Rutherford, Otto and Verdell, House (Portland, Oregon)

Rutherford, Otto and Verdell, House (Portland, Oregon)
LC Subject
Architecture, American Architecture--United States
Rutherford House (Portland, Oregon)
Galbraith, Cathy
National Register of Historic Places (Listed, 2015) The Otto and Verdell Rutherford House, a modest bungalow that served as a family home and support center for civil rights causes for more than half a century, is believed to be the first historic property in Oregon listed primarily for its association with the Civil Rights Movement. It was home to three generations of the Rutherford family, each of which was active in civil rights in Portland. William Rutherford and his brother Henry moved to Portland from Columbia, South Carolina in 1897 to work as barbers in the prestigious Portland Hotel. In 1923 William moved into the 1905 house on Shaver Street in the King neighborhood of Albina. Here William and his wife Lottie raised their four children, including their third son Otto, instilling in them a love of community and respect for education and hard work. Otto and Verdell moved back into the family home upon their marriage in 1936 and began their life of activism. A high point in their careers occurred in 1953, when Oregon’s Public Accommodations Act, under the sponsorship of then Representative Mark O. Hatfield, was passed. This landmark legislation occurred when Otto Rutherford was president of the Portland Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and Verdell was secretary, positions they held for several years. The Rutherford house, where Otto and Verdell raised their three children, was the location of much organizing for civil rights in the 1940s and 1950s, as well as being the first home of the NAACP Credit Union. In later years, the Rutherfords worked arduously to document the history of the African American community in Portland. This collection, donated by daughter Charlotte Rutherford, is now housed in Portland State University’s Special Collections & University Archives. The Rutherfords also participated as community historians in the Bosco-Milligan Foundation’s inventory of African American properties in Portland in the late 1990s. Otto died in 2000 and Verdell followed shortly thereafter, in 2001. The house is still held by the family. Source: Oregon State Historic Preservation Office.
Basement, 1929 door to garage
Style Period
Craftsman (style)
Work Type
architecture (object genre) built works dwellings houses basements doors
Street Address
833 Northeast Shaver Street, Portland, Oregon
View Date
In Copyright
Dc Rights Holder
Oregon State Historic Preservation Office
Use Restrictions
This image is provided by the Oregon State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) and the UO Libraries to facilitate scholarship, research, and teaching. Please credit the Oregon State Historic Preservation Office when using this image. For other uses, such as commercial publication, please contact the Oregon State Historic Preservation Office.
Oregon. State Historic Preservation Office
Building Oregon
Primary Set
Building Oregon
University of Oregon
Oregon State Historic Preservation Office, Oregon Historic Sites Database,