Welcome to the Skylands NA Website
The property now known as Skylands was for many years owned by Marylhurst University and the Sisters of St. Mary's. The sisters farmed the land, particularly the property at the top of Crestline and the nine lots at the top of south side of Greenbluff Drive, along Crestline Drive and Crestline Court, currently known a Skyland Heights. A wagon road cut is still barely visible at the lower part of Greenbluff, veering north and switch-backing up the hill off Greenbluff just north of the culvert crossing Greenbluff. This road provided the access from the convent to the farmland above.
In 1951, Ferry and Cora Smith purchased the land now platted as Skyland I, II and III, as well as Skyland Heights, Skyland Point View Estates and the acreage along south east end of the Skylands Drive private road. A large greenhouse that was located behind the Smiths' house supplied much of the landscaping materials originally planted by the early homeowners, reputedly at Cora Smith's insistence.
Early residents tell of horse riding trails that traversed Skylands from Highway 43 up and over to Stafford and Rosemont Roads. The Smiths logged the properties both to raise money for the development and to improve the views. Early aerial photos of Skylands III show the properties virtually denuded of trees. Some larger trees were left standing, particularly in Skyland I.
Judge Bob Jones and his wife Pearl tell of a whole neighborhood walks to celebrate New Year's. Bob and Pearl recall paying $12,000 in 1963 for their large lot on the corner of Skyland Drive and Upper Cherry Lane. Adjoining lots were sold for $10,000, zero down and 6% interest. Apparently Smith's development was chronically underfunded. Bruce Kegg, a surveyor and early partner of Ferry Smith, performed surveying in exchange for a property along the private drive portion of Skyland Drive. The original roads were graveled and oiled rather than paved. Since the roads did not meet county standards, they were never accepted by Clackamas County and, as a consequence, many of us have shared the burden of paying for their maintenance and repaving. Early legal work was performed by Oglesby (Oge) Young's law firm, Lane Powell Spears Lubersky (now named Lane Powell). Oge was a longtime resident on Viewpoint Lane, board member and lawyer for the Skylands Water Company. He saw to it that Skylands rarely paid legal fees.
While the Smiths sometimes economized on infrastructure, many of the early houses were designed by very prominent architects of the time, including Roscoe Hemenway, Richard Sundeleaf, Burton J. Goodrich and Sol Zack, and were constructed of fine materials with excellent craftsmanship. This tradition of care for design and aesthetic beauty continues to the present. Such beautiful homes, a strong tradition of neighborliness and gorgeous mountain views and scenery make Skylands such a very special place to live.
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