Captain Armstrong’s House

Captain Armstrong’s House still standing after 120 years

One of Golden's oldest homes on 11th Street South is getting some touch ups.

One of Golden’s oldest homes has some new owners, and is getting some care to make sure the Queen Anne Revival style house stays as unique as it always was.

The most eye-catching piece of the property has to be the caboose in the front yard, but the house on 11th Street South has been a part of Golden since 1893.

“The architect and building of the house are unknown,” said Colleen Palumbo, executive director of the Golden Museum. However it is suspected that it was probably constructed by the premier house builder of the day, James Henderson.

It was built for Francis Patrick Armstrong, the first man to captain a riverboat on the Upper Columbia.

He built the first boat (officially called the Duchess, but often referred to as the “slabship” because it was built out of whip sawn lumber of differing dimensions), in 1886 to haul potatoes from Canal Flats to Golden.

The house is now referred to as Captain Armstrong’s House, and is part of the Town of Golden Heritage Inventory.

Armstrong continued to operate on the Columbia River until 1920, and continued adding to his fleet of ships as the settlers along the river started requiring more and more freight.

After Armstrong passed away, his widow kept the home for a few years before selling it. It has had several owners since then, and has received minor touch ups along the way.

The caboose, however, was added to the property more recently, when it was owned by local resident Bruce Fairley.

Wendell Johnston has been tasked with repainting the old home, and anticipates around 180 man hours to get the job done.

Extensive prep work was required, carefully sanding down the exterior of the house, as maintaining the originality of the building is of the upmost importance.


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