A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

The new ‘Old Book House’: It’s done

Written December 9th, 2016 by Hasso Hering
The charming outside of the "Old Book House" the way it looked on Friday afternoon.

The charming outside of the “Old Book House” the way it looked on Friday afternoon.

It’s taken most of the year, but the transformation of a formerly crumbling old house in Albany’s Willamette Neighborhood is now complete. I’ve followed the story from the start, and if you’re interested in private initiative curing spots of urban blight, you should be more than pleased with the result.

Here’s what the place at 1405 Front Ave. N.E. looked like in early February when I went by on a bike ride and noticed that somebody was starting to do something with it.


The somebody was Sean Sullivan of Superior Carpentry and Homebuilding. The house was more than a century old. It was in poor shape inside and out, and after Sullivan bought it in 2015, he resolved to rescue it rather than bulldoze the place and start fresh.

When the inside was being gutted before reconstruction, one of the walls yielded the 1907 edition of a book, “American Railway Transportation,” which had been checked out of the Albany Public Library in the 1930s and never returned. Sullivan figures it dropped from an upstairs shelf built into the wall and was irretrievably lost — until it turned up again, in perfect shape with one D.W. Lovett’s library card still inside.

Old Book House is what I’ve been calling the place because of that story. Its real name is something more refined. For decades the house had been the home of Lola A. Skelton, who died in 2015. Sullivan told me early on that when the house was done, he would name it “Lola Rose” in honor of the former long-time owner’s standing in the neighborhood and her love of roses.

In any case, now the house is finished. On Saturday the property is going to be listed for sale at $259,000. The house has 1,935 square feet, three bedrooms, big bathrooms, a beautiful kitchen, and a double garage. Below, take a look at the inside. And since the library no longer wants it and gave it to me, whoever buys the house also gets the old book. (hh)


Part of the railing is removable to make it easier to take furniture upstairs.

Part of the railing is removable to make it easier to take furniture upstairs.



The builder, Sean Sullivan, was finishing up some details on Friday.

The builder, Sean Sullivan, was finishing up some details on Friday.

6 responses to “The new ‘Old Book House’: It’s done”

  1. Mel. says:

    Very nice. A great change for the neighborhood and nice looking. It will make someone a nice home. A lot less material went to the landfill, but of course a lot had to be replaced.
    Good work Sean.
    Thanks for the on going story Hasso.

  2. John Hartman says:

    A great re-use of existing infrastructure.

  3. Ray Kopczynski says:

    Bravo to Sean Sullivan and his making this all come together! I do hope he can sell it to recover his costs. High-fives to Hasso for keeping us all in the loop for the history and progress too…

  4. Mary Mascorro says:

    Great job Sean Sullivan.

  5. Dick Olsen says:

    Thanks Hasso for great stories and great pictures of this project and thanks to you Sean for giving the neighborhood a big boost. When campaigning I’ve always loved to be in this neighborhood.

    • Superior Carpentry and Homebuilding says:

      We would like to thank all of you for the nice compliments and words of encouragement. Out of all our projects this one crossed every possible line of good and bad and we experienced every possible good and bad situation a construction project could offer. It was very frustrating at times and yet extremely satisfying and we hope that the neighbors, and most importantly, the new homeowner with enjoy this home for years to come. That’s why we like saying “Construction is our business but building a home is our passion”
      Thank you all and thank you Hasso for your community interest stories


      SCH Homes


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