Monday, November 26, 2007

Under a Stippled Sky

My scanner went out of whack again, and trust me, this is not remotely what the original photo looks like.

effed up scan

I would not want to be stuck on this road if this is what it looked like.

"Yeah, the Richards' farm is down the blood-red road, lined by pitch black fields under a stippled sky. You can't miss it!"


Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Club Rock Island

In regards to the demolished Castle, Schlockstar asked me as an aside if I knew anything about a dance hall that used to be on Elk Rock Island. I didn't know of any dance hall, but I have been to the island (which you can walk to in the summer, when the east channel dries up as the Willamette recedes) & noticed the concrete stairs & dock on the west side of the island & wondered at its purpose.

Turns out the dance hall was a Friar's Club, & a notorious one at that, involving lots of booze, gambling, & police raids.1 Quite a large structure, too. For those not familiar w/ the area, that would be the modern-day Milwaukie waterfront park behind the island to the left.

Milwaukie residents steered clear of the hall of ill repute, but Portlanders came by the streetcar load, & then were ferried to the island - hence, presumably, the concrete landing on the west shore.2

I couldn't figure out the duration of the club's raucous operation. Grain export magnate Peter Kerr acquired the island in 1910, & Oregon went dry on January 1, 1916, & I doubt the establishment survived prohibition as a juice bar or somesuch.

Kerr donated the island to the city of Portland in 1940.3

As an unexpected bonus, it turns out the Milwaukie Museum has in its possession the sole surviving mule-drawn streetcar of the Portland Street Railway!

Established in 1872 by rail baron Ben Holladay, the PSR ran its diminutive streetcars up & down Front Street from Glisan to Caruthers & back. When Holladay died in 1887 ownership transferred to his brother Joe, who kept the line running the length of its entire franchise, which expired September 9, 1896, earning it the distinction of Portland's 1st & last horse-drawn streetcar company.4

Should you be so inclined, the Milwaukie Museum is located at 3737 S.E. Adams St. in Milwaukie, but is only open 11-3 Saturday + Sundays. Haven't been myself, but it seems a great small museum!


1 House of History: Inside the Milwuakie Museum
2 ibid.
3 Brochure, Friends of Elk Rock Island, Page 2
4 Labbe, John. Fares, Please! Those Portland Trolley Years. Caxton Printers, Ltd. Caldwell, Idaho. (1980) p. 23-26

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Shady Gap Electric Railway

I acquired photographs of someone's 1975 vacation trip to Orbosonia, Pennsylvania, + the Rockhill Trolley Museum located there. The photographer would seem to have been more interested in the steam locomotives & passenger cars kept there1, as those are the abundance of the photos, but they did take these of an open-air car, numbered 1875.

This one's a little blurry but I like the sentiment.

Shade Gap RR - Rock Hill Furnace

I really like this one. The car's colors look good + I like the "car stop" sign at the upper left corner is a nice touch.

Orbisonia PA Sept 1975

Like lightbulbs? The back of this one reads "Carson filament bulbs - trolley car, Orbisonia, PA Sept '75."

Carson filament bulbs - trolley car, Orbisonia, PA Sept '75

The car was acquired from Rio De Janeiro by the museum in 1965, & has had extensive work (including a new paint job) done on it since.2


1 The steam locomotives, actually, are part of the nearby East Broad Top RR.
2 The Rockhill Museum's website's really nice. A particularly nice touch is the mini-essays regarding each of the trolleys in their collection. Take, for example, this bit about open cars such as No. 1875:
Open cars were very expensive for the transit companies to operate. Unless the climate was always warm, the transit company needed to have a second set of cars for the passengers to ride during the winter weather. Rainstorms were also a problem, although curtains that could be drawn provided some relief. The public still loved the open cars in the hot summer months. It was necessary to have a crew of two people to operate an open car, a motorman to run the car and a conductor to collect the fares. This was a dangerous job for the conductor as he walked along the side running boards to collect the fares as traffic in the busy streets flew by him. For these reasons the open cars were replaced by closed cars or semi-convertible cars.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Negative Zone

I was scanning old photos & my scanner went all Norman Bates for a bit. I didn't notice at 1st + had to scan about 30 pics TWICE to get them right.

These 2, however, look kinda cool.

bizarro scan

bizarro scan

Cool, in a "oh-here-come's-the-forces-beyond-humanity's-comprehension" kind of way.


Monday, September 24, 2007

Carver's Line

I was walking to Kettleman's Bagels, & at Caruthers just off 11th I spied a foot or 2 of exposed track poking though the pavement.

Carver Line Track 1

I always feel like such a moron standing in the middle of a road taking a picture of the freaking street.

Carver Line Track 2

I knew 11th & 12th avenues were streetcar arteries back when (Richmond & Waverly-Woodstock lines, off the top of my head) but this track is aligned east-west on Caruthers, not north-south. At 1st I thought it was just a remnant of the early evolution of the Woodstock line, which meandered all through the central eastside area between Hawthorne & Division ("Sector Line road") before aligning on the 11th/12th axis.

I got home & looked at some maps but didn't see anything on Caruthers. Then I looked at the big map in the inside cover of Labbe's book, & found this curio... (the map's legend identifies dotted lines as "foreign lines").

Carver Line Map

Turns out the Portland and Oregon Company Railway was incorporated by one Stephen Carver in 1913.1 Armed w/ $200,000 in capital, Carver dreamt of a street railway and interurban system capable of competing w/ existing monopolistic Portland trolley titan PRL&P. His vision involved exercising common-user rights to the existing tracks across the Hawthorne Bridge and tracks owned by the Clackamas Southern RR in Oregon City. Carver applied for franchises in Portland & Gladstone, while the backers of the Clackamas Southern applied for 1 in Oregon City.

The Portland franchise was granted in October & Gladstone's in November. The Oregon City franchise was granted in Jan. of 1914, but included a clause requiring transfers be made available to the PRL&P Oregon City Interurban. Carver wouldn't have it & split from the Clackamas Southern group, which was sold to PRL&P shortly afterwards anyway.

Undaunted, Carver altered his route to head south out of Portland then east along the south bank of the Clackamas River through Milwuakie up to the Viola area. Tracks originating at SE 3rd & Hawthorne wove through SE Portland, eventually running parallel to the SouthernPacific tracks out of town as far as, eventually, the new township of Carver.

Then, there was the matter of trolleys for his railway. Carver acquired some second hand steam engines but these weren't allowed in Portland city limits & were too big to navigate the streets anyways.

As a temporary fix he acquired a used White Motor Co. bus & rigged flanged wheels to the back & railroad trucks to the front.

This 'hybrid' is hardly what springs to mind when I think about a 'railway' but as it turned out, this train-bus contraption was the only service ever provided on the R&OC Line. Financing could never be secured for a rail bridge across the Clackamas at Carver & w/o the service to Viola the line perished for lack of ridership.

Carver tried to reimagine his rail system again in 1923 as a strictly-lumber railroad, but this too withered away & the tracks were eventually sold to Southern Pacific.


1 Labbe, John T. Fares, Please! Those Portland Trolley Years. Caxton Printers, Caldwell, Idaho (1980) p. 159-160.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Lownsdale's Map

The new background image floating in the background is tanner Daniel Lownsdale's map of the new city of Portland. The original street grid of city blocks 200 feet long w/ streets 50 feet across is included.


Tuesday, July 03, 2007

(Chamber of) Commerce Building

It was 1890 or so, & wunderkind George B. Markle Jr., the Pennsylvanian transplant who had, shortly after his arrival in Portland, been instrumental in the revival & completion of building the Hotel Portland (aka, "Villard's ruins"), convinced the Portland Chamber of Commerce they should build a new HQ on the north side of west Stark street between 3rd & 4th Avenues.1 Markle pledged his 2 banks as street-level tenants & secured a mortgage from New York Life Ins. Co. for its construction.

Ground was broken Sept. 2, 1890, but costs quickly accumulated, w/ overages to the tune of $170,000.2 Undeterred, Markle personally secured funding to complete construction. The 8-floor Chamber of Commerce Building, designed by Isaac Hodgson, Jr., opened to the public in September of 1892.

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Hailed as the NW's premiere office space (love that circa 1890-1910 Portland boosterism!), the Commerce Building (as it was called in later days) boasted the aforementioned banks, an auditorium, "the prestigious Commercial Club," a bowling alley, saloons, & a billiard room.3

However, the completion of the Commerce Building happened to neatly coincide w/ the run on gold, which lowered U.S. federal reserves to their statutory minimums. The Panic of 1893 was in full swing. Markle's banks closed for good before they could ever set up shop at their new location. New York Life foreclosed on the Commerce Building mortgage. Markle eventually returned to Pennsylvania.

In 1906 NYLife sold the building to the Spokane Portland & Seattle Railroad. A few years later, deeming the Commerce Building "too old fashioned" the SP&S then its local offices to the newer American Bank Building (completed in 1913). In the shadow of the Great Depression, SP&S, citing the tax & maintenance costs, & claiming that a remodel would be "too expensive & impractical," had the building demolished in 1934.4 The lot was used, & is still used, as a parking lot.

So when you pass Stark at 3rd & 4th, stand in wonder at that 70+ year-old parking lot.5


1 Furthermore, he was key role in organizing the N. Pacific Industrial Assoc., Portland Tanning, Columbia Fire & Marine Insurance, Portland Traction, the Commercial Bank of Vancouver, NW Loan & Trust, & the Oregon National Bank, to name a few, all amply assisted by his father's fortune. Markle Sr. was the founder of Jeddo-Highland Coal in the Scranton area &, along w/ Thomas Edison, built the 1st 2 coal-fired electrical power plants in the U.S.A. Markle Jr. came to Portland because he felt it was the young city that was going somewhere. For more on Markle see MacColl, E. Kimbark, The Shaping of a City: Business & Politics in Portland, Oregon 1885 to 1915 (Georgian Press Co., Portland 1976), p. 81-108.
2 MacColl, p. 85. $170,000 in 1890 is about, say, maybe, $29,000,000.
3 ibid.
4 ibid., p. 88
5 Seriously. I mean, Portland has its share of parking lots where once-proud buildings stood, for sure. But the majority of those buildings, as far as I know, were demolished in the late 40s & early 50s, for which I can't really blame anyone - that was the price of progress, then. But 70+ years, a parking lot?!?

Sunday, July 01, 2007

The Boss Saloon:
A Den of Scullduggery.

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The Boss Saloon in later, less scandalous times.

Before the Willamette was bridged, river crossing was via ferry. One such ferry, beginning around 1870, ran from Flanders St. on the west bank to a spot where the current Steel Bridge makes landfall on the east bank.1 On the west side, between Davis & Flanders, stood a 2-story waiting room building of the "flatiron" design: triangular w/ 3 sides.

In 1888, when ferry service ended after the 1st Steel Bridge was completed, the building became a saloon, moonlighting as a hiring hall for sailors to serve the grain ships which docked nearby. Not suprisingly, it was also, purportedly, a hotbed for shanghai-ing.2

Portland harbor in 1906.

According to legend, the Portland Merchants Exchange was birthed at the Boss.
a bartender, tired of answering questions, put up a blackboard behind his bar to list incoming ships and their berths for the information of sailors and waterfront gentry.

The exchange was organized and incorporated in 1879, the same year the O&CRR Ferry No. 2 was launched, and moved "uptown" to First and Ankeny streets.
In later years the saloon became a simple eatery, "Boss Lunch."

I'm sure it was demolished no later than the 1940s to make way for Harbor Drive (subsequently transformed into Waterfront Park).


1 This ferry was essentially a shuttle service to the terminal of Henry Villard's (& subsequently Ben Holladay's) Oregon & California RR, which also owned the ferry. Holladay would later build Portland's 1st horse-drawn steetcar line to shuttle RR/ferry passengers south into "downtown" Portland.
2 Perhaps more of a nerve center for Portland's shanghai system. Famous crimper Jim Turk used it as a base. Turk, reportedly, shanghai-ed his own son!! By the Willie Week (great article, btw), Turk is buried
Close by the corner of 20th and Morrison one finds the grave of hard-drinking Jim Turk, one of Portland's most infamous shanghai specialists, who sent many a drunk and unconscious lumberman to sea via the mildewed tunnels beneath Old Town; in death, Turk masquerades as little more than a wealthy pillar of local industry.
Further tales of Turk & fellow crimpers Larry Sullivan & Jim 'Bunco' Kelly include Kelly (who crimped 50 men in 3 hours, once) discovering 20 dead men who
had apparently found a keg in the cellar of a saloon and drunk heartily. It turned out, however, that they were actually in the mortuary next door and had drunk embalming fluid (formaldehyde) instead! Not a man to waste an opportunity, Kelly sold the bodies to an unsuspecting captain for $52 each ($2.00 over the going rate) because he had managed to get the men so “dead drunk” that they surely wouldn’t awaken until well out at sea.
Of course, if your are familiar w/ Portland in the end of the 1800s none of this should come as a surprise. Still, you should read this comic.
3 You can read about the Boss, & mainly abt what became of the 2nd ferry for which people awaited at the Boss, here.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Coney Island of the Northwest.

Oregon Water Power & Railway Co. began building Oaks Amusement Park in 1904 to stimulate weekend traffic on its interurban electric trolley line running from Portland to Oregon City, & to take advantage of the anticipated millions of visitors in town for the 1905 Lewis & Clark Centennial Exposition. At a cost of $100,000, the "trolley park" opened May 30, 1905, 2 days before the Expo opened at Guild's Lake to the northwest of Portland.1 When the Exposition closed in October, the Oaks acquired its benches, gazebos, & lamp posts2.

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One of the Expo lamps is to the left, the willow-tree-looking thing, there.

After its 1st year of operation, the park was jointly managed by the OWP and the newly incorporated Oaks Amusement Company. The OAC leased the park from the railway for $35,000, w/ the OAC maintaining the grounds & managing concessions. However, the OWP, typical of rail interests in Portland at the time, reaped the lions share of profits, earning 5 cents each way in trolley fares & 10 cents per admission, on top of the $35,000 it was collected from the OAC. The OAC, in contrast, only collected a % of concessions income.

The year construction of the Oaks began, the 2 Portland city-only trolley companies - City & Suburban Railway and Portland Railway - had merged to become Portland Consolidated.3 In 1905, Portland Consolidated was sold to east coast interests & re-renamed Portland Railway Co.

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A Portland trolley w/ advert for Oaks Park.

In 1906 Portland Railway & the OWP merged to become Portland Railway, Light & Power Co. PRL&P assumed ownership of the Oaks on June 29, 1906, & the managing Oaks Amusement Co. was dissolved in the spring of 1907. D.C. Freeman, who had worked in the administration of Lewis & Clark Exposition, was made manager of the park.

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Local entertainment mogul John F. Cordray leased the park in 1909, giving the Oaks more leverage w/ the local papers & City Hall. In the 1920s, laws were passed prohibiting electric companies like the PRL&P from owning amusement parks, making the "trolley park" phenomena an anachronism, & Cordray purchased the Oaks outright.4

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A trolley is visible in the distance of this view.

Although Oaks Park proudly marches on to this day, if I were to make some changes, I'd like to see (a) one decent roller coaster, & (b) a real slammin' video arcade. I mean, Avalon on Belmont is great & all, but the selection can be a bit stale5, & I'm not always in the mood to deal w/ the Bourbon Street-esque flavor surrouding Ground Kontrol on a Friday or Saturday night.6 While they're at it, can they rebuild the Oaks Tavern?7


1 Sellwood Park had been a potential location for the Expo. So was Ross Island (imagine how different the city might be if that had happened) and 'Hawthorne Park,' a large open space between Hawthorne and Division and 9th & 12th.
2 Purportedly one of the Expo lamps still works and is on display in The Oaks Museum. This past summer I wandered the entire Oaks property & I believe that this building is (or was) the "museum," but it was neither open nor appeared to have been for some time. Peeking thru the windows, I spied old pictures on the walls w/ description cards under them, but that was it.
3Abridged History of Portland's Trolley Years.
1891: The City & Suburban Railway Co. acquires a fistful of smaller trolley companies to become largest streetcar company west of the Mississippi
1892: The Portland Consolidated Street Railway Co. emerges as the counterpart to the City&Suburban.
1893: The East Side Railway Co. completes 1st electric interurban line in the U.S. between Portland & Oregon City.
1896: Portland Consolidated goes bankrupt & is purchased by Portland Railway Company.
1901: East Side Railway Co. sold in foreclosure & eventually emerges as Oregon Water Power & Railway Co. by 1902.
1904: Portland Railway and City & Suburban merge, forming Portland Consolidated Railway.
1905: Portland Consolidated Ry. sold to east coast interests for $6million & name changed to the (second) Portland Railway Co.
1906: Portland Railway consolidated w/ Oregon Water Power & Railway to become Portland Railway, Light and Power Company. PRL&P presided over a system of 28 streetcar & interurban lines, zenith-ing in the years just prior to World War I.
1924 PRL&P changes name to Portland Electric Power Company (PEPCO), but lines remained essentially the same. Although PEPCO operated 3rd largest narrow gauge streetcar system in the US, growth slowed during the 1920s as cutbacks in service & labor, such as remodeling equipment to facilitate one-man car operation, became the norm.

4 For more info on Oak's Park, see Sara Paulson's The Oaks in the Progressive Era.
5 By "stale," of course, I actually mean "too new." As in, everything's a racer or a shooter. & they took away Virtual On. What happened to the side-scroller shooter? Metal Slug, anyone?
6 Or the pre-emptive heavy police presence.
7 see The Oaks Tavern (1905-1920s), June 16, 2006.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Fallout Protection
What to Know & Do About Nuclear Attack.

Fallout001 Fallout002

Fallout003 Fallout004

Fallout005 Fallout006

Fallout007 Fallout008

These are all from a 1961 Dept. of Def. publication.1 That orangey color is really... eye-catching. My favorite's that last one: Mom & dad & child in thier little fallout shelter, dad cranking the hand-driven ventilator, mom reading the ONE BOOK in the shelter. What's 2 weeks when you have family?


1 W/ an intro by Robert McNamara!!

Monday, April 30, 2007

Peace Special.

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My maternal grand-aunt was a Red Cross nurse stationed in Portsmouth, England, during the first world war. This newspaper, not surprisingly, was in the back of her scrapbook. Sorry the paper won't fit on a modernday scanner. I like how the paper is formatted to be folded in half vertically, with a solid 2 inches of blank paper in the middle.


Friday, April 20, 2007

Down in Jungle Town.

So, back in the late '40s, there was a record label outta Portland called Castle. Castle was the (presumably) exclusive label for the Castle Jazz Band.

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The Castle Jazz Band used to play out of the Castle Restaurant down in south Milwaukie, above the Clackamas river, which was recently demolished, I think.1

Found the above record label-piece in a rubbish bin, only loosely connected to the shattered remains of a 48.


1 Or so reports the always entertaining Schlockstar.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Color - Color Blazing, and Color Murky.

It turns out my mother's aunt, who went to college1 in, like, 1907 or something, when that was kinda not the thing ladies did, AND THEN never married, was a bit of the homebrew historian.2 Her typewriter-keyed manuscript weighs in at a hefty 250+ pages, including some loose newspaper & magazine clippings from the early-to-mid '60s.

On the back of a magazine article is this gem...

Click to enlarge

The "currently fashionable two-piece swimsuit?" Apparently this mag was too frou-frou to just call it a bikini.

Still, love that swank '60s ad art.


1 Psychology.
2 And, evidently, a bit of the fanciful illustrator.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Eastmoreland / Errol Heights Line

In 1910 the Ladd Estate Co. laid tracks east of existing PRL&P tracks on Milwaukie up Bybee to the site of the under-construction Reed College.1 Two years later the tracks to the campus were removed, & new tracks laid heading south of Bybee at S.E. 32nd, terminating at Rex Avenue. The LEC leased trolleys from PRL&P to service the new real estate development, called Eastmoreland. That same year the line was donated to PRL&P by the LEC.

In 1913 track was laid by another real estate developer, the Fred A. Jacobs Co., off the 32nd Ave. Eastmoreland tracks heading east on Knapp.

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Red line is the original Eastmoreland line, green the Errol Heights extension.

Maintained by the Errol Heights Railway Co., w/ a car & operator supplied by PRL&P at 91.4 cents per car-hour, the car ran 10 & a half hours a day. Riding the Errol Heights line was free, FA Jacobs/EHR assuming all costs. 150 or so people rode the line each way daily, but despite this ridership, offers by EHR to sell the line to PRL&P were rejected, PRL&P citing a policy of not operating lines 5 miles from the city's center.2 Its unclear how & why, but the line was merged into the Eastmoreland route in the 1920s anyways (I would guess EHR simply surrendered the line).

The merged Eastlmoreland/Errol Heights line trundled on until 1926, when most of the line was converted to gas bus. The Errol Heights section, at least, appears to have been completely abandoned in 1929.

While there are no photos of trolleys on the Errol Heights line, the only car known to have operated on it was the 1500. Built in 1892 by the Patton Motor Car Co. as an experimental single truck (one set of four wheels) gas-elec. trolley, it first made runs on the Metropolitan Railway's3 standard guage line, which ran 6 miles from downtown at 2nd & Glisan south to Riverview Cemetary. Use of the 1500 on this line was considered a failure, but the car was remodeled in 1903 into a double-truck all-elec. car.

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No. 1500 as a mail car.

From thereon, it moonlighted variously as an interurban car, parlor car, funeral car, mail car, &, finally, a passenger car on the Errol Heights line. Retired in 1921, it was the only car w/ a center entrance to have seen significant use.4

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No. 1500 as a funeral car.

Trolley funeral cars were available in many large American cities in the early 20th Century. W/ unpaved roads & horse-drawn hearses, trolley funeral cars offered a more civilized journey for the deceased. Trolleys were chartered to transport the funeral party to & from a cemetary along an existing trolley line. They usually included a small door on the side of the car at floor level for loading & unloading the casket. Usually, upon arrival at the cemetery, the casket would be transferred to a hand carrier & wheeled to graveside.


1 Boxcars were also rented by LEC from PRL&P to assist, presumably, in the construction of Reed College's oldest buildings.
2 Labbe, John. Fares, Please!: Those Portland Trolley Years. Caxton Printers, Ltd. Caldwell, Idaho. 1980. p. 158-159.
3 Incorporated 1889, sold to the Multnomah Street Railway Co. in 1892.
4 Thompson, Richard. Portland's Streetcars. Arcadia Publishing. 2006. p.98

Friday, January 26, 2007

Alberta Line.

Portland Railway Co. initated the Alberta Line (1903-1949), running from a downtown loop of 2nd-Morrison-3rd-Washington out to its terminus at N.E. Alberta and 25th.

William Hayes collection
W. Hayes collection

Isn't that building on the right still standing? It looks really familiar but I can't place it.

By 1909, the line had been extended in spurts to N.E. 30th at Ainsworth.

Converted to bus in 1949.


Monday, January 08, 2007

A Few More Demolished Buildings of PDX.

I have several never-posted PDX's Historic Trolley Lines map entries I'm trying to get around to actually posting. But before I do that I figured I would add the sites of the Marquam Grand & the Burkhard Building to the Demolished Buildings of PDX map.

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The Marquam Grand

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The Burkhard Building

Credit where credit's due: Dan Haneckow at Cafe Unknown did the research & wrote far-more-in-depth-posts-than-I-ever-could on both these buildings.


Thursday, January 04, 2007

Mapping Historic Portland.

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A week & a half ago I received notification that a Tinzeroes Platial map had received a Platial "2006 Map Award." First of all, I confess a deep-seeded self-loathing when it comes to my neglected Platial geography projects these days: the viscera of Portland history I've been delving into of late is less map-able than trolleys crossing intersections or buildings that used to be at such-&-such streets. Secondly, at least initially, if I were to pick one of my 4 platial maps as a "favorite," I would probably pick Demolished Buildings of PDX over actual 2006 "Best Local History Map" winner Historical Portland Trolley Lines.

But then I took a gander at the trolley map, & although it is rather skimpy in terms of factual information, & although its largely a mapping of research & photos compiled by other people, I suppose it is, truthfully, a fairly interesting juxapositioning of historical data using a rather unique infobahn tool. To borrow from a friend's synopsis, the Trolley Map presents handy historical "capsules" for injestion: small in content but easily digestible.

I guess now is as good of a time as any to mention that some of the glitter of Portland's trolley heyday has tarnished a bit for me. At its apex, Portland's (privately owned) trolley network was deeply rooted in conflicts of interest scandalous by today's standards: city contracts handed to individuals who held significant ownership stakes in the trolley network, who in turn used same city-contracted tracks to move materials for other city public works projects - think if Tri-Met were a private corporation, & then one of its major shareholders received the contract to build the tram, & then used Tri-Met rails to move tram materials to the construction site at no cost to himself.

With the ol' Trolley map, I was certainly smitten w/ the rather romanticized concept of these wonders of public transportation inadvertently laying a foundation for Portland's current uniqueness. The initial conclusion I drew from this observation was that urban planning was as much dumb luck as anything else, if not exclusively the same. I suppose that conclusion is unchanged, but iced w/ a considerably larger serving of pessimism: monied interests lining thier pockets w/ tax-payer dollars, over & over, throughout history.

But hey, enough of this tragedy of history stuff, right? Lets looky at some real maps! Like this electoral ward map of Portland, circa 1905.

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Things of interesting note: the map shows the then city limits. Although there are 10 wards, it really sticks out at me that 6 of them are on the remarkably smaller-in-area west side, which underlines the way in which the city's demographics were drastically different in terms of population density 100 years ago: most people lived "downtown," and the eastside, while growing, was less dense & less populous.

Next map.

This 1 shows the ethnic layout of Portland circa 1913. If you had any doubts as to Portland's white-ness, I suppose this can lay those doubts to rest. Modern-day anxiety over Portland's snowy reputation aside, its always somewhat bizarre to think that a century ago the presence of Swedish, Norwegian, & German immigrants were considered noteworthy. Chinatown is clearly defined, although the area apparently immediately south of Ladd's Addition once being predominately black, or the German- & Russian-Jewish enclaves in the Lair Hill vicinity caught me off guard. The Italian presence in & around the Brooklyn Yards I had heard about.
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Next up is a map of "high-rent" & "working-class" neighborhoods in Portland. Anyone who has spent a significant amount of time touring Portland & taking the time to note the size & style of the older homes should not be surprised by the layout presented by this map. Still, Goose Hollow: working class? That does not jive w/ my perceptions.

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All 3 maps are from MacColl's Shaping of a City.1


1 MacColl, E. Kimbark. The Shaping of a City: Business and Politics in Portland Oregon 1885 to 1915. The Georgian Press Company, Portland, Oregon. 1976. p. 346, 460, 463.