By Erika Kar
There is a house on Heiderscheit Drive that sits in a meadow, all tucked up against Goat Wall. It is a home that many people have admired through many years. I am certain that it has been photographed countless times, particularly in the summer, at twilight, when the glow of the grass in the waning sun gives the home a particular beauty. Or in the winter when the house appears to have been gently placed atop the blanket of snow and the Christmas lights outlining the pitched roof twinkle like stars.
Matt Heiderscheit built this house in the early 1900s, although the exact year is not completely clear. Yes, there really is a Heiderscheit. I had always thought that Heiderscheit was a German word meaning “sneeze” or something along those lines. But it is not.
Heiderscheit, according to Doug Devin, was a German builder who helped others build their homes in the Methow in addition to his own three-story home. On Matt’s property, he also built a barn for his herd of milk cows and some outbuildings.
Fast-forward nearly 100 years. This house is now the home of the Northey family — Scott, Lisa and their two children. Scott purchased the home in 1996 along with four friends that enjoyed paragliding together. The group donated most of the 18-acre parcel to Methow Conservancy for a conservation easement.
Along the way, Scott bought out his friends and then considered tearing down the house. It had only cost $5,000 and certainly needed much work. Thankfully, he chose to restore it instead. Newspapers dating back to 1911 were found in the walls, but the home may have been built earlier than that. Lisa Northey explains that the Homestead Act ruled that improvements must be made on homes within five years of being built. Whatever the exact date though, it is said that it is the oldest house in Mazama.
In 2011 the Northeys moved to Mazama full-time from Seattle and the home is still being restored. Lisa tells me that people often declare their love for the house. Before they were full-time Mazamans and would come for weekends and holidays, they would arrive to find notes on the doorstep from people wanting to buy it. They once were approached by a woman who wanted a tour, as she had lived in the home during the 1960s.
I believe that Matt Heiderscheit would be pleased to see that his home is not only still standing, but is being loved, admired and lived in over 100 years after he built it. What a legacy!