The Curious Stone House

On a recent outing, my wife and I came upon a wooded treasure in Washington along the Columbia River. Aside from the intriguing destination and visuals, what struck me was an additional, but unrelated to the house, reference in local history about the ‘mysterious’ Nellie Corser. 

So, I searched a bit. I, as yet, don’t know much about the house…whether it was a home or more likely a cabin to escape city life. But, I did find some details about Nellie, which I will share after some images. So now for the curious escape….

First, here is a photo of the interior view of the fireplace covered in moss. Note the roof is off the house…

nellie corser house fireplace SwittersB

Next is a side view of the fireplace and a view up into the wooded slope…

Nellie Corser Stone House Fireplace SwittersB

Below is the houses’ back door and stone facade with a chimney that was in the kitchen area at the back of the house.

Nellie Corser Stone House Back Door SwittersB

Next is a view from a window at the back of the house toward the fireplace or front room…

Nellie Corser Stone House Living Rm SwittersB

Below is a shelf insert. There was one on either side of the fireplace/windows. Perhaps for lanterns etc.

Nellie Corser Stone House Shelf SwittersB

Next you can see where a cedar tree came crashing down across the side of the house or behind the kitchen area. The wall stayed intact. The walls have in interior/exterior cement face with stones mortared onto the wall surfaces.

Nellie Corser Stone House Tree Down SwittersB

Here you see the tree down into a back room. One is standing in the kitchen area I believe (based on old, clay drain pipes to the outside)

Nellie Corser Stone House Back Room SwittersB

Below: This is the front wall of the house. The entryway is to the right. The top half of the front wall has tumbled outward on to ground in front of the house as it faced the Columbia River. The rock structure was an interior wall separating the entryway and the living area out of sight, to the left. The next image below shows the similar rock wall formation. You can notice the ledge around the inside that the flooring set atop.

Nellie Corser Stone House Side Wall SwittersB


Nellie Corser Stone House Interior Wall SwittersB

Below is a view from the outside to the side of the fireplace looking into the house toward the kitchen and far side of the house…Nellie Corser Stone House Windows SwittersB


Inside-Nellie Corser-Stone House-SwittersB.jpg

Below: Here is a view of the interior of the house from a slightly elevated position…

Nellie Corser Stone House Top View SwittersB

This is the view of the front of the house. The front walls, in places, have fallen forward and are in the foreground of this image.

Nellie Corser Stone House Approach SwittersB

The above images hopefully captured some wooded magic that the builders must have witnessed. The mystery remains about the actual construction of the house…for now. But, the mystery of Nellie is less clouded and with what little I found out interesting to consider.

Nellie Poppleton (maiden name)…Corser (married name):

I will tell it in a somewhat chronological order for those interested in the Corser/Poppleton family lineage. I didn’t go way back to Colonial times but rather to what I would call Pacific NW Pioneer times (1800’s) up to 1900’s. 

The Poppleton’s

Edgar Poppleton and his wife, Nancy Shelton left Ohio for Oregon in 1853. 

Edgar Poppleton Pioneer Oregon 1853

One can see from an 1880 Oregon Census (below), from Lafayette, Oregon, that the Poppletons had several children. The youngest, at the time of the 1880 Oregon Census was Nellie at 11/12 months old (DOB 07/01/1879). You can also see the family unit above Edgar Poppleton’s name, that his probable brother, Edwin had brought his family to Oregon. Also, note that Nellie’s grandmother is living with them and is listed as 70 y/o (‘Mrs. Poppleton’).

Nellie Poppleton 1880 Census

There are not online images of Nellie or the family that I could find. There was a probable one of Edgar Poppleton at a Sherwood, Oregon brick factory in 1890 (below/far right). 

Dr.Poppleton Sherwood 1890

I could find nothing about Nellie Poppleton’s schooling or younger years. I did find that on January 1, 1913, Nellie Poppleton wed one Irving Corser (Courser) DOB 06/30/1874. 

By 1918 Irving is registered for the WWI Draft and lists Nellie as his wife in Portland, Oregon.

Draft Irving 1918 Oregon

The 1930 Oregon Census shows Nellie and Irv Corser living, without children, in Portland, Oregon.


 A small hint re the Corser’s connection to Skamania County is revealed in Irving Corser’s death. Irv passed away in 1950 at North Bonneville, Skamania County, Washington.  Records show Nellie died in Portland, Oregon in 1968.

Irving J Corser Death


Nellie P. Corser Death 1968

Historically, all of the Poppleton and Corser family members referenced above appear to be buried at the Riverview Cemetery in SW Portland. I hope the biographical info is of some use to the families should any of them embark upon their genealogical heritage. 

Nellie & Irv Corser

This was a very nice place to visit. One could imagine the magic of it all…it is a shame some people cannot comprehend such magic….

graffiti Corser house SwittersB-2

While, thank goodness, others can…

Corser Fireplace SwittersB


I was recently (2019) contacted by the owners of the magical stone house. I have removed the previously provided how to get there info. Please respect the owner’s wishes/rights and stay away from the property. Don’t point the way.

From the owners…Colleen/John Bosshart….”We are the owners of the 7 acre parcel on which the stone house is sited.  We lived out of state for several years, and upon our return to Washington, we were shocked at the condition of the site.   We are trying to discourage visits to the stone house because the lush vegetation that was once at the site has been destroyed.  We are trying to contact all of those who have listed the stone house on hiking websites to ask that they discontinue providing its location and directions on how to get there.  It is private property and anyone visiting the site without our permission is trespassing.   We will greatly appreciate your cooperation.”  

Colleen and John Bosshart

24 Responses to “The Curious Stone House”

  1. 1 Kyla Ball
    September 20, 2019 at 10:38

    My fiancee and I are trying to find a way to contact the owners, John and Colleen. Would you by chance be willing to privately share their email?


  2. 3 curiousgorgeguidebook
    February 23, 2016 at 10:40

    Hey Gary, scott here again. Nice changes, deft touch, as re-editing is such a chore. One question…can you tell me the exact date you took the pic with the graffiti in it? I wanted to blame the Facebook post for the “art”, but perhaps I jump to conclusions. The FB post was only posted on Feb 15th…when did you visit for your pix?


  3. February 18, 2016 at 01:30

    Good to see you make such an interesting tour


  4. February 17, 2016 at 20:04

    Wonderful pictures of what is for me an enchanting place

    A fine offering

    Best Always



  5. 8 curiousgorgeguidebook
    February 17, 2016 at 12:50

    Switters, hey this is Scott, the author of that Gorge hiking book you referenced not by name. I think you found this Stone House using my directions, but I don’t think in my guidebook entry that I attempted to imply that this stone house ruins was in any way attached to Nellie Corser. In my book I simply grouped them on the same page because they were short outings near each other. I hope you will visit the actual site of Nellie’s House up on Duncan Creek, and then adjust this blog post accordingly if need be. I’m a passionate Gorge historian and I’d hate my info in my book leading to a misunderstanding which then would perpetuate. I’m guessing that your blog has somehow spurred about 1000 hits to my blog the past week. I guess thanks for that, but I’m far more concerned with getting Gorge history straightened-out than further confused. Please lemme know what you think…if you have my book then my direct email is on the copyright page. cheers, scott


    • February 17, 2016 at 13:59

      Oh I can see the two sets of directions the / threw me off I guess…so research re Nellie stands and I will rename the post and steer Nellie/Irv away from the Stone House…it was a nice pairing…in my mind 🙂


    • February 17, 2016 at 14:17

      I just posted this morning Scott so it must be just your own magic 🙂 I amended the post and appreciate you reaching out re the Stone House. Love your book!!!


      • 11 curiousgorgeguidebook
        February 17, 2016 at 14:35

        Thx SwittersB…I do love trying to untangle the threads of Gorge history! I found out though that it wasn’t your blog that peppered my blog—it is instead a Facebook post on “Abandoned Oregon” group. I’m not sure they have the history correct there either though. Web research is often erroneous, as it would be if you weren’t to correct the Nellie/Stone House mistake. On that FB post, I’m not at all certain that the Pedersen house is the stone house in question, as a local has told me otherwise once.
        Cheers from New Zealand, my other author job….scott


        • February 17, 2016 at 15:40

          Oh wow! Enjoy!!! and thank you again for reaching out.


        • 13 Mason E
          June 2, 2018 at 13:12

          We visited the Gorge in April and came across a copy of the Curious Gorge Guidebook in the cabin we stayed in. On the day we planned to visit Beacon Rock I caught the entry on the stone house that was just before it and thought it sounded like it would be fun to check out. Later that day while hiking Beacon Rock we met a woman and her college age grandson who were visiting for the weekend and learned that they were the granddaughter and great great grandson of Charles Johnson who was the engineer on Beacon Rock. They mentioned that their next stop was to go see the ruins of the stone house he and his family had lived in. Since I had just read the entry about a stone house that morning I asked where it was located and learned that it was the same house from the book. So hopefully this solves a bit of the mystery.


  6. February 17, 2016 at 07:25

    I love the mossy old ruin. Fit for a hobbit or some elves. Like the history too.


  7. February 17, 2016 at 05:41

    These stones with moss are amazing dear Gary, they are almost talking… Especially the composition of the number 10 fascinated me. So impressive and so interesting the story. Thank you dear, Love, nia


  8. February 17, 2016 at 05:28

    Could not help but think if this Poppleton was related to your Poppleton.


  9. February 17, 2016 at 05:26

    Wonderful post. Great pictures and super citations to add reality to a magic place. What a shame that someone had to believe that their ‘artwork’ was as important as nature’s.


  10. February 17, 2016 at 05:18

    I must commend you on this post – it is fantastic. Love history. This house was so well built and would be a fantastic place to live back in Nellie’s day. I think you did pretty good there finding information on Nellie. Thanks for sharing the photos and the information on Nellie and her family. Love this. A++

    Liked by 1 person

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