Our History

The Foundation for William Temple House

was established in early 1965 when several lay members of the Oregon Episcopal Diocese met with Rev. Canon Clarence T. Abbott of the Parish of St. Mark in Portland. They gathered to discuss ways to embrace the Declaration of Mutual Responsibility and Interdependence, issued by Rt. Rev. John E. Hines, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church in America.

1970s Volunteers

Volunteers have served William Temple House since its founding in 1965.

As a result of their discussions, the group incorporated the Episcopal Layman’s Mission Society to operate a center for pastoral and licensed professional psychological counseling. They named their center in honor of William Temple, the late Archbishop of Canterbury and prolific author on Christian social action. A short time after the counseling center was launched, William Temple House expanded its role to include emergency material and financial assistance for individuals and families in crisis.

Since 1965, William Temple House has served Portland by providing help where it is needed on behalf of the disadvantaged and distressed in the community.

William Temple House outgrew its Marshall Street facilities and moved into the Mackenzie House on Northwest Hoyt Street in 1971. Abbott Hall, adjacent to Mackenzie House, was completed in 1981 to house the expanding counseling and social service programs. It is named in memory of Fr. Abbott, who served as executive director from 1965 until his death in 1990.

The Thrift Store, which helps support counseling and social services at William Temple House, is a few blocks away on Northwest Glisan Street.

Inside Mackenzie House

Influential Portland physician K.A.J. Mackenzie built the house that bears his name at the intersection of Northwest 20th Avenue and Hoyt Street in 1892 as a home for his family and a showplace for Pacific Northwest craftsmanship. A dedicated doctor and promoter of Portland, Mackenzie would participate in both the establishment of a medical school-now Oregon Health Sciences University-and the 1902 Lewis & Clark Exposition.

Historic Mackenzie House has been the home of William Temple House since 1971.

Historic Mackenzie House has been the home of William Temple House since 1971.

Mackenzie could afford to construct one of the largest and most ornate private residences in the city. Mackenzie House cost $100,000 to build and was the residence of the family until the death of Dr. Mackenzie in 1920.

Sold by family members after his death, the home passed through several owners, serving at times as a speakeasy and boarding house before it was acquired in 1946 by the Society of Jesus to serve as headquarters for the Jesuit’s Oregon Province. They remained at the home until the mid-1960’s when they moved to a new office building, two blocks west on Hoyt Street. Their tenure preserved most of the home’s interior from the destructive remodeling fashionable during the 1950s and 1960s, as well as subdivision into apartments.

The Mackenzie House was purchased by Good Samaritan Medical Center, who used it for an administrative office until it was sold in 1971 to William Temple House.


Built by architects Macaw and Martin, Mackenzie House followed the Richardsonian Romanesque style of the period which was intended to be evocative of the Medieval Castle popularized by the poetry of contemporary writer Sir Walter Scott. The home features a turret, narrow windows and elaborate porches. The exterior of the home is decorated with rough-hewn Tenino stone, quarried in Olympia, Washington, wrought iron railings and ornaments, and a slate roof.

Inside, the home is decorated with features consistent with the fashion of the period, as well as a personal interest to the Mackenzie family. Hand-carved golden oak, cherrywood and mosaic tilework adorn the home along with coffered ceilings with embossed white tin trim. Cherrywood panels and built-in book cases line the walls of the library, featuring an inglenook surrounding an Italian mosaic fireplace. Over the fireplace now hangs a photograph of William Temple, 1942-1944 Archbishop of Canterbury and prolific author of books on Christian social responsibility.

At the front door, over the foyer, hangs a gas light designed in the shape of a bat with a serpent winding above it. In Scottish folklore, this signified the triumph of medicine over witchcraft. Underneath, in the central hall, is an imported Venetian oak wedding chest from the Mackenzie home. The central hall ends underneath the vaulted staircase in a double-flued limestone fireplace bearing the family motto, “Luceo Non Uro” (I shine, not burn).



The dining room features a carved oak fireplace with limestone fossils inset into the face of the firebox. The candlesticks on the mantle were fashioned by the Rev. Victor Gibson from newel posts at the original William Temple House on Marshall Street. A china shelf is incorporated into the room’s wall paneling, which is now used to display commemorative dishes. The Scottish thistle motif is evident throughout the house in the woodwork, fireplace and much of the surviving stained glass.

Religious insignia, as well as the chapel, were later additions by the Jesuits. Originally named for the Jesuit martyr St. Edmund Campion, the Chapel of Joseph of Arimathea commemorates the legendary first Christian missionary to England and serves as the spiritual focal point for William Temple House.

Dominating the spiral staircase is the “Juliet Window”, an enclosed balcony featuring the likeness of one of the Mackenzie daughters designed by her mother, Cora, who also designed much of the wood carving, tile work and stained glass decor of the home. The ornate decore of the home carries onto the second floor, with golden oak trim and hand-painted tile-faced fireplaces by Cora Mackenzie in the master bedroom (now the office of the Executive Director), the eldest daughter’s room (office of the Director of Development) and the nursery (now a reception area).

More spartan in appearance is the former service staff living area at the rear of the second floor. This was accessed via a spiral staircase from the former kitchen area on the ground floor. Additional servants’ quarters, as well as Mrs. Mackenzie’s studio, was on the third floor. Mackenzie House was added to the National Register of Historic Places by the U.S. Department of the Interior on May 31, 1996.