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Shelton-McMurphey-Johnson House, Eugene

Categories: Historic Sites, Tourist Spots
Inspirock Rating:
3.8/5 based on 30 reviews on the web
Shelton McMurphey Johnson House History

The Shelton McMurphey-Johnson house is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

The SMJ house was built in 1888 for Dr. and Mrs. Shelton and their daughter, Alberta. Dr. Shelton died in 1893. His daughter, Alberta and her husband Robert McMurphey were married and moved into the house. Robert and Alberta raised their six children in the house.

The house underwent very few changes until 1912. At that time an upstairs bathroom, a sleeping porch and a stairway to and flooring of the attic were added. In 1915 the peaked roof of the turret was removed. In 1919 the Conservatory was enlarged to make a home office for Robert McMurphey. In 1944 the house was re-roofed.

In 1949 Alberta McMurphey died. None of her heirs was interested in keeping the house, so it was sold to Dr. Eva Johnson in 1952.

Dr. Eva Johnson and her husband Dr. Curtis Johnson restored the exterior of the house to its original condition and adapted its many large rooms for housekeeping rooms and apartments for tenants and themselves.

In May 1952 there was a fire which damaged the central chimney structure. The Johnsons had the damage repaired and undertook to restore, replace, and finish other portions of the house. The turret's peaked roof was reconstructed in resemblance to the original but with changes to its details and in the base configuration. Student tenants made other changes as they tried to either restore or customize their individual and common areas.

In 1975, after the death of her husband, Eva Johnson deeded the house and grounds to the Lane County Historical Museum, with the stipulation that she could live in the house until she died.

In 1977 the front porch foundations, floor, columns, railings and steps were restored and reconstructed.

Eva Johnson died in 1986. In her will she gave the house to the Lane County Historical Museum.

In 1987 Lane County formed a Task Force to make recommendations while the house was being managed by the Lane County Historical Museum. The Task Force recommended restoration of the house to make it available to the public under the direction of the Lane County Historical Museum.

A steering committee, the Society for the Preservation of the Shelton McMurphey Johnson House was formed. The first floor of the house became available for tours and rentals. The basement was remodeled for a caretaker's apartment.

In 1991 ownership of the house was transferred to the city of Eugene when Lane County did not have the funds to continue with plans for the house.

The City of Eugene established a Shelton McMurphey Johnson Advisory Board. The Advisory Board was charged to make plans for use of the house. This Board worked to make the first floor of the house handicapped accessible and meet safety codes (including a sprinkler system). They worked with a decorating firm to restore the first floor. They established a 501(c)3 nonprofit with a Board of Directors (SMJ Associates) to oversee the house. The Associates hired a House Director.

Since 1991 the SMJ Associates have met monthly to oversee the use of the house. The Associates and volunteers are actively involved in interpreting the SMJ House for guests, a small on-site Gift Shop, fundraising, and curating the collection.

The volunteers and docents have regular meetings which often include discussions relating to the history of the House and the history of Eugene. The day-to-day running of the House is managed by a House Director and administrative assistant.

The mission of the SMJ Associates is to preserve the heritage of the Shelton McMurphey Johnson House for the benefit of current and future generations by providing educational opportunities for the community by hosting events and exhibits that highlight the people and history of Eugene.
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  • If you enjoy history, you will love this place, A short tour that will take you back in time and is right in the neighborhood, 
  • If you enjoy history this is the place for you. It was built in 1888 and has been updated a bit over the years. It's a short tour but the volunteer guides do a great job. It's such fun to see items fr...  read more »
  • This is a sweet little local attraction, just near a the 5th street market and some outstanding local restaurants, bars, and shops, so it makes for a fun little addition to a longer afternoon. You can...  read more »
  • I've been here 2 or 3 times . Phenomenal tour . I love old stuff and the stories behind this house and the different owners . All pieces (furniture clothing) ate set to the time period. The workmanship on the house itself is beyond words......
  • Rude and disrespectful manager! I couldn't believe how she spoke to my wife! I will not go back and would suggest they find a manager who can handle public relations. BOO!
  • My family was looking for attractions in Eugene and found this beautiful Victorian mansion. The tour brought us back to beginning days of Eugene. What a treasure that everyone should see!
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