Ross Fogelquist has lived in one of the most charming and well known homes in Garden Home since 1952. He attended seventh and eighth grade at Garden Home School and graduated from Beaverton High School.
His lovely home at 8740 SW Oleson Road is nestled on a couple acres of mature trees, shrubs and flowers. It is called Fogelbo (bird nest) which is derived from the family name of Fogelquist. It has become the center of Swedish and Scandinavian culture and activities and the New Sweden Cultural Heritage Soceity is located next door. The blue and yellow Swedish flag flies on the front flagpole. Washington County designated Fogelbo as a historical site in 1978. Fogelbo has hosted hundreds of events over the years and thousands of people have enjoyed the home and hospitality and learned something about the Swedish culture.
This two-story home was built in the late 1930s by Henry Steiner for the owners Mr. and Mrs. Oscar Olson. Steiner and his sons were known for their unique skills and artistry in building log cabins on Mt. Hood including work on Timberline Lodge. The fir logs for the home came from Mt. hood. Another building on the back of the property was the Carl Hansen home which Ross’s father put on logs and pulled onto the property to serve as a shop and storage area. The newer Hansen home now fronts onto Washington Drive.
The Fogelquist family came from Mora in Dalarna, Sweden. Fredrik Christian Fogelquist immigrated to the U.S. in 1891. He was a highly skilled craftsman and constructed many pieces of furniture and art which are displayed in the home now. His son Charles was the father of Ross.
Ross’s parents Charles (1897-1979) and Jessie Fogelquist (1878-1978) purchased this property in 1952 and Ross will be hosting a big celebration of the 60th year of Fogelbo later in this year of 2012. Charles worked for the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management. He was the chief road engineer for the Bureau of Land Management. He served in Lakeview, Joseph and Portland. Jessie taught piano to school and community children. They were both active in civic and international affairs and shared their own parents’ love and appreciation for family treasures.
Neighbors: The property around Fogelbo remains much as it did 50 years ago with large forested plots. Their neighbors included Dean and Virginia Bristow who had the azalea nursery next door to the north, in the 1970s. Joe and Harriet Roshak lived on Washington Drive next to the Hansens and backed onto Fogelbo. Carl and Irene Hansen lived directly behind Fogelbo and fronted on Washington Drive. Their daughter Alta continues to live there in a newer home. All of these homes shared a large open area, great for children.
Dick and Elinore Olson hosted the children’s village called “Joseph” which was constructed by the neighborhood children. A police station, a market, city government, homes and other buildings all came alive from various crates and signs in the back yards. Ross was the “governor” and is pictured in a vintage Joseph, Oregon fire hat. Rules and regulations were developed and followed at the risk of 10 to 15 minutes in jail.
The Olsons, Roshaks, Hansens and Fogelquists all had family ties to Scandinavia.
Ross has an amazing collection of all types of the small red wooden horses called Dalecarlian horses. They serve as an unofficial symbol of Sweden and are commonly called Dala horses. They were first referenced almost 400 years ago in Swedish writings.
The wooden carved and painted horses were a wintertime craft in the small cottages in the forests of the central province of Dalarna, Sweden, home to early Fogelquists. Each village was known for a certain type of painting. They are an art form and exhibited in Sweden and provide a prized souvenir. They received world-wide notice when shown at the 1937 World’s Expo in Paris and the 1939 World’s Fair in New York.
Ross’s passion for Swedish heritage was inspired by his Swedish grandparents who created and displayed their treasured antiques, arts and artifacts. Ross graduated from Portland State University and then taught German and was the Foreign Student Advisor for the Evergreen School District in Vancouver, Washington. He spent a year in Vienna during his own college years and then traveled to Europe over 30 times while teaching.
A high point in Ross’s life was the knighthood conferred on him on behalf of King Carl 16th of Sweden on May 10, 1986. The beautiful Polar Star medal was given to him for his outstanding service to the Swedish and Scandinavian community. Later a grand dinner and dance was enjoyed by over 150 guests celebrating that event. Ross served in different positions at the Swedish Consulate between 1992 and 2007. He retired as the Honorary Swedish Consul for Oregon in 20007.
Interview and story by Elaine Shreve, 2012
Photos by Stan Houseman, 2012
All photos and information used by permission of Ross Fogelquist