© 2023 | Jefferson Public Radio
Southern Oregon University
1250 Siskiyou Blvd.
Ashland, OR 97520
541.552.6301 | 800.782.6191
a service of Southern Oregon University
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Retired Actress’s House Resembles Boat in Coos Bay, Ore.

Actress Edna Skinner and her friend Jean Fish retired in the 1970’s in Coos Bay, Ore, where Skinner built a 6,000-square-foot, boat-shaped house designed by Fish.  The Coos Bay newspaper, The World, has described the house as “one of the South Coast’s architectural marvels.”

Real estate agent Shana Jo Armstrong recently told The World that people often mistake the house for a real boat. It’s perched on Simpson Heights next to Ferry Road Park with a view of the bay below.  The house has four bedrooms, three baths, three kitchens, three fireplaces, a huge wet bar and an indoor Jacuzzi encased by stained glass.

The owner today is Paris Fish, son of Skinner’s friend Janet.  He told The World that Skinner and his mother regularly entertained 300 guests at fully catered, over-the-top parties at the house, “with ice sculptures and food flown in from all over.”

Skinner was best known for her role as Kay Addison in the 1960’s’ television series featuring the talking mule, “Mr. Ed.”  Among her full-length films are “Easy to Love,” “Long, Long Trailer,” and "Friendly Persuasion,” and she played Ado Annie in the original production of the musical “Oklahoma!”


Sources: "Big Boat House built by Edna Skinner." Flickr/US Route 40, Flickr, a Yahoo Company, https://www.flickr.com/photos/34878756@N04/12424540405. Accessed 4 Jan. 2017;   Cole, Spencer. "Historic 'boat house' hits market." The World, 10 Dec. 2016 [Coos Bay, Ore.] , p. 1+, theworldlink.com/news/local/business/historic-boat-house-hits-market/article_d0545b55-57dd-5a1c-92de-0817e5311886.html. Accessed 4 Jan. 2017.

Kernan Turner is the Southern Oregon Historical Society’s volunteer editor and coordinator of the As It Was series broadcast daily by Jefferson Public Radio. A University of Oregon journalism graduate, Turner was a reporter for the Coos Bay World and managing editor of the Democrat-Herald in Albany before joining the Associated Press in Portland in 1967. Turner spent 35 years with the AP before retiring in Ashland.