The Hover-Minthorn House Museum was built in 1881 by Jesse Edwards who is considered the “Father of Newberg.”
Jesse Edwards followed fellow Quaker, William Hobson, to the Newberg area to establish a community of Friends. When Edwards arrived in Portland, he took a steamer down the Willamette River to Dayton. He purchased a non-productive wheat farm from Peter Hagey. The property had been the northern part of the Joseph Rogers Donation Land Claim. Edwards proceeded to break up the property into lots for a town. This eastern part of Newberg became known as “The Godly End,” and for a time, competed with a separate community at the western end known as “Froggy End.”
Eventually the two towns grew together, but the influence of conservative Quakers long remained in many of the deeds in the Godly End. Edwards had added a provision when he sold home sites that if alcohol was found on the premises, the deeds would revert to the grantor! Newberg was a dry town until 1966.
Edwards became a prominent businessman in Newberg. He founded and was president of the First U.S. National Bank of Newberg and owned a brick-yard company, a sawmill, a drain-tile factory, a mercantile store, and a warehouse for handling wheat. He also contributed to the town’s social fabric. He established the Friends Pacific Academy, twice served as mayor of the town and was a member of the school board for many years.
Edwards built a number of houses in Newberg in addition to the Hoover-Minthorn House Museum. In 1883, he built a large house on College Street that is now used as a residence by the President of George Fox University. In collaboration with Portland cardiologist Albert Starr, Edwards’ grandson, M. Lowell Edwards, developed the artificial heart valve. Lowell Edwards invented many other devices and when he died in 1982; he had 63 registered patents.
- Tom Fuller and Christy Van Heukelem. Images of America: Newberg (Charleson: Arcadia Publishing, 2010).
- George P. Edmonston, Jr. Newberg: Stories from the Grubby End (Newberg: The Oregon Press, 2014)
- George P. Edmonston, Jr. “The Tinkerer” at http://osughost.imodules.com/s/resources/templates/login/index.aspx?sid=359&gid=1&pgid=509