The history of Hillside Castle

How Hillside Castle was built

We have some awesome history on our house. Although this house pales in comparison to the brick masterpieces or the Midwestern cities, or the sprawling mansions of the North East, it is pretty cool for Bend, Oregon.

Built by a bricklayer, Waldo Wahlstrom, who brought what he could from job sites, it is hard to believe he built this beast with his weekends, and scraps. Rumor has it that the Bend sawmills would let workers take home the wood they could carry at the end of a shift. Wahlstrom applied those principles to his job sites and carried off a lot of bricks.

We all have that crazy uncle.
Wahlstrom also appears to have been as eccentric as his house. From what I have read, he left his wife and kids in the in Michigan, and it sounds like he was going to go back for them, but never did. He lived in the carriage shed, with a dirt floor and a root cellar that looks like a dungeon, while finishing the main house. He started the house in 1922, and by late 1923, most of the house was finished. He died of pneumonia in front of the fireplace in 1926, with a bottle of whiskey and a “see ya later” attitude. He was apparently frugal and reclusive, I can relate to the latter.

The fireplace in what use to be the kitchen, the death place of Waldo. This was gently removed with a sledge hammer and covered with a 1990’s oak cabinet.

Many awful things occurred to the historic integrity of this house over the last 80 years or so. Fireplaces were covered or torn out, hollow core doors were affixed in odd places and vinyl floors, tile and wall to wall carpet has blanketed the original wood. My plan is to fix all that, and expose some brick and ceiling to show off the craftsmanship and beauty of this masterpiece.

Here is an article from the Bend Bulletin on the Bend Brick Company, if you would like to know more.

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