Historic Sites Port Orford
Historic Hughes House

A sterling work of late Victorian architecture, built in 1898 by P.J. Lindberg for $3,800, this home was a culmination of nearly four decades of laborious work by dairyman Patrick and Jane Hughes. The Hughes ranch house is a two-story, 11-room house of two-by-eight Port Orford cedar. The rectangular structure with cross wings comprises more than 3,000 square feet.

The house rests on a terrace on Cape Blanco's north side. Its windows frame vistas of hills, the Pacific Ocean, Sixes River, and nearby fields. The location shields the house from winter southwesters, but it is more exposed to northwesters.

Guests entered the front hall where gaslight reflected in the main stairway's balustrade. The front (guest) parlor was the most public and significant room of a Victorian house. The fireplace there contains a coal-burning firebox rather than cheaper, more-easily obtained wood. The men's parlor was frequently used. They retreated to its simple furnishings at the end of the workday. The room is dominated by a massive fireplace. The men also gathered around the large oak dining-room table. The women prepared meals in the generously proportioned kitchen. Warmed by a great, cast-iron wood stove, it was a welcoming room. Adjacent to the kitchen and dining room is a pantry for the large quantities of commodities they stored. Also on the first floor is the master bedroom and bath. Electricity didn't arrive until 1942; nevertheless, the building was constructed with indoor plumbing. Water heated by the kitchen stove provided a comfortable bath in a claw-foot tub.

A handsome mahogany banister indicates the way to the second floor, where the sons each occupied a room. When Francis Hughes married, he and his bride used an irregularly shaped room for their only child. The most intriguing second-floor feature is the chapel, complete with an original altar. (John Hughes was a Catholic priest.) The largest room was reserved for overnight guests. It was the showiest of the bedrooms.

The family lived at the ranch for 111 years. Today it is Cape Blanco State Park. The 1,800-acre park also features the cemetery, ocean views, trails, beach access, a campground with nearly 60 electrified campsites, a horse camp with scenic riding trails, and access to the Cape Blanco Lighthouse. The house is included on the National Register of Historic Places.

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