The Historic Gilchrist Home

Upon arriving in Laurel on May 23, 1907, Frank Rust Gilchrist and his family started looking for a suitable home. Frank settled on this property, even though it was partially finished. It was originally the home of Everett Elihu Jackson of the Kingston Lumber Company. Mr. Jackson bought the vacant lot on January 27, 1906 and began construction. Frank Gilchrist purchased the incomplete property and the holdings of Kingston Lumber Co. in September 1907 ($8,000 for the home and $1,360,000 for the business).

 

The Gilchrist-Fordney Company became the second largest of the four large lumber mills to locate in Laurel - making Laurel the "Yellow Pine Capital", shipping out more board feet of lumber per day than anywhere else in the world.

 

The 1910 US Census listed the household at 13 people - 5 family members and 8 paid employees (housekeeper, governess, laundress, 2 coachmen, gardner, cook and waitress). With two coachmen this indicates the family had two carriages - one for Frank's business (Gilchrist-Fordney Lumber Company) and one for family purposes.  At one point there was a barn/carriage house (still in use today as guest quarters), horse stable, pasture, gardens, hen coop and tennis court. The Gilchrist home remains a well preserved example of a Shingle Style home. Emerging shortly after the turn of the century, this style was the first backlash against the fussiness of the Victoria period characterized by simple lines and trim. The entire house is covered in overlapping wood shingles, thus appropriate for a sawmill town.

In 1917, Frank Gilchrist travelled to Detroit, Michigan on business and became ill and died at the age of 45. On the day of his funeral all businesses in Laurel were suspended for 30 minutes, including the "Big Four" lumber mills, as a tribute to Frank's legacy. He was a national leader in his field as well as a community leader - spending freely of his time and money promoting everything beneficial to the city. 

Mrs. Flora Gilchrist, Frank's wife, spearheaded the organization of the Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) and the construction of the present building. Through the years Mrs. Gilchrist filled her home with friends from all walks of life with her gracious hospitality.

After the closure of the Gilchrist Lumber Mill in 1937, Frank Gilchrist II moved the business and family to the newly constructed town of Gilchrist, Oregon. Their home in Laurel remained in the family until 2011. Mallorie and Jim Rasberry purchased the Gilchrist home in 2017, where they hope to continue the Gilchrist family legacy of community service and sharing their home with friends, family and guests for many more years to come.