Pehr Johan Lindberg

Pehr Johan Lindberg was a Swedish immigrant who relocated to Port Orford in the mid-1880s, bringing with him a wealth of building experience from thirty years of practicing the trades of carpentry, plumbing, bridge-building and more in San Francisco. He was the only documented building contractor during the mid-1880s to mid-1910s, which has led to his distinction of erecting many of the early buildings in Port Orford. Although Lindberg had no formal architecture training (he apprenticed to become an architect in 1870), he was responsible for many buildings in the community.

ABOVE: Pehr Johan Lindberg as a young man.
TOP: P.J. Lindberg in his later years, with and without beard.

His extant buildings include the Masterson House at Jackson and 6th (also called the Painted Lady), the Charles Long House on Eighth and Jefferson, Leon White’s home on Fifth and Washington (in collaboration with Eugene White), the Nielsen/Bernal Forty House on Oregon Street, the McMullen House on 19th Street, the Patrick and Jane Hughes House built in 1898, the James Hughes House across the Sixes River from the Hughes House (also known as the Percy Sweet House) as well as the second lighthousekeeper dwelling built for James Hughes on the Cape Blanco Lighthouse grounds. Few people realize that Pehr built one of the early bridges over the Sixes River and helped to repair and rebuild an early storm-damaged dock in Port Orford. He also built the Lindberg Garage near his residence, The Masterson Store near the Masterson House, The Episcopal Christ Church on 5th and Washington, and the Mary Star of the Sea Chapel near the Hughes House. These buildings no longer stand.

Original typewritten history published in “The Centennial History of Oregon,” annotated.

Lindberg’s most famous home construction was the aforementioned Patrick Hughes House out at Cape Blanco north of Port Orford and now a part of the Oregon State Parks system. However, Pehr probably invested the most time into his personal residence known as The Lindberg House on 906 N. Washington Street. Construction took four years due to his presence being needed on other building sites in the area. It also was one of the most unique and ornate of his creations. Of particular note was the distinctive shinglework: “The artistry in his shingle work is outstanding, incorporating at least three different shapes into his patterns.” — (Restore Oregon)

The Building of The Lindberg House

His entire house is covered with unpainted shingles attached in various cut shapes, including both fish scale and diamond patterns. While the tower qualifies the house to be called Queen Anne, the projected decorative trusses in the gables suggest a secondary Stick Style designation. The polygonal tower is distinctive for its pronounced flair at the bottom, but this flair is not a “bell-cast curve” as it has sometimes been described. The tip of the tower always seems to have been flat, as old photographs indicate. While Queen Anne residences were typically painted in various contrasting colors, the Lindberg House has never been painted, allowing the shingles to age from their original golden raw wood color to a silver sheen fostered by exposure to sun and salt air. Though it has not been confirmed with microscopic analysis, it is believed that the Lindberg house is covered completely with Port Orford cedar.

 Leland M. Roth, Society of Architectural Historians
The Lindberg House, Under Construction in 1895.
The Lindberg House, Under Construction in 1896.
The distinctive styles of shingle work on The Lindberg House. Photos by Katie Powell (2016).

The Lindberg House Through The Years

The Lindberg House, Date Unknown. Retouched by Lance Nix.
P.J. Lindberg House, Port Orford, 1916. Retouched by Lance Nix.
The second house on the left was also built by Lindberg for his wife’s sister. This building no longer stands as it was later dismantled and the materials re-used elsewhere.
P.J. Lindberg House, Port Orford, 1941. Retouched by Lance Nix.
P.J. Lindberg House, Port Orford, 1973. Photograph by Lance Nix.
P.J. Lindberg House, Port Orford, 1980. Photograph by Lance Nix.
P.J. Lindberg House, Port Orford, 2011. Photograph by Lance Nix.
P.J. Lindberg House, Port Orford, 2013. Photograph by Lance Nix.

According to Leland Roth: “Many of his Port Orford houses have fallen victim to fire over the years, and this residence is one of his few designs to survive.” Sadly, on December 26 2021, The Lindberg House caught fire. The following drone footage by Greg Tidey shows the extent of the damage of this Oregon Treasure.

Other Buildings by P.J. Lindberg

THIS PAGE IS A WORK IN PROGRESS. We will be adding details about all of the homes and buildings (extant and otherwise when possible) that P.J. Lindberg built in Port Orford and the surrounding area. If you have any photos or details you would like to share, please send them to the Port Orford Historical Photos Project. Thank you!

Hughes House, built in 1898 . Elisabeth Walton Photo taken in 1971.
Carriage House on right no longer stands.
The James Hughes House built circa 1900-1909 . James was the son of Patrick and Jane Hughes and served as head lighthousekeeper for 39 years. Hughes commissioned P.J. Lindberg to build this house when the main lighthousekeeper dwelling at Cape Blanco became too small for his growing family after he married Laura McMullen (Cape Blanco Heritage Society Photo).
The Cape Blanco Lighthouse grounds showing the original lighthouse dwellings. The one in the center was built circa 1870 and at one time housed up to three working lighthousekeepers and their families. The lighthouse service finally commissioned P.J. Lindberg to build the one on the right in 1909 (Cape Blanco Heritage Society Photo).
Mary, Star of the Sea Chapel built circa 1892-3 was built by P.J. Lindberg for the Hughes family. This building no longer stands today (Cape Blanco Heritage Society Photo).
The Masterson House, built circa 1898. (a.k.a. Painted Lady and at one time the Seaside Hotel).
The Masterson Store built by P.J. Lindberg. This building was in front of the Masterson House on the corner of Jackson and 6th. It burnt down in 1905, scorching the Masterson House.
Charles Long House, commissioned by Mary Alice Nielsen in 1891.
The McMullen House built circa 1890. Date of photograph unknown.
ABOVE: Nielsen/Bernal Forty House Built for Nels and Mary Nielsen ca. 1895 as it looks in the present day (Rick Cook Photo).
ABOVE: Nielsen/Bernal Forty House Photo ca. 1915. You can also see the Episcopal Church (with steeple) built by P.J. Lindberg in the left-center of the photo.
Christ Church, Episcopal possibly had the first church building in Curry County.
Was constructed by P.J. Lindberg in 1892 . This building no longer stands. The original tall steeple blew off and was not replaced. The Columbus Storm of 1962 made the building unsafe. (Source: Shirley Nelson)
The White House built circa 1903/04, photo taken in 1976 by Stephen Dow Beckham.
The style is reminiscent of the box-style Carriage House built near the Hughes House.

The Lindberg Garage built in 1915/16 was up the street from his residence on nearby Jackson Street. The barrel shown in this photograph was always filled with water to test newly repaired inner tubes. This building no longer stands.

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14 Comments

  1. Casey Folden

    This is wonderful. Thanks for accumulating all this information.

    • You are welcome! We will be adding to this page as we discover more information about the buildings by P.J. Lindberg. I am sure we have not discovered them all!

  2. Thanks so much for sharing the story of these historical homes. So sad that some of them are gone.

  3. Aileen Bellay

    I was born there in 1928. My birth certificate says Curry County. Two years before it was incorporated as Port Orford. Our home overlooked Battle Rock Beach and that is my favorite place in the Universe. I visited Lucille Lindberg in her home in 2005 and am trying to retrieve a picture that I took of her at that time.

    • Excellent — and amazing that you were born before Port Orford was incorporated! Please send the photograph to Point.B Studio at point.b@memory.org (or to Alan Mitchell if you have his address). Thank you so much!

  4. Michele Leonard

    Many thanks for posting this fascinating historical perspective. It’s a tragedy to have lost the Lindbergh home on Washington.

  5. Jeanne Hargrave

    This is another fascinating history lesson of Port Orford. You certainly are qualified for the job of historiographer. I found this fact especially interesting “…the Lindberg house is covered completely with Port Orford cedar.” and it was never painted.

  6. Thank you for all of this wonderful information. My husband and I give tours in the Hughes House (June-July 2022). We love talking about PJ Lindbergh and all of his beautiful buildings and how he helped grow Port Orford. We love the Hughes family and all of their history here.
    Brett and Carrie Riley

    • Thanks, Carrie —

      You may want to check out the last two issues of the Cape Blanco Heritage Society’s Heritage Journal, published in March 2022 (Volume 12/Issue 1) and June 2022 (Volume 12/Issue 2) where we cover the buildings that PJ Lindberg helped create in Cape Blanco State Park (The Hughes House, The James Hughes House and the second lighthouse keeper dwelling). I will bring some copies for visitors next time I am out that way.

      Rebecca

      • Deborah Amstead

        How can we receive or view these Journals? Would love to read them. Deborah

        • Hi Deborah —

          The Heritage Journal Newsletter the official newsletter of the Cape Blanco Heritage Society and is free to anyone with an up-to-date membership. See https://capeblancoheritagesociety.com/membership.html. There are often back issues to peruse at the Lighthouse Greeting Center Gift Shop, Port Orford Lifeboat Station Museum, and the Hughes House.

          I am currently digitizing the back issues of these journals which is an interesting project. These will be made available at the three aforementioned sites. It is definitely an interesting project – I am hoping to discover back issues that are missing from the collection when two different newsletters were published by the Point Orford Heritage Society and Friends of Cape Blanco, before the two groups merged to become the Cape Blanco Heritage Society.

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