According to the book, Oregon Post Offices, 1847-19821, the Garden Home Post Office was first established March 6, 1882. It was then discontinued or had a change of designation on Jan. 31, 1904. It was then reestablished Oct. 26, 1912. On Feb. 28, 1954 the post office had a change of designation to be the Garden Home Classified Branch. The designation changed again on March 31, 1979 to be Garden Home Contract Station of Portland. This information is contained in hundreds of notations regarding post offices throughout the state. It is complicated by several seemingly wrong typos such as an entry as “Garrlen Home” preceded by “arden Home.” Lumen H. Nichols was the first Post Master. Thanks to Chris Gilson for providing this resource.
Oregon Geographic Names by Lewis McArthur states that the Garden Home Post Office was established in 1882.
Mr. Lumen Nichols was the first Garden Home Postmaster (Mapes, Garden Home – the way it was) “at the Garden Home intersection” in the late 1880s. The first Post Office was located in a small wooden building that served as the Post Office and Store owned and run by the Nichols. Later in the early 1900s the Post Office moved up to Robert and Margie Smith’s Red & White store, sometimes called the Red Store. This store was east on Garden Home Road across from the current Old Market Pub.
In 1935, Margaret Scherner Smith moved to Garden Home to join her mother Maria Scherner and began work part-time at the Red Store. Soon she became the Postmistress. When the Red store closed in the 1930s, the Post Office was moved to the White Store (later called the Upchurch store), the large store built by Chris Jager on the southeast corner of the intersection. Later the Post Office moved into the front of Gust Johnson’s service station on the southwest corner of the intersection. (Gust Johnson’s daughter says his name was Gust although he was commonly referred to as Gus.)
When the Lamb’s Thriftway complex was built in 1957, the Post Office moved into the back of Irv Huppen’s Pharmacy. At that time, Elizabeth Rains became the Postmistress from 1968 until 1992. This small area featured the beautiful ornate brass wall of postal boxes and the window for the postmistress. Old-timers still remember their postal box number. Upon her retirement, her daughter Mary Rogers took over from 1992 until 1996.
When the new Thriftway was built in 1992, the post office became part of the Lamb’s Thriftway business and continues to this day in 2010. It is a cherished part of our community. Mail carrying the address of Garden Home, Oregon 97223 will be delivered though the more-used address is 97223, Portland or Tigard.
By Elaine Shreve
1 Oregon Post Offices, 1847-1982. Second, Revised Edition, 1982 and 1985. By Richard W. Helbock, Ph.D. published by Raven Press, P.O. Box 135, Lake Oswego, OR 97034. The author notes that there are “many instances, particularly in the 19th century, where official dates as recorded in Washington, D.C., do not correspond to actual dates of operation. Unfortunately, there is no way known to obtain the actual dates of operation in most cases.”