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The Oswego Historic Rose Garden is open daily from dawn until dusk. It was established in 2010 to commerorate Dr. William Cane, whose practice and residence was located at the Oswego Heritage House. At the time Dr. Cane occupied the house (1940-1970s), there was a large circular drive up to the front door planted with roses. 

The Historic Rose Garden is an attempt to recreate Dr. Cane's rose garden using plants that he probably bought from JB Pilkington & Son Nursery. Although this cannot be definitely proven, Esther Pilkington, wife of JB's son Clark, made this statement to the LO Review:

"Ninety percent of the trees, shrubs, and roses planted in the old part of Lake Oswego came from our nursery. We were one of the largest nurseries in the area at the time."

The nursery was located on 400 acres, extending from Boones Ferry Rd. S to Childs Rd. along what is now Pilkington Rd. and west to Durham and Bridgeport Village. It closed in 1956. 


This page will aid you as you embark on your self-guided walking tour of the garden. Items are numbered and correspond with the numbers on the stakes next to the plants. For ease of locating specific plants, those west side of the gravel path are 1-27, 45, 46; east of the path are 28-44. 

Note: Not all of the plants in the Historic Rose Garden are roses, but they are all historically significant. 

(1) The Three Nancys

Since this wild geranium didn't have an official documented name, a decision was made to call it the Three Nancys, honoring Nancy Dunis' inspiration for the garden, Nancy Tongue's donation of the plants, and previous OHC Executive Director Nancy Niland. 

(2) Peace Pole

An internationally recognized symbol of hope and peace for all mankind. 

The Lake Oswego Rotary Club donated an a peace pole to be planted at the Oswego Heritage House. Representatives from both Lake Oswego Rotary and Oswego Heritage Council dedicated the peace pole on Veteran's Day to honor our veterans and the universal desire for peace. Our peace pole is graced with 8 different languages representative of the rich cultural history of Lake Oswego. They all translate to 'May Peace Prevail on Earth.' Thank you, Lake Oswego Rotary!

Learn more about the Peace Pole Project...

(3) Harison's Yellow 

Created by George Folliot Harison in the 1830s in his New York garden. Nurseryman William Prince took cuttings of the rose and sold them. Many New Yorkers who were venturing west bought starts and brought them across the prairie in covered wagons. 

(4) Ore Cart 

An exact replica of an original ore cart used 100 years ago by the iron industry to transfer iron ore from the Prosser Mine (located on the Iron Mountain Trail) to railroad cars and then to the smelting furnace. This ore cart sits on an original piece of track and was built as an Eagle Scout project by David Rollins with the assistance of his grandfather Roger Rollins. The cart's undercarriage is original, but David had to find a company that could fabricate the hopper and tilting release based on historical pictures, drawings, and measurements. 

(11, 13) Stafford Rose

The botanical names are not known to us, but the story of their acquisition is why we planted them in the historic garden. Dr. William Stafford and his wife Dorothy were long-time residents of Lake Oswego. William Stafford was a well-known writer, lecturer, and poet. He was Oregon's poet laureate for many years; Dorothy was a teacher in the Lake Oswego School District and an avid gardener. The story goes that the yellow rose was one that Dorothy planted outside the big picture window of her husband's office so he could watch it and be inspired by it. The coral rose was planted near their desk. 

(12, 17, 18) The Peace Rose Collection

The Peace rose was introduced by the French breeder Francis Meilland. The unnamed rose was introduced to friends and professional rose growers who gave it an enthusiastic 'thumbs up,' but three months later, Hitler invaded France. With the nursery under threat of destruction, three parcels of budwood quickly were sent out of France, one of which was smuggled into the US.

The rose did so well that it was decided to release it here. Although the war was still raging in Europe, the launch date was set for April 29, 1945, in Pasadena, CA. In naming the rose, this simple statement was read: "We are persuaded that this great new rose of our time should be named for the world's greatest desire: PEACE." 

(15) Seven Sisters Rose

This was rose was donated to OHC by Brenda Trainer-Huber, a native of Lake Oswego. It was planted in the front yard of the Waffle House on Kelock Rd. Author Erma Bombeck had the house built originally before it was purchased by the Waffles. It isn't clear who actually planted the rose. Seven Sisters is so named for the seven different varieties of color that can appear in each cluster of flowers. 

(20) Thelma 

This rose was also not offered by JB Pilkington & Son but was selected in honor of Candee Jones, OHC's Board President from 2016-2017 who played the part of the first Rose Festival Queen, Thelma Hollingsworth, for the Portland Rose Festival Association. "Thelma" is a very old rose and yellow in color. 

(23, 38) Cecile Brunner 

Grown in France by Marie Ducher and introduced by her son-in-law Joseph-Pernet Ducher in 1881. Many roses of the 30s and 40s were bred and grown by the French and date back to the late 1800s. Cecile Brunner is a very popular rose because of its shrub-like growth and disease resistance. It is one that Pilkington offered, and Dr. Cane probably would have grown. It is not clear if the rose was named after the sister (1853-1927) or daughter (b. 1879) of Ulrich Brunner.

(25) Baroness Rothschild

Owner of the French winery Château Mouton Rothschild. She acted under the stage name Philippine Pascale and was the only daughter of the vintner Baron Philippe de Rothschild, a member of the Rothschild banking dynasty.

(26) Madam Caroline Testout

Bred by French hybridizer Joseph Pernet-Ducher in 1890, this Hybrid Tea rose was bought by dressmaker Mme. Caroline Testout who named it after herself and launched it in her showrooms. The rose became popular and widely grown; the city of Portland, OR planted 10,000 of the variety throughout the city and earned the title "City of Roses" as a result. 

(27) Queen Elizabeth 

Next to 'Peace,' the most widely grown rose in the world. It was specially bred - the very first Grandiflora - in 1954 by the rose breeder Lammerts, to mark the Queen's Coronation in 1953. Queen Elizabeth proclaimed that to be named after her, the entire name must read "The Queen Elizabeth II Rose." This rose was inducted into the Rose Hall of Fame in 1979.

(31) Heritage 

A near perfect rose. Its classically shaped, old-fashioned rose blooms are a lovely, soft pink. One of the most outstanding of the English Roses. This is not a Pilkington-supplied rose, but it was selected because of its name and for its heady fragrance with a touch of lemon.

(33) Gertrude Jekyll

An influential English horticulturist, garden designer, and writer born in 1843. She created over 400 gardens in Europe and the US and wrote over 1,000 magazine articles. The Gertrude Jekyll rose was introduced in 1986, meaning Dr. Cane would not have had it in his garden and Pilkington would have have offered it, but it was included because of Jekyll's significant influence to American garden design during the early 1900s. 

(39) Zephirine Drouhin

Introduced in 1868 in France. Zephirine is a beautiful, high-centered, cerise-pink flowering with an overwhelming Bourbon fragrance.

(41) Mary Charlotte Foster Lilac

Named for the pioneer wife of Philip Foster, whose farm is located on 400-hundred acres in Eagle Creek. Mary Charlotte brought starts of the original lilac, healed in wooden tubs, with her on a sailing ship around Cape Horn to Oregon City. When Philip and Mary Charlotte built their house, a lilac start was planted close by. Today that lilac start is 100 feet tall and over 170 years old. 

Oswego Heritage House and Museum
398 10th St.
Lake Oswego, OR 97034
(503) 635-6373

Hours of Operation:
Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday
10:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Free entrance

The Oswego Heritage Council is a  501 (c)(3)
EIN # 93-0983947

Copyright © 2024, Oswego Heritage Council. All rights reserved.

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