Apparently it’s a friendly ghost, and no one should be deterred from visiting the Caples House in this month of Halloween and ghostly happenings. The property, located on the Columbia River about 30 miles northwest of
, is operated as a museum by the Daughters of the American Revolution. On a docent-led tour, visitors can learn the story of Dr. Charles Caples, whose family occupied the house for almost 100 years. As a young lad, Caples came to Portland Oregon in 1844 by way of the Oregon Trail and settled with his family on a claim of 320 acres along the Columbia River. The lure of California gold drew him south in 1848, but he returned to Oregon and used his earnings to attend Tualatin Academy, now in Forest Grove. After graduation, he filed for a land claim near his father’s and, in 1855, married Lucinda McBride of Pacific University . Continuing his education in the field of medicine, Caples became the first doctor in the area. In 1870, he constructed the two-story, frame house that sits on the property today. Yamhill County
His middle daughter, Dell Caples Houghton, lived in the house until 1959, forgoing electricity and cooking on the wood-burning stove in the kitchen. An active member of the local Daughters of the American Revolution, she presented the property to them upon her death. Fortunately, the house was altered very little over the years and, after some restoration, was opened to the public as a museum in 1970.
Caples House Museum consists of five buildings and occupies an entire city block overlooking the Columbia River and . The house itself includes a small kitchen and pantry, doctor’s office, parlor on the first floor and three bedrooms on the second floor. It is decorated with period pieces some original to the Caples’ family such as the square-cut Curtiss piano that traveled to Mt. St. Helens Oregon via Cape Horn. Also on display are collections of local Native American artifacts and early, scary medical and dental equipment used by the doctor.
Behind the house, a Tool Shed features a variety of old tools and farm equipment, and the Carriage House has been converted to a doll and toy museum. Of special interest is a collection of First Lady dolls wearing their inaugural gowns. A Country Store sells hand-crafted items,
Oregon history memorabilia, and assorted collectibles and antiques; and a new serves as a venue for receptions, meetings, and weddings. In the back of the property is a 130 year-old apple and pear orchard that recently received official recognition from the Oregon Heritage Tree Program. The house and its outbuildings are open weekends and holidays between March and October from 1:00pm to 5:00pm. The price of admission is $3.00. Social Center