A couple of years ago my intuition insisted I seriously hunt for real estate which I could buy for my acupuncture clinic. Well, it was a combination of intuition and low interest rates. I had a burning feeling to look along this street, near downtown Klamath Falls, Oregon. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. At first I looked at a couple of run-down houses which I could have fixed up enough to work out of, but learned that it’s impossible to finance a rotting dump with no toilet. When I first looked at the Wattenburg House, I thought it was too nice and too expensive.
Then I learned that it was much easier to finance a nice house, and that it was big enough to move my acupuncture clinic to and still have enough room for my wife and I to have a significant housing upgrade. It all pencilled out to a few hundred dollars a month of savings over renting my old clinic space (which I had been in for 10 years) and paying for the extra internet, phone, laundry, and other business expenses. It’s been a great move for us, and has allowed me to finally get caught up and organized. A bonus is that it is just 2 blocks away from my wife’s work at the library, so our puppy Xander and I get to walk her to work most days.
This house came with a lot of history. It was on the verge of being lost and forgotten, but between my librarian wife and my own academic inclinations, we have pieced together quite a bit. Today we had about 20 women come for a tour. They are all members of the Daughters of the American Revolution, and came by to honor their chapter’s founder, Nellie Wattenburg. We like to keep the house tidy and clean, but did an extra special job getting it ready for their long-awaited tour. I used a wide-angle lens (an Olloclip) on my iPhone 4S and got some good new pictures to share. The curved image near the edges is from the wide-angle lens, which let me fit more in each image.
Robert E. Wattenburg and Nellie E. (Davidson) Wattenburg were an early “power couple” in Klamath Falls, Oregon. Like my wife, Christy Davis, Nellie was the more important community member of the couple. Robert was a hard worker and no slouch (I aspire to have such a lasting contribution to this world), but there is far more in the historic records about Nellie’s accomplishments.
My wife spent hours compiling all of her discoveries about Nellie:
Nellie was a very industrious and civic-minded person. She also accomplished a number of firsts in Klamath.
- Completed college at Oregon State in Corvallis, 1893
- Served six terms as a schoolteacher in Klamath Falls
- Was the first woman elected to the City School Board
- Worthy Matron, Aloha chapter #61 of the Eastern Star
- Klamath Falls Woman’s Library Club
- City Library Board, President
- American Association of University Women, local chapter organizer
- Red Cross, local chapter, organizer, committee chairwoman in charge of distributing clothes to local citizens during the Great Depression
- Appointed by the State Regent to organize the Eulalona Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, 1922
Robert was an influential early contractor, who built one of the early hospitals (2 blocks away, currently the Public Health Building, the Slough Building, the Odd Fellows Hall (where the Black Dog Pool Parlor is now), and some solidly built larger homes including the Truax house (it’s beautiful, and friends of ours currently have it listed for sale). Most of his buildings are brick, with dental trim, arches, and high ceilings. They survived the big earthquake quite well, a testament to his skill as a carpenter and mason.
The French doors let us separate the cats from the clinic, and still enjoy the living room when the clinic is closed. Robert’s business was Klamath Pine Products. He had a planing mill and cabinet shop, and reportedly set up his shop in the basement for a year to make all the floors, doors, windows, and moldings. Most of the glass is original and has the fluid waves of antique windows.
The house is built on the site of the First Presbyterian Church. The congregation outgrew the small church, so one member, Andrew Collier, bought the lot to help fund the purchase of the new lot. R. E. Wattenburg built the new church and then later built his house where the old church had been. The original Linkville Cemetary was across the street but has been moved. Wattenburg’s church was also outgrown, and a larger church is now where it was. I know one couple who was married in this living room. The Wattenburg house has been a bed and breakfast twice. Once a Hollywood set painter owned it, and he did an excellent job painting some of the trim mouldings and matching wallpaper to the paint.
I have always had two acupuncture treatment rooms. I find I can stagger my schedule more efficiently yet still give plenty of personal attention to my patients. More treatment rooms would lead towards a more rushed, stressful setting, but just one treatment room would reduce my scheduling flexibility considerably.
The last owners redid the kitchen. We get our value out of it, as we both enjoy cooking, now more than ever.
I’ve done quite a bit of work on some rooms of the house. I’ve hired help on much of it, but have proudly put a huge amount of elbow grease in myself. Robert Wattenburg approves, but says I need to get better at mortar and masonry.
The master bedroom floor was the first I ever sanded and refinished. It had bad carpet on it and was poorly painted underneath.
The master bath was a mess when we bought the house. A 1980′s remodel had put in a cheap vinyl tub stall, and water had seeped behind it causing the two layers of drywall to get a nasty black mold. It took quite a while to finish the remodel (though once I saw how bad the mold was, only a day to toss all the old stuff out the window), and I’m proud to show off the nice heated tile, wainscoting, and vintage claw-foot tub I put in (with help).
I’ve joked about turning the house into an acupuncture bed and breakfast. Perhaps someday. For now, it is enough to have patients throughout the day. It’s nice to have privacy for a hot, relaxing bath after a nice home cooked dinner. There are 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms upstairs, and a half-bath for patients between the kitchen and the Moon Room. The full basement has a bathroom. We put a lot of doors and walls into the partially finished basement, and should finish the flooring this summer.
Patients don’t get to come upstairs, but the living room has enough books to keep someone occupied if they are waiting for a while.
I keep my Chinese medicine books in the Moon Room. The living room has children’s books, history books, art books, sci-fi paperbacks, and some other rarities. I run a relaxed yet efficient schedule, so usually my patients don’t need to wait for me.
In the next virtual tour we’ll check out the Sun Room (my front acupuncture treatment room). Let me know if you liked your tour and if you have any questions about the house!