We had few problems as we had beef cattle, pigs, chicken, and milk. We exchanged those stamps with friends for sugar so we could make our canned fruits and jams. The girls [daughters-in-law] and I learned to make butter in [the] electric mixer. Dad found a used pressure cooker when none were being made, and [we] canned peas and corn and so lived pretty well with the garden.”
After John Steyart moved on, they “had several no-good hired men. Finally one left without notice, the cows hadn’t been milked, so Dad called the butcher, and that was the end of that.”
Though the livestock disappeared, Joe and Lelia continued to garden until Joe lost his sight at the age of 94. They canned fruit and made cider and jam for many years.
“The Farm” was a gathering place for the entire extended family from its earliest days. Pappy made sturdy picnic tables and benches from nail kegs and boards which were placed in the shade of the fruit trees. "Inlaws and outlaws”, berry growers, beekeepers, and medical colleagues from
1975 "Inlaws and Outlaws" Picnic
The two sons, Joe and Bill, had moved their families to southern California in the 1950’s to find work, but spent every summer vacation at “The Farm” where the 8 grandchildren roamed the rural landscape, rode horses, picked berries, mucked about in the small lake, slept out in the milkhouse and the barn, and built a treasure-house of happy childhood memories.
Croquet on the front lawn - July 1958
In 1984, at the age of 94, Grandmother got up from dinner, went into the living room, sat down, and quietly passed from this life. Pappy continued to live in the home he had built until a few days short of his 100th birthday in October 1986.
Joe and Lelia’s grandson, Barry, and his wife, Christina, purchased the property from the estate in 1986 and spent several months upgrading the interior and finishing the basement. It has been their pleasure to preserve Bedside Manor for the whole family and to share its hospitality with the wider community.
Pictures from the 1991 family picnic are shown below.
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