The Oscar Magnuson House

The Oscar Magnuson House


The Oscar Magnuson HouseThe Oscar Magnuson House

Magnuson House 1926Magnuson House with Eunice, Harriet, Kendall, Helen & Oscar (B. Scott)
The Oscar Magnuson House is a two-story Frame Vernacular structure which was built c.1919. The building retains many of its original external features including the wood frame double-hung sash windows, wood siding, and exposed rafter tails at the eaves. The building also originally included a one-story front porch which has been removed. The one-story section to the rear is a later addition.

Internally, the structure retains much of its original layout and finish. Almost every wall surface of the interior is covered with wood beading which runs either diagonally, horizontally, or vertically. The diagonal and vertical patterns are used mainly in the public rooms on the first floor and the horizontal pattern is used mainly in the bedrooms on the second floor.

Although originally designed as a single-family residence, the structure and the site were used as a commercial plant nursery in the 1980s.

Oscar Magnuson

Magnuson Family in SwedenOscar Magnuson’s birthplace and family members (B. Scott)
Oscar Sten Magnusson was born in Sweden on August 11, 1875. The farm on which Oscar was born is now owned by the 7th generation of the family1. The adjacent photograph shows the house and family members including Oscar’s mother Kristina Magnusson (far left), his father Johan Magnusson (third from left), and one of his brothers Josef Magnusson (far right).

Originally, the family name was Magnusson; however, at some point an “s” was dropped to change the name to Magnuson.

On leaving Sweden, Oscar and his brother Hjalmar moved to Chicago and then Oscar relocated to Boynton Beach. It is not known when Oscar purchased this property; however, we know that he lived on a shed on the site prior to building the house2. It is likely he built the house around the time of his marriage in 1918 which ties in with the estimated date of construction of c.1919. The small shed was retained on site after the house was completed3 but is now gone. Records also show that in 19264 and 19275 Oscar owned the lots immediately to the north of this property.

Magnuson House with Kendall & OscarMagnuson House with Kendall & Oscar (B. Scott)
On April 27, 19186, Oscar married Eunice Edna Benson (maiden name Kendall) who had one daughter, Helen, from a previous marriage which ended when her husband passed away. Eunice was born in Wisconsin on May 4, 1892. It is not known when she moved to Florida. At some point her parents also moved to Florida as, in 1922, the Miami News reported that ‘Rev. and Mrs. N.H. Kendall of Lake Worth were calling at the home of their daughter, Mrs. Oscar Magnuson, Sunday afternoon.’7

Oscar earned a living as a farmer by growing ferns at his fernery located on High Ridge Road somewhere between Gateway Boulevard and Hypoluxo Road. The ferns were packed in ice and shipped by rail to northern markets. Oscar also grew and grafted mango and avocado trees.

Oscar and Eunice had four children:

Harriet Louise Magnuson Goepfert – born June 3, 1919, died June 29, 1999.

Stanley Oscar Magnuson – born August 17, 1920, died September 9, 1920.

Kendall Magnuson – born in 1923, died April 10, 1928.

Betty Jean Magnuson Law Zobel – born June 12, 1927, died September 12, 2014.

Magnuson Family members

In 1924 Oscar was appointed as a volunteer fireman with the newly organized fire department8. Eunice was renowned as an extremely good seamstress, was involved in local government (through her positions as Town Clerk9, Inspector of the General Election10, and Clerk of the General Election11), and she was a member of the Woman’s Club12.

At some point following 1927, Oscar and Eunice separated and Eunice and the children moved to a house directly across Ocean Avenue from the Magnuson House.

Records show that Eunice was removed from the Registration Book of the City in 194613 when it is believed she moved to Jacksonville to be with her oldest daughter Helen14. At some point, Eunice moved back to Boynton Beach and lived on NE 9th Avenue. She died on March 13, 1958.

Oscar Magnuson died in Boynton Beach on October 28, 1959 aged 84 years old.

The Oscar Magnuson House was added to the Boynton Beach Register of Historic Places in 2012 for its architectural and historical significance as it is a fine example of a Frame Vernacular structure from the city’s pioneer days and it is associated with the life of Oscar Magnuson, a city pioneer.

  • 1. David Hultman, family member and owner of Oscar Magnuson’s birthplace. Personal communication January 17, 2012
  • 2. Personal communication with Barbara Scott November 20, 2012
  • 3. Ibid
  • 4. Special Meeting of the Board of Commissioners, August 10, 1926
  • 5. Regular Meeting of the Board of Town Commissioners, August 2, 1927
  • 6. Clerk & Comptroller, Palm Beach County website
  • 7. The Miami News, February 15, 1922
  • 8. Krassy S.P. et. al., City of Boynton Beach, Florida Historic Sites Survey, Research Atlantica, Inc., 1996, p27
  • 9. Minutes of a special meeting of the Town Council, May 23, 1921
  • 10. Minutes of a Regular Meeting of the Board of Town Commissioners, May 6, 1941
  • 11. Minutes of a Regular Meeting of the Board of City Commissioners, March 3, 1942
  • 12. Regular Meeting of the Board of Commissioners, September 7, 1926
  • 13. Resolution, February 26, 1946
  • 14. Personal communication with Barbara Scott November 20, 2012