Real Estate

Property Watch: A Brick Tudor That Feels like It’s on Top of Astoria

With the views to prove it

By Melissa Dalton October 10, 2022

Editor’s Note: Portland Monthly’s “Property Watch” column takes a weekly look at an interesting home in Portland’s real estate market (with periodic ventures to the burbs and points beyond, for good measure). This week: a dreamy, view-filled Astoria home with period details and a backyard carriage house. Got a home you think would work for this column? Get in touch at [email protected].

The Wicks family is a legacy in Astoria, at least when it comes to the town’s architecture. John E. Wicks immigrated from Finland in 1899, and opened his architectural practice there in 1904, designing more than 25 commercial buildings in what's now the downtown historic district, as well as a plethora of private residences. As a “voracious learner,” according to the Daily Astorian, the story goes that during the city's devastating fire of 1922 Wicks stood with a stopwatch as buildings collapsed, in order to use the knowledge to design more fire-resistant structures in the future. Wicks’s daughter, Ebba Wicks Brown, joined him on jobsites, apprenticed in his office, studied with Pietro Belluschi in Portland, and was the second woman in the state to become a licensed architect.

This particular Tudor was designed by Wicks and built by John Helstrom in 1937 for a bar pilot. Its lofty perch on Duane Street gives it stunning 180-degree views of the Columbia River and Washington state from every room. When not looking out the many windows, there are charming period details to appreciate inside and out, starting with the lovely red brick façade, which contrasts with fanciful aqua-painted window frames.

Inside, an arched doorway in the foyer leads to the living room, where the views start, including a peek at the iconic Astoria-Megler Bridge. Through another curved doorway is the dining room, its adjacent walls filled with large picture windows that look like just that: pictures capturing the sweep of the river and city below.

Original details like mahogany trim, crown molding, oak floors (refinished), and built-ins with leaded glass, mix well with more recent updates, like the kitchen’s smart subway tile, Shaker cabinets, and reproduction lighting.

There are three bedrooms and two bathrooms, one on each floor, with both baths competing for the prettiest window in the house with their colorful stained-glass.

The home sits on a large lot, about a half-acre, and all that room accommodates a second building: a carriage house atop a two-car garage. The apartment there has 1,080 square feet, with full living spaces under a vaulted ceiling, a bedroom, bathroom, and loft. It doesn’t skimp on the views either, thanks to a wraparound deck and back wall of windows.

This is a quiet street, but the action isn’t too far away. It’s just a five-minute walk down a pedestrian trail to visit Sunday Market, the Riverwalk, or one of the city’s top-notch shops and restaurants tucked inside other surviving Wicks buildings.

Listing Fast Facts 

Address: 172 Duane St, Astoria, OR 97103

Size:  2,952 square feet, 4 bedroom/3 bath (including a carriage house) 

List Date:  9/26/2022 

List Price:  $999,000

Listing Agent:  Caily Plant, Bree & Associates Real Estate, eXp Realty LLC

Melissa Dalton is a freelance writer who has focused on Pacific Northwest design and lifestyle since 2008. She is based in Portland, Oregon. Contact Dalton here.