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Black House fish fry held
Black House fish fry4.jpg
Jean Inman, left, and Jane Camp enjoy lunch at the Black House on Saturday. The annual fish fry fundraiser is offered to help preservation efforts at the historic home. Dr Pepper Bottling Company donated drinks for the meal. - photo by Lisa Hobbs

The Black House served up another delicious fish fry on Saturday. 

An annual event, proceeds raised are used for restoration and preservation efforts of the home. The Black House is the oldest remaining house in McMinnville. Built on acreage that was originally outside the city limits of McMinnville, this house is a good example of the Federal style that once lined city streets. 

Jesse Coffee built the home in 1825, but moved himself and his family to Viola the next year. This restored structure was subsequently home to a Revolutionary War solider, Lt. James Sheppard, and to Samuel Laughlin and to Judith Harrison. Mrs. Harrison planted the large magnolias in the front yard and helped introduce horticulture to McMinnville, leading to the city’s number of renowned gardens in the 1800s. 

A Confederate surgeon, Thomas Black (1837-1904), purchased the home in the days after the War Between the States and maintained his clinic and office there. His granddaughter, Jean Leonard, deeded the house and contents to the Eagle Fund for restoration in the mid-1980s. The house has been partially restored and includes many furnishings throughout the home. 

The Black House is on the National Register of Historic Places. After many years of restoration, it opened its doors to public tours.