Mendonholm Villa and Charles Glafke

Photo of Glafke House today

Charles Glafke house today – on Oak Grove Blvd and Linden Lane (photo from Oak Grove Observer)

A month ago the Oak Grove Observer posted a photo of “Mendonholm Villa”, once a stately residence in Oak Grove owned by C. E. Glafke. Though the original property has recently been developed with numerous homes, the house still exists at one corner of the original property. OLHD felt that such a stately residence in Oak Grove was worthy of more research:

Charles Edward Glafke

One of the earlier residents of Oak Grove was Charles E. Glafke, who’s residence he called “Mendonholm Villa” was located at the S.E. corner of today’s Oak Grove Blvd. and Linden Lane.

Born in New York in 1865 to Frederick (Fred) and Catherine (Kate) Glafke, both born in Germany, the family settled in Wayne Co., NY until 1865. They then removed to Mendon in St. Joseph Co., Michigan when Charles was still young. It seems likely that the name “Mendonholm” was derived from his Michigan home town’s name. Charles had five siblings – William B., Frederick, Elizabeth J., Nettie and Kate. The Glafke family appears living in Mendon in both the 1870 and 1880 censuses, and in 1886 Charles married Carrie Glendening in Chicago.

Led by Fred Jr. in 1890 the rest of the family moved to Portland, OR. in 1892 and were enumerated in the 1895 state census. Fred Sr. was a carriage and wagon maker by trade and it is clear that the sons entered into the business world and politics at an early age. William established the W.B. Glafke Co. – later the Interior Grocery Company – and even ran for Portland mayor in 1905. Fred Jr. managed a branch of the same business in Walla Walla.

By 1900 Charles and Carrie had moved to Los Angeles where the census states that he was a “Cracker Box Manager in Portland”. By 1905 Charles had moved to San Francisco where he became President of “The Glafke Co.”, manufacturers of Oil Burners. Charles and Carrie divorced in 1910 while in San Francisco, but by 1912 he had remarried in San Francisco, to Elizabeth Nerod, the daughter of Christ J. and Sophie Nerod of Salem, OR.

Mendonholm Villa

By late 1912 Charles and Elizabeth had returned to Portland, and by 1916 he had apparently removed to Oak Grove where he built his Mendonholm Villa estate.

During their years in Oak Grove the couple did a lot of entertaining at their home, as evidenced by articles in the Oregon Journal and Oregonian newspapers.

(click to enlarge)

But in 1917 Charles put up the home for sale, citing a business need to remove from Oregon. For whatever reasons the home was not sold for several years, and Elizabeth died there from cancer at the age of only 42 on Oct. 18, 1922. One could speculate that Elizabeth’s cancer was the reason he didn’t sell the home, but we’ll probably never know for sure. Charles’ still lived there when he died on Mar. 2, 1924. At the time of his death Charles was owner/manager of Loggers Oil Equipment Co. The home was eventually sold a few years later.

Image of sales flyer for Mendonholm Villa

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