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Zinser House

The Zinser House built in late 19th Century. This is now the location of the Happy Valley City Hall.

(Articles below were provided by Jean Wheeler a descendant of the Zinsers)

from The Oregonian , Friday, June 20, 1986, page G2:

Happy Valley future smiles on 96-year-old house

by Connie Potter

Correspondent, The Oregonian

HAPPY VALLEY—Carpenter ants scurry around the kitchen floor. Pieces of torn wallpaper dangle from the living room walls.

Upstairs, daylight peeks through the ceilings and the broken windows in the four bedrooms.

The Rebstock, house, built in 1890, needs a lot of work before it becomes the new Happy Valley City Hall.

But Barbara Smith is counting on the willingness of the community's 1,490 residents to lend a hand.

Smith, a volunteer, is coordinating efforts to renovate the house, which is next to the fire station on King Road. She expects the work to take about two years.

The city purchased the house and the 2 acres it sits on last summer for $18,000. The City Council budgeted $15,000 this year toward renovation and also expects to receive $20,000 in grants.

That won't go very far toward all the work that is needed, said Smith, and she is looking for donations of supplies and labor to get the job done. Roofing materials, carpeting, paint and plumbing equipment are needed, she said.

Ed Rebstock, who was superintendent of the Mount Scott Water District for 33 years, was born in the house. He died two years ago at age 72 after devoting several decades to community service.

Rebstock served on the board of directors of about everything in Happy Valley, from the school board to the fire district to his church. He also was known as someone who would always pitch in when a neighbor needed help, said Smith.

His widow, Erma, still lives in Happy Valley.

City offices are located across the street from the house, in the same building as the Mount Scott Water Disctrict. City officials assume the district someday will need to expand, and they thought that the Rebstock property would be a good spot for city offices when the water district expansion comes to pass.

Smith arranged for some free labor to get the project under way, through the Clackamas County Corrections Department's Community Service program. Two people sentenced by the courts to perform community service began work this week ripping wallboard out of the old house. Smith expects others to be involved before the house is completed.

“We'll be all summer just tearing the rotted materials out, I fear,” she said.

What is really needed, however, is for residents of this tight-knit community to turn out on weekends and in their spare time to get the project rolling, said Smith. Someone with a tractor could mow the 3-foot-high grass surrounding the house. Someone else could rip out the blackberry bushes lining the driveway, she said.

The most pressing need, she said, is to put on a new roof before winter.

The plan is to restore the house as much as possible to how it looked when Rebstock and his family lived there, Smith said. But there will be a few changes, such as access for the handicapped—a requirement of all city offices.

Russell Svaren, a community member, built a model of how the house looked—based on a photograph provided by Rebstock's widow—which will be used as a guideline. Jim Grady, an architect who serves on the city's Planning Commission, will provide some expert advice, Smith said.

There also will be a small part on the property if Smith gets her way. Smith, who also is chairwoman of the Happy Valley Park Commission, envisions shade trees and picnic tables where people can stop for lunch.

Although Erma Rebstock has not been actively involved with the project, she has been watching it with interest. She lived in the house for 28 years after she married her husband.

“I think it's a wonderful thing,” she said. “We're all kind of excited about it.”

from The Clackamas County Review , week of July 10 through 16, pg. 6 (unknown year)

‘This old house' will be City Hall in Happy Valley

By Pat O'Halloran

Staff Writer

If you had driven by a few weeks ago, you would not have even noticed it.

Now you can see it.

And the dilapidated, faded-red house sitting near the Happy Valley Fire Station and City Hall at the junction of 129 th and King roads will be more than just seen, if a group of community leaders has its way.

It will become the City Hall.

The renovation will be done with volunteer work and government grants, according to Barbara Smith, who is helping coordinate efforts to turn the historic home into the city's offices.

` The house was built in 1890 by George Zinser and purchased by Charles Rebstock in 1901. Now known as the Rebstock House, it was the first plastered house in the area.

After the Rebstocks sold the home and moved out in the middle of the century, the ownership changed hands several times.

Its last use was as a rental home. It was not kept up, Smith said, allowing it to deteriorate to its present condition.

Smith said it took more than 20 man-hours just to get into the house, due to debris.

“There was everything except yesterday's sandwich there,” she joked. She recalled when a reporter for a daily newspaper came to the house in a dress and nylons and insisted on touring the home. Smith and a photographer had to beat a path through the grass to get her in.

To clear out the house, Smith has used the Clackamas County Corrections Department's Community Service program. Persons who are sentenced by the courts to perform community service are assigned to different projects by the program.

People from the program have spent 107 hours in the house, according to Smith, tearing out wallboard and getting rid of debris.

But community service workers aren't the only people in there pitching.

A nearby resident spent an entire weekend day tearing blackberries out with his tractor. Smith said the man discovered “almost an entire car” in the vines. Also found was a foundation to a building. Smith said she will be trying to find out what the building was used for.

As she was explaining to a visitor about the historical background of the home, she pointed out the bricks used as a foundation.

They were originally from a Blue Bell potato chip factory in---[article torn off here]


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