Golfers tee off in front of the Frederick E. Furry House near North Phoenix Road. - Bill Miller

Near 18th tee is 19th century

"It was the only home I knew as a child," said Nina Reames.

The oldest daughter and second child of Frederick and Mary Furry, Nina grew to adulthood in that house.

Young Nina played in the grain fields and hid in the corn stalks as often as possible, but never forgot her chores.

Cows had to be milked and the chickens fed.

As she grew older, she learned to sew and cook and do all the things expected of a farmer's daughter.

Two miles northeast of Phoenix, her father had built their house in about 1887, a little less than two years before Nina was born.

Frederick was the son of Samuel Furry, who came west from Iowa by ox team in 1860, right after Frederick was born.

Frederick attended public schools in Jackson County until 1876, when he moved to Jacksonville as an apprentice to John Miller, the local gunsmith. Nine years later he returned to help on his aging father's farm.

He married Mary Isabella Caton in 1886 and soon began to build the family house.

At first, Nina's home was just a simple, one-story, wood farmhouse covered in shiplap siding. There were at least three porches, one in the front and two in the back, although some say there were four. One of the porches sheltered the well, which was just outside the kitchen.

In the evening, after eating supper at the kitchen table, the family gathered with lanterns in the front sitting room where a nearby woodstove kept them warm in winter.

In the days before refrigeration and central heating, the walls were insulated with newspapers, and in the kitchen pantry and milk storage room, a 2-inch layer of sawdust was packed into the ceiling and walls to protect perishables.

Nina was born in one of the two bedrooms of this tiny house.

There was a barn, silo, pig pen and, of course, a chicken coop.

Because the growing family needed more room, Frederick Furry built a two-story addition to the south side of the house not long after 1901 that included three bedrooms for his six children and a parlor for his wife.

Daughter Nina finally had a bedroom all to herself and, in 1908, near the bay window in the new parlor, she married Earnest Reames.

A year later, Frederick sold the ranch and moved back to Phoenix.

There have been many additions and renovations to the original house. Subsequent owners planted a pear orchard, removed the bay window, and in 1936 electrified the house.

Apparently the old outhouse lasted until after 1944, when a bathroom was finally installed in the pioneer home.

If indoor plumbing arrived any sooner than the bathroom, no one seems to remember.

Before she died in 1982, Nina Reames recorded memories of her father, her family and her house for the nation's bicentennial.

The Furry House was acquired in 2004 by Pacific Retirement Services, Inc., and the Rogue Valley Manor, and now sits in the middle of the Centennial Golf Course, not far from the 18th tee.

Golf course personnel use the house for offices and storage.

In the near future, by planting corn, pumpkins and other crops, they will attempt to make the two acres surrounding the house look like a functioning farm.

At least for the foreseeable future, the Furry House isn't going anywhere.

Writer Bill Miller lives in Shady Cove. Reach him at

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