Lund-Hoel House

The Most Famous House in Town!

Stone headers and entrance gate to the historic lund-hoel house.

Restoration Projects

2009: Gable Gingerbread Trim rebuilt & replaced

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Thank you Don & Thompson Crew!!!

Mrs. Lund had a passion for decorating her home. In 1901, when whopping real estate sales by the Lund Land Agency made John G. Lund famous throughout the state and a bona fide millionaire, Mrs. Lund began adding new rooms, balconies, porches, and greatly expanded the living area. With each room addition, the interior appeared to be haphazard with different woods and trim styles, with woodwork ranging from light to dark colors. The exterior changes displayed none of the distraction of randomly placed architectural elements. 


Mrs. Lund was very particular about her 'outside appearances'. Although she didn't care whether there was continuity inside, the exterior was a flowing, intricate style with gingerbread eaves, complex shingle patterns, brackets, friezes, balconies, spindles, a turret, numerous inviting porches, and a simple green and white paint scheme which provides continuity for all the elements. 


The Lund-Hoel House is the best representation of Victorian Era architecture in Canby. Included in the abundant traditional "gingerbread" trim, the Lund-Hoel House has seven large, detailed gable fan pieces which hang in the peaks of the seven gables. Each is unique. None of those pieces are the same size nor design. 


During the early restoration in the mid 70's, the gable fans were spotted in the attic of the old barn (now the Carriage House). They were saved by Henry Jemmings when the old barn was razed. They had been stored in the hay mow perhaps by Nella Hoel. At that time, they were repaired, repainted and re-hung. 


Last summer an intricate rebuilding project to completely replace the deteriorated gable fans was undertaken by dedicated craftsmen. The fans were rotted and fragile after almost 110 years of storage and weathering. Each were originally crafted of lathe with hand tools. It was a long but rewarding project. More than 156 hours of labor went into the finished gingerbread fans. That would be almost 20 full 8 hour days. The use of power saws and power nailers made the project easier, and also helped a great deal to cut the time needed in rebuilding them. 


We want to thank Don Berndt for his expertise and for supervising the project. Mrs. Lund would be proud of a job well done! 

History of Gingerbread Trim

Ginger is an important tuber which is consumed as a spice or as medicine.  Ginger bread was brought to Europe in 992 from the Middle East and was used for medicinal purposes.  It was usually baked into a cake or a bread form.  Swedish nuns were baking gingerbread to ease digestion in the year 1444. 


It was the custom to bake ginger biscuits and paint them as window decorations. The first documented trade of gingerbread biscuits dates to the 1500's, where they were sold in monastery pharmacies and town square farmers markets.  Gingerbread became widely available in the 1700's.  Known from the Middle East to Russia to Europe to Scandinavia, the most popular form was a Christmas cookie decorated and hung in windows & associated with Christmas.   


The popular tales from the Brothers Grimm published in the early 1800's, contained a German folk fable about 2 children, Hansel & Gretel, along with a Witch's House decorated with ornate icing and candy on gingerbread cake.  The house Hansel & Gretel visited is representative of the unique and highly decorated 'house' which hung as decorations at Christmas and later attained fame in the Victorian Era architecture. 


The style of architectural decoration known as 'gingerbread' did not become widely established until the steam-powered scroll saw and lathe became widely available in the middle 1800's.  Then the parts could be easily mass produced.  There are a variety of elements making up “gingerbread trim” including swags, brackets and teardrop pieces.  Porches and balconies are decorated with turned posts and curving corner brackets.  Often a solitary window and gracefully carved ridge boards decorate the roof peaks. 


“Gingerbread” is often used interchangeably with "Victorian", a life style named in honor of Queen Victoria.  Ornate trim represented a way to decorate houses with individual creativity.  “Gingerbread” emphasizes the architectural features such as porches, gables, balconies, etc.  Highly decorated houses are sometimes called Gingerbread houses, with few people knowing the origin of 'Gingerbread house' which belonged in a famous fable where the witch lures children to eat her decorative house of gingerbread with candy and icing so she can then eat the children. 

 

Queen Victoria's Influence

Although people often incorrectly refer to a Victorian-era house as a Victorian-style house, 'Victorian' actually refers to the time frame of the reign of the popular British Queen Victoria (1837–1901).  She reigned for over 63 years during years of heavy immigration to America.  She was of German decent and was influential throughout Europe, Canada, and the US wherever immigrants settled.  She was best known for bringing 'morality and values' to the Royal family.


Houses of this 'era' have a “style” of Gingerbread trim, and a variety of home styles borrowed from every country and every era in history.  The large number of immigrants contributed to the diverse architecture of the 1870's and on.  They built structures which were eclectic, incorporating leaded glass, balconies, over-hanging eaves, and towers. 


The paint industry after the Civil War also contributed to this unique architecture when paint was mass produced.  Spindle detailing, wrap around porches, rounded towers, and gables are typical embellishments of the Victorian home --a style often referred to as decorative excess.  The expansion of the railroads allowed elements to be manufactured on the East coast at low cost, in standard sizes, and shipped to the building site.  Starting around 1910, Sears & Roebuck and Montgomery Ward catalogs offered house 'kits' which were the original pre-fabricated homes.  Many included house plans with ornate embellishments. 


The paints used on ornate houses accentuate the asymmetrical style and highlight the patterns and textures.  Homes having three or more bold or contrasting colors are often referred to as "painted ladies". 


Unfortunately, the same ornate and spectacular trim which made the Victorian era the most flamboyant and memorable era, was also was the downfall of that style.  The time, upkeep, and detail work needed to preserve the ornamentation was costly and time consuming.  Soon the decorative elements fell out of favor with the middle class.  The onset of the Depression of the 1930s and the onset of World War II rationing brought down the most exciting architectural style in a century.  

 

 

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