What's with that white house on the corner?

Fredenburgs' historic brick home was covered with paint in the 1980s
Andrew Fredenburg’s white, brick house at West 10th and Holly streets in Medford was completed in 1892.

"I'm curious about the white, brick building at the corner of Holly and 10th," writes Paula, one of our faithful readers. "What is its past? Since I drive by there coming back from church, I let my imagination run wild, and I believe it could have been a doctor's office because there is easy access from the side on 10th Street."

Imagination is a wonderful thing, Paula, and although that little, white house was never a doctor's office, you must have been picking up some vibes from the original family, the Fredenburgs, who built it as their home way back in 1892.

If you go

The Fredenburg House remained in the family until 1921 and was accepted to the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.

The best way to see the white, brick house is to drive from Oakdale Avenue toward Riverside on West 10th Street in Medford. The house will be on your left at the intersection of Holly Street.

For the Fredenburgs, the 10th Street side of the house was the family's front entrance, not the Holly Street entrance of today, with its ornamentation, address numerals and office signs on both sides of the door.

The National Register of Historic Places notes that the Fredenburg House was one of only four brick houses built within the city limits of Medford before 1900 and is the only one of those to survive.

The bricks originally were unpainted and looked like — well — red bricks. The white paint was put on just over 60 years ago and, in the 1980s, when thoughts turned to removing the paint and restoring the bricks to their original color, it was decided that removal might damage the bricks.

Born in 1830, Andrew Jackson Fredenburg moved to northern Missouri with his parents when he was 18. He married Susanna Pirtle in 1857, and in 1864, with four children and his mother and father, they crossed the plains to Oregon. For less than a year they settled in Baker City and then continued on to the more fertile Willamette Valley. They had followed Fredenburg's older sister, Carolyn, who in 1867 would marry Joseph Doudon in Andrew's Silverton home. The Doudons left for Jackson County two years later.

Fredenburg remained in the north until 1882 before once again following after his sister. He and Susanna settled on a Jackson County farm southwest of Lake Creek.

Seven years later, Fredenburg purchased two adjacent Medford lots and began planning his brick home. On the city's original plat, the southern Medford city limit ended at 12th Street, and although Fredenburg's lots were still within the city limits, his property at Holly and 10th was virtually out in the wide-open countryside.

Medford Mail newspaper readers in September 1889 learned that A.J. Fredenburg would "soon build a comfortable brick residence west of the railroad."

Planning a house is one thing, but getting it built is quite another. The great flood of 1890 delayed Fredenburg's plans.

He was ready again in 1891, but the weather still wasn't ready to cooperate.

"A.J. Fredenburg's two-story brick residence is going ahead slowly on account of wet weather," the newspaper said.

As autumn 1892 approached, the Fredenburg House was finally completed and the family moved in.

Both Fredenburgs died in the house, Susanna in 1901 and Andrew in 1911. After each funeral service, also held in the home, both were carried to Medford's Eastwood Cemetery. Although they lie side by side, Susanna's grave is marked, but Andrew's is not.

And so, Paula, there you have it. That's the story of that little white house.

Writer Bill Miller lives in Shady Cove. Reach him at newsmiller@live.com.

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