Peter A. Roose Homestead

Roose Prairie Homestead
Figure No. 1: Roose Prairie Homestead

Located roughly a mile west of Ozette Lake in the far western reaches of Olympic National Park, the Peter A. Roose Homestead is a site significant to the secondary generation of Scandinavian settlers of this region. Arriving in the early years of the 20 th C, Peter Roose established a small subsistence farm just inland from the Pacific shore. Apparently a quiet, but resourceful man, Mr. Roose lived at the farm for around 40 years. He cleared sites for the homestead and pasture land. He constructed a number of structures, of which four remain in various states of repair.

The buildings though are only one element of the larger cultural landscape of the Roose Homestead. Once on his small property, additional qualities of the landscape expand the character of the site beyond the structures. One sees patterns of spatial organization and the extent of land uses and activities. Within these patterns are the relationships of buildings to circulation arrangements, vegetation, boundaries, and the natural environments.

This discussion focuses on the buildings extant at the site. Excellent studies though have been produced on the cultural legacy embodied in the site and the larger context of the cultural landscape. Dr. Brian B. Magnussons paper on Observations on the Material Culture of the Scandinavian Immigrant Settlement at Lake Ozette and Royal (1880-1910) provides an understanding of the cultural influences at the site stemming from Scandinavian traditions. 1   In 1989, the Department of Landscape Architecture at the University of Oregon conducted studies of historic landscapes, including Roose Prairie Homestead. 2

At present, the buildings on the Roose Prairie Homestead consist of the house, well, and barn and root cellar.

House, Roose Homestead
Figure No. 2: House, Roose Homestead

The Roose Homestead House is a remarkable vernacular structure. It is a testament to Peter Roose as a craftsman and the independent subsistence lifestyle of one of the last homestead settlers.

The building is exactly twice as long as it is wide. It consists of two rooms, the parlor and kitchen. The parlor is an exact square, while the kitchen is slightly smaller. As the formal room, the parlor is wallpapered. The kitchen is exposed natural wood. The complete house construction appears to be fabricated entirely from clear cedar, including the framing. The principle fenestration is on the east wall for morning light. Only one small window and the entry door appear on other weather sides of the north and west. The building has an exterior sheathing of tapered lap siding with only a 3" exposure. At the corners, the siding does not have trim, but rather a simple square corner bead. The eaves of the shake roof are extended for protection. The structure is raised on foundation piers for ventilation. The building is well constructed and in an overall good condition.

  • The site around the house is open with no decorative landscape or trees. It is a relatively flat site with only a shallow slope from southwest to northeast.


    The vegetation around the house should be kept cut down and positive drainage grade maintained away from the base of the building.

  • The structure consists of primary end beam and secondary transverse beams bearing on creosote wood piers. According to NPS staff at Ozette Lake ranger station, the cabin was lifted and the piers installed in 1970.

    The walls are composed of 4 x 4 primary studs at corners and around doors and windows. Intermediate flat 2 x 4 infill studs are used between the primary studs. There is a 1 x sub-sheathing.

    The rafters are 2 x 4 at roughly 2 feet o.c. Collar ties are 4 x 4 members, mortised around the rafters 10" above the plate. The ceiling is at the collar tie elevation, creating a hipped interior wall.

    At the north entry door, a small set of stairs must have existed for access. These stairs are no longer present, allowing exposure of some of the sill and wall framing to be exposed to the elements.

    There is a small area of deterioration in the longitudinal sill beam at the southeast corner, but it appears stable and sound enough for continued use.

  • Recommendation:

    The structure is generally in good condition. Creosote piers will eventually deteriorate though, and periodic inspections should note their condition. Eventually more permanent piers will be needed in the future.

    To protect the exposed framing at the entry door, either the stairs should be reconstructed or a non-historic infill panel should be installed. At present, there is no photographic evidence of the stairs. Until more evidence is available or there is some seasonal on-site management of the site (when some form of access stairs will be needed), it would be better to install a weather panel assembly at the stair location to protect the sill and framing members from the weather.

Siding and Trim:
  • The walls are sheathed on the exterior with a narrow tapered lap siding. The siding is only 4 1/2' long, tapering from 3/4" to 1/4". It is lapped one inch, allowing an exposure of 3". Most of the siding is in serviceable condition. There is an area of siding missing at the southwest corner. At the base of the siding is a water table board. The board needs to be re-secured in selected locations and a broken section on the west side replaced. A small section is missing at the northeast corner. Below the water table board are two courses of foundation skirting boards. These boards are missing on the south, west, and north elevations.

    Trim around the windows is 1" x stock and in good condition. The corner trim is square stock with the siding butting into it. There is a small section of the corner trim missing on the northwest corner.

    There is evidence that the house was painted on the exterior at one point in time with the main portion white and a minor element of red on the doorjambs.

    Recommendation: To protect the wall framing, the missing siding, water table board, and skirting should be restored.

    Some consideration should be given to repainting the house for both material preservation and original appearance. In his report, Dr. Magnusson states there were traditional painting schemes associated with Swedish settlements and these are reflected in the Roose house. 3   The body of the structure should be painted white and all the trim with red, such as the doorjamb, painted red. Some addition research on traditional painting schemes may be required to identify the correct color for trim elements that have completely lost all paint evidence. If no information can determine original color for some trim elements, then paint them white as a preservation measure.

  • The roof is composed of five courses of cedar shakes, double laid, 32" long with 24" to the weather. They appear relatively new. They are laid over spaced sheathing in the attic and solid sheathing at the eaves and gables. There is a small area of deterioration in the roof sheathing at the southeast corner.

    The attic shows no sign of leakage and is very dry. The shakes were installed with over long nails, resulting in nail points exposed in the sheathing.

    Rafter tail trim and molding is missing along the eaves of the roof. They should match the trim and molding of the east gable.


    The roof appears to be watertight and in good condition. The eave trim should be replaced. In the future, shake nail sizing should not allow for sheathing penetration.

  • There are four windows in the Roose House, two fixed multi-paned on the east elevation, one 1 over 1 double hung on the south elevation, and a single lite fixed window on the west elevation.

    The frames of the east windows appear sound but the glazing is failing. The frame of the double hung is weathered and needs partial sash replacement or repair, and then reglazed.


    Maintenance attention to the windows should include reglazing, sash repair and painting.

  • There is only the single, solid entry door on the exterior. The door appears in sound and serviceable condition.


    The door should be included in any historic painting scheme.

  • The interior is composed of two rooms, the parlor, or "fine room", and the kitchen, where domestic activities took place.

    In the parlor a flower patterned wallpaper is used for the walls and a plain wallpaper for the ceiling. The wallpaper is stained in various locations from roof leaks. Furnishings are present, but in an abandon form. A wood stove with associated chimney piping and a modern stepladder are stored in the parlor.

    The kitchen is also filled with scattered items of food cans, worn clothing, and various domestic materials in an abandon manner. The interior is a natural wood surface, functional but not decorative.

    There are no records in the archives associated with an historic inventory of the contents of the building. It is difficult to judge what items were associated with the Roose occupancy period.


    Treatment options for the interior should be based on future anticipated function. Options can range from preservation in the current state, restoration for interpretation, or even potential seasonal occupancy. Until such a decision is made, the contents should not be disturbed. If some alteration or improvements are considered, then a basic object inventory should be conducted.

    In terms of preservation, keeping a sound building envelope will insure long term care of the interior for the present future.

House Plan, Roose
Figure No. 3: House Plan, Roose Homestead

House Section, Roose
Figure No. 4: House Section, Roose Homestead


Well, Roose
Figure No. 5:Well, Roose Homestead

The Roose Homestead well is an iconic element of the sustenance lifestyle and adds greatly to the character of the site. It is not listed on the National Register Nomination as an element of the site but is included on the list of Classified Structures for the Park. It is included here as a structure that should be preserved as part of the cultural landscape.

The Well Structure:

This small wood frame structure is in a weathered but serviceable condition from the level of grade above. It covers a small round well hole where water level is only two feet below the ground surface. The base of the structure below ground is seriously deteriorated and the structure can easily be "rocked" back and forth. It is an easy candidate for simply being pushed over.


The superstructure of the well house should be preserved, but the wood foundation casing around the top of the well needs to be replaced. Consideration should be given to "planking over" the well at grade level just as a precautionary safety measure.

Well Section, Roose
Figure No. 6: Well, Roose Homestead


Barn, Roose
Figure No. 7: Barn, Roose Homestead

The Roose Homestead Barn was completely reconstructed in 2001 to match the original structure. All the building material is new, including new concrete pier blocks, sill beam, frame, siding and roof. The building is in very good condition and will just need periodic maintenance inspections from possible storm damage.

Barn, Roose
Figure No. 8: Interior corner of Roose Homestead Barn showing sill beam and base of frame.

Barn, Roose
Figure No. 9: : Interior corner of Roose Homestead Barn showing corner post, plate and rafters.

Root Cellar

Root Cellar, Roose

Figure No. 10: Root Cellar, Roose Homestead

Located west of the house at the edge of the clearing, the grade begins a gradual slope downward into thick vegetation. Aligned normal to the slope is a small structure referred to as the "root cellar" or "root house".

The structure has a lower level off of grade from the down slope wall and a second level just three feet below the wall plate line. The west elevation has a door opening and only a partial lower wall section of horizontal boards. On the other elevations, there is a lower band of split cedar plank that skirt the walls at roughly three feet above grade. Then the exterior walls changes to a tapered lap siding with a "water table" board at the base of the siding. The siding is only 5' - 6" in height on the eave walls (some siding is missing on the east wall). The siding and water table terminate at the west wall in uneven lengths, extending out beyond the wall line.

There is something troubling about this structure. It does not have the characteristics of a roof cellar built into the grade where the temperature is tempered by the ground. Peter Roose was acknowledged as an accomplished craftsman, and the work on the house attests to his talents. This structure does have lap siding similar to the house and a very well executed water table at the lower termination of the siding.

Water Table, Root Cellar, Roose
Figure No. 11:Watertable, Root Cellar, Roose Homestead

The workmanship of the building below this line is incongruous with what Peter Roose exercised on the house. Then there is the uneven termination of the siding at the west wall, suggesting at one time it extended further. It strongly appears this structure was altered after Roose death by either having a portion of a building moved to the site, or an existing structure lifted. Without further historical research, it is difficult to understand how this building evolved.

  • The site around the building has grown and elevated above the main floor level, allowing moisture to penetrate into the floor and sub-structure of the support frame.


    The grade around the building needs to be changed to control roof runoff and environmental moisture away from the base of the building.

  • There is serious deterioration in the floor and structure at the base of all walls. At least one wall is beginning to list. If left unattended, the building will continue to have differential distress and fail.


    Treatment options for stabilizing the structure are 1) install temporary bracing, but acknowledge some deterioration would continue, 2) install semi-permanent shoring and hold the building in situ, or 3) to permanently re-build the deteriorated lower portion of all the walls. Until more evidence can be developed on the provenance of the building's history, semi-permanent shoring is the recommendation.

  • The roof structure and shake roof appear to be in good condition.


    Monitor for condition.

  • The interior of the building is strewn with discarded metal, paper and cardboard. Much, if not all, will need to be removed for any shoring work.

Root Cellar, Roose
Figure No. 12: Root Cellar, Roose Homestead


Fence, Roose
Figure No. 13: Fence, Roose Homestead

Around the perimeter of the Roose Homestead are remnants of a fence. These sections of wood fence have a delicate and refined character. The fence is more than a boundary for stock. It is a statement of domestication and order within the wilderness. A site condition assessment drawing completed by NPS in 1999 illustrated an extensive series of fencing throughout the homestead. 4   By 2009 most of the fencing had been lost to undergrowth and decay. The fence design and system defined the homestead and adds greatly to the character of the site. It is included here as a structure that should be preserved as part of the cultural landscape.


Building on the work done in 1999, the NPS should conduct a cultural landscape inventory to verify the fencing system and its defining qualities in understanding the homestead.

  • The Fence Structure:

    The fence consists of 4" x 8" primary posts. In the presently existing portion of the fence the posts are roughly 11' x 0" on center. The 1999 assessment documents this condition varied depending on where the fence was located. Two 2 1/4" x 3" horizontal rails span between posts. Attached to the rails are 1" x 1" vertical pickets of alternating height. The fence was painted red, the same color as the trim on the house. The fence is in poor condition with deteriorating posts.


    The fence should be preserved. New posts will be need, but many of the original pickets can be reused. While all the site fencing need not be restored, a selected section of fence should be preserved/reconstructed.

Fence, Roose
Figure No. 14: Fence, Roose Homestead

1   Magnusson, Brian B. Ph. D., Observations on the Material Culture of the Scandinavian Immigrant Settlement at Lake Ozette and Royal (1880-1910), December 15, 2000, archives of Olympic National Park.
2   Roose's Prairie Homestead and Kestner-Higley Homestead: a Study of two Historic Homesteads, conducted for the Pacific Northwest Regional Office, National Park Service and Olympic National Park, Department of Landscape Architecture, University of Oregon, December, 1989.
3   Op.cit., Magnusson, page 36.
4   Nels Roose Homestead, 1999 Site Condition, conducted by Keith Garnett, Portland, Oregon; on file at the archives of Olympic National Park.

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