Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Incomplete Essays About Street Railways

Hey! Remember way back when I was churning out info on Portland's old monopolistic streetcar network? Well, turns out I have maps I made and articles I started that I never finished. Here they are!

Woodstock Line

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In 1889, w/ electric streetcar lines under development in Portland and Albina, residents to the south & east of East Portland began to gather subscriptions to fund an electric transportation system of thier own. By May they had gathered $45,000 towards this purpose, & began negotiations w/ Sprague Electric to build the line. Sprague, however, wanted the subsidy up front to cover costs, while the investors wanted to pay on completion of the trolley route. The deal fell through, & in July new negotiations opened w/ Thompson-Houston Electric, while the total subscriptions for the line rose to $55,000 (the equilivent of about $1.2 million today). A deal was struck August 4th for 6 & a half miles of track & electrified wire. The City of East Portland granted a franchise Nov. 9th & construction began in December. (all preceding from Labbe 69)

The subscribers were also tract holders along the route. (Thompson, 20)

By April 1890 four Pullman cars were on the way & Thompson-Houston had completed negotiations for the use of the Willamette Bridge Railway Co.'s tracks on East 5th (now SE Grand) & across the Morrison Bridge. Included in the deal was the contruction of a powerhouse & trolley barn at SE 26th & Powell, including an implicit agreement that Willamette Bridge would takeover full operation of the line when it was finally completed (which it did, on July 1st 1890). [Labbe, I think]

Problems w/ the electrical system & use of old horsecar rails delayed operation, delaying full functionality up into March of 1891. [Labbe, again, I think]

Montavilla Line

Didn't even begin accumulating data for this article, though, for reasons unknown to me, I like to call Montavilla "Montanaville" sometimes...

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The Astoria Street Railway (1888-1924)

This aborted article is sad because the subject matter was quaint and interesting, and I would have liked to have finished it.

The fourth act in the play of The Astoria Street Railway or, The Connecting Link, a Tale of Scow Bay is now on the stage. The curtain rose on the present comedy last summer when the Astoria Street Railway was organized, and after a brief existence sold the franchise (or rights, whatever they are) to F. P. Hennessy, a pleasant spoken gentleman from across the sea, who with his associates constituted the company that, purely as a matter of benevolence, was going to build a street railway from Uppertown down the roadyway to Squemoqua Street1, and from there the Lord knows where. The evident inability on Mr. Hennessy's part caused the scheme to collapse. All that remains is an uptorn roadway, and unpaid creditors. Among others who took hold in good faith was Pierre Bronsdon, builder of the Portland street railway. He worked one month for free and paid his own board, whereupon he secured the franchise from Hennessy on February 7, 1885.2
Astoria's trolleys thus got off to a shaky start.

[great old Astoria pics, following]

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[Astoria used to have this massive waterfront built entirely on piers, so you could cut a hole in the floor of a business and fish, if you were so inclined. 'Course, the side-effect was that it made downtown into a giant tinderbox, and in 1924 almost the whole place went up in smoke. A lot of the trolley track was out over the same such piers, and was never replaced.]

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1 Squemoqua being presentday Commercial Street.
2 Dennon, Jim. "Astoria's Streetcars" in Clatsop County Historical Society Quarterly, Vol. 9, No. 2 - Spring, 1989. p. 16. Dennnon adds, "the city didn't recognize this transfer [from Hennessy to Bronsdon], so for all intents and purposes the franchise was void."

Friday, February 20, 2009

the spice of life

Welsh rabbit

Sweet jesus fry cook.

I am a Welshman, I do love cause boby, good roasted cheese.

Quite by mistake, while looking for something else, I came across a recipe in my cookbook for Welsh Rabbit. Scanning it briefly (asking myself, "WTF is Welsh Rabbit?"), I quickly noticed that it involved the same small saucepan and the same base and procedure of butter, flour, milk, and cheese as the baked mac and cheese I make perhaps too often. Except you (my eyebrow arched a bit at this) add a lot of pepper and pinch of cayenne/half a teaspoon mustard (i.e. make it spicy) and (my jaw dropped at this part) then just spoon the whole sauce over buttered toast (I love toast!)!

For all of 2 seconds I decided to make this for myself for breakfast the next day. Then I decided to just have it for dinner.
  • start toasting two three pieces of bread

  • melt 1 tablespoon (eighth of a stick) butter in a small saucepan on medium low heat til it starts to froth a bit. Turn the heat down to real low

  • add 1 tablespoon of flour. Mix til the flour and butter have combined in the manner of a sauce.

  • add 1/4th cup of milk, stir til you have a consistent sauce again. Add another 1/4 cup milk and repeat.

  • Add a cup of shredded or finely chopped cheddar cheese. stir til the cheese has melted into the sauce. Add pepper to taste. Add a pinch of cayenne if you want. I put a bunch of Tapatio hot sauce in mine - just make sure its not Tabasco or some shit like that where its just vinegar.

  • take your toast, butter it, put on a big plate. Pour the sauce all over it. I eat mine with a fork (this is what I call a meal) but I guess you could eat it with you hands too

  • Prob a killer post-drinking meal.

  • I haven't tried it yet, but you can substitute beer for the milk

  • also, you can add, like, some beans or chopped tomato to the mix.
  • I will never make fun of the cuisine of the British Isles again.



    Flying Gasbags

    Portland was first introduced to airships at the 1905 Exposition at the shore's of Guild's Lake. There were supposed to be two, the "City of Portland" and the "Gelatine," but the "City of Portland" suffered damage and was parted out and combined into the "Gelatine." The "Gelatine" did stuff like fly around the fair grounds and deliver mail to St. Johns and Vancouver.

    1905 City of Portland

    The above picture, with caption, can be seen here.

    Other photos from the expo:

    Baldwin-Tomlinson Airships City of Portland, Gelatine 1905
    Tomlinson Airship Gelatine Portland 1905
    Baldwin Airship Gelatine Portland 1905
    Baldwin Airship Gelatine Portland 1905
    Baldwin Airship Gelatine Portland 1905
    Baldwin Airship Gelatine Portland 1905


    Sunday, February 15, 2009

    J.G. Thirlwell in Popshifter

    JG Thirlwell
    image:bre pettis

    J.G. Thirlwell is the only musician who has completely kept my attention in the 15 years since I first encountered him.1 There are others, to be sure, who have been around for awhile, but either I did not appreciate as much then as I do now2, or were fond of, then forgot about, only to be pleasantly reminded of them later.3

    Foetus alone has been the constant.4

    There's a link at Foetus.org to an interview with Thirlwell at Popshifter, detailing the many projects Thirlwell keeps himself busy with.5 A new Foetus album in 2009! Highlights follow…

    [note: I've truncated the questions6]

    Popshifter: Is working on The Venture Bros. something you find difficult?

    Thirlwell: It exercises different creative muscles, sometimes, those of “problem solving.” It’s made me better in some ways. As I said, I work way in advance so I’m never rushing at the eleventh hour. I don’t consider it a “day job.” It’s a different part of my career and legacy. I established a musical vocabulary and identity for the show.

    As for the work process, first I get a copy of the animatic (which is the storyboard edited with camera moves and the dialog embedded in it). I watch it and block out musical ideas, sometimes re-editing cues I’ve already written, and make notes for new compositions. I sync them up then view it with the director Chris McCulloch. We talk about what works and what doesn’t. Since we are watching essentially an animated storyboard, sometimes its not always clear what’s going on in the action to me.

    We also discuss the character’s motivation, back-story and exposition, and the subtle subtext of each individual joke. Then I get to work creating the score and afterwards we review it again and I tweak it.

    Popshifter: How did you get involved writing for the Arcana book series?

    Thirlwell: John Zorn edits and publishes the Arcana books, which consist of musicians writing about music. He invited me to write an essay. The essay I wrote is about tinnitus.7

    Popshifter: […] you seem to have an obsession with afflictions or medical contexts. . . are you a total hypochondriac, or […] did you stumble upon a medical textbook you just can’t put down once you start reading it?

    Thirlwell: Yes, names of afflictions are a thread in my work. I’m not sure why I’m drawn to them but part of it is the linguistics and the endings. I also like words with “X” in them. I have several threads in my work, including the color palettes that I choose and the monosyllabic four-letter title.

    Popshifter: Are the pretty ones really always insane? If that’s the case, then why bother?

    Thirlwell: Because they are the ones that hypnotize.

    1 Came across him (and his sizable discography) reading the Industrial Revolution book, then purchased Sink, I think, at 2nd Ave. Records, when said store was at its original location, in the shoebox space.
    2 Pop Will Eat Itself.
    3 Chemlab.
    4 Though, regrettably, I sold off most of my Foetus discography in during the lean years. I have since been reacquiring it, piece by piece, in the last year or two.
    5 Robots. Opera. Sculpture.
    6 Aside from being a nice way to highlight what I find interesting in an interview, truncating interviews is a good exercise for working on your editing abilities.
    7 In
    Arcana II.

    Saturday, February 14, 2009

    Scuba. It sounds funny. Scuba.

    I've never pre-ordered anything before.

    Until now.

    In some sort of indicator of our age of New Media, I've probably only seen 3 or 4 episodes of Venture Bros. at their regularly-scheduled time. And I haven't even seen a single solitary episode of Season 3.


    Egg, Coffee & Bagel


    I did this invite for a brunch we had. I really like Egg.


    Monday, February 09, 2009

    Old Eastside Firestations.

    The ol' firestation at 1917 SE 7th.

    1917 SE 7th Ave

    This photo's from a nice resource of old Portland firestations available at Portland Online

    Saturday, February 07, 2009