Present Development and Importance of Portland

From the foundation to the top of the fire wall it measured eighty-one feet and was three stories in height; the cost was fifty thousand dollars and the finish was elegant. This building was destroyed by fire in December, 1872. The Court House was finished in 1866. A correspondent of the San Francisco Bulletin, whose grace and humor of style as a newspaper writer would hardly betray his devotion to the knotty problems of applied law, writes of a view from the cupola of this building. After describing the scenery of the mountains and lands surrounding, he says: ” But to return to Portland. On every side of me I saw its varied and sometimes motley structures of wood and brick, densely packed together, and edging out toward the limits of the natural site of the city-a green semi-circle of irregular shaped fir clad hills, on the west and south, and the water of the bright Willamette, curving outwardly from the north to the south. A radius of a mile from where I stood would not more than reach the verge of the town. Across the Willamette, and upon its east bank, I could count the houses and orchards in the suburban village of East Portland. This place is yet half town and half country, but it is destined at no distant day to furnish an abundance of cheap and comfortable homes to the thrifty and industrious artisans and laborers whose hands are daily turning this raw clay and growing timber into temples and habitations for civilized man.”

It was in 1866, also, that the Oregon Iron Company’s Works were begun at Oswego, with a capacity of ten tons per twenty-four hours. W. S. Ladd was president and H. C. Leonard vice-president of the company.

The assessed value of property was four million one hundred and ninety-nine thousand one hundred and twenty-five dollars. The export of produce reached the following figures: Flour, one hundred and forty-nine thousand and seventy-five dollars; salmon, twenty-one thousand seven hundred and ninety-four dollars; bacon, seventy thousand and sixteen dollars; apples, sixty-eight thousand eight hundred and sixty dollars; wool, sixty-six thousand eight hundred and forty dollars; making an aggregate of four hundred and fifty-five thousand four hundred and fifty-seven dollars. The shipment of gold dust, bars, etc., reached the large sum of eight million seventy thousand and six hundred dollars, which, it is possible, was an over estimate.

The screw steamship Montana and the side-wheeler Oriflamme appeared on the line to San Francisco, and the little screw steamer Fideliter to Victoria. The population was six thousand five hundred and eight, of whom three hundred and twenty-four were Chinese.

During 1867 there began in earnest agitation for a railroad through the Willamette Valley to Portland, a full account of which appears elsewhere. Propositions were made by the newly-formed railroad companies that the city guarantee interest on bonds to the value of one million dollars, and a committee appointed by the City Council made a favorable report, setting forth the advantage to the farmers and the country towns of cheap transportation to the seaport and the reciprocal advantage to the city from increased trade and commerce. The movements of the time, of which this was a sign, stimulated building and the sale of real estate. The Methodist Church erected on the corner of Third and Taylor streets, a brick edifice in the English Gothic style with ground dimensions fifty-six by eighty-two feet: It was to have a seating capacity of twelve hundred and supported a tower with a spire reaching a hundred and fifty feet above the, ground. It cost thirty thousand dollars. A school house, with amain part fifty-six by eighty feet and two wings, each twelve by forty feet, was built for the North Portland School, between C and D streets. The Bank of British Columbia erected a substantial building on Front street. Brick stores were constructed by Dr. E. Poppleton and others on First street. The Unitarian Church erected an edifice, the tenth, church building in the city, on Seventh and Yamhill streets.

Exports of produce and merchandise reached the value of two million four hundred and sixty-two thousand seven hundred and ninety-three dollars. The great apparent increase over 1866 was due in part to a more perfect record kept, but also to actual improvement. The shipment of gold dust fell to four million and one thousand dollars. The screw steamships Ajax and Continental appeared on the San Francisco line-the Pacific and Orizaba having been drawn off and the Brother Jonathan wrecked some time before. The river was much improved at Swan Island. The population of the city for this year was estimated at six thousand seven hundred and seventeen.

In 1868 the railroad company began work, the west side breaking ground April 15th and the east side two days later. During this year also an independent commerce sprang up with New York, and the way was opened for direct export of grain to Europe. The iron works of the city began to command the trade in the supply of mining machinery for the Idaho and Eastern Oregon companies. The sawmill of Smith, Hayden & Co., on the corner of Front and Madison streets, was improved so as to cut twenty-four thousand feet of lumber per day, and that of Estes, Simpson & Co., on Front Street, was enlarged to a capacity of twenty thousand feet. The handsomest building of this year was that of Ladd & Tilton, for the Oregon Bank, at the corner of First and Stark streets. It occupied an entire lot fifty by one hundred feet, and was built in two stories upon a basement seven feet in height. The material of its construction was brick, with ornamental iron work, and the pilasters on Doric bases with Corinthian capitals. Upon the interior it was finished with lavish elegance, and the whole cost of the structure was about seventy thousand dollars.

On the corner of Front and Morrison streets was built a four story brick structure by R. D. White. This was originally intended as partly a business house and partly as a hotel, but has now been converted wholly to the latter use. Buildings of brick were erected on Front street by Moffit & Strowbridge, and A. P. Ankeny and others; and on First street by Goodnough & Holmes and Goldsmith Bros. A fire-proof brick building for a sash and door factory was built by Mr. John P. Walker, to replace a wooden structure which had previously served the purpose, but had now been destroyed by fire. Over four hundred dwelling houses were erected, “And yet,” says The Oregonian, “you will find that there are no desirable houses to rent. The great and increasing growth and improvement of our city is no chimera.” Indeed, during this year Portland was experiencing one of those waves of prosperity by which she has been advancing to her present eminence.

The exports of the year reached a value of two million seven hundred and eighty thousand four hundred and eight dollars, requiring the services of nine steamers and thirty sailing vessels. The assessed value of property was four million six hundred thousand seven hundred and sixty dollars. Real estate transactions reached a volume of one hundred and forty-three thousand eight hundred and forty-six dollars. The price paid for the lot on the corner of First and Alder streets by the Odd Fellows was twenty-two thousand five hundred dollars. The shipments of treasure and bullion were three million six hundred and seventy-seven thousand eight hundred and fifty dollars. The population was seven thousand nine hundred and eighty.

In 1869 an Immigration Exchange was formed, by which information as to the resources and opportunities of Oregon was disseminated abroad, and employment was found for laborers. In the line of buildings there were erected seven of brick, aggregating a cost of $172, 000, and twelve large frame buildings costing altogether $58,000; while many smaller ones were built, making a total of about $400,000. The most conspicuous of these was the Odd Fellows’ building at the corner of First and Alder streets, three stories in height, and costing $40, 000; the United States building for Court House, Customs House and Post Office were begun on a scale to cost three hundred thousand dollars. The reservoir of the Water Works Company on Sixth street, with a capacity of three million five hundred thousand gallons, was built this year. On the improvement of the Willamette there was spent thirty-one thousand dollars. Exports reached one million sixty-six thousand five hundred and two dollars; treasure, two million five hundred and fifty-nine thousand dollars; and bullion, four hundred and nineteen thousand six hundred and fifty-seven dollars. Real estate transactions were upward of half a million. The population of Portland proper was estimated at eight thousand nine hundred and twenty-eight, and of East Portland, five hundred.

In 1870 the steady growth which from the first had been a fairly reliable index of the growth of the northwest coast, began some-what to accelerate. The railroad on the east side of the river was completed to Albany, and work on the west side was progressing. The shipping of grain to Great Britain was becoming more firmly established. A greater spirit of enterprise was manifested among merchants and other citizens to publish abroad the advantages of soil and climate and position. A number of fine buildings were erected as follows: Corbett’s three-story brick building, with solid iron front on First street, between Washington and Alder, costing forty thousand dollars; a brick block, of four buildings occupying a-frontage of one hundred feet on Front street, and running back eighty feet, of iron front, costing thirty thousand dollars, built by Lewis & Flanders; a four story brick building, having one hundred feet frontage on First street and eighty feet on Ash, at a cost of thirty-two thousand dollars, by Dr. R. Glisan; the largest business block yet erected, built by A. P. Ankeny, with frontage of one hundred feet on First street, and running two hundred feet to Front street, costing fifty thousand dollars; an addition by the O. S. N. Co., to their block on Front street, forty by ninety feet, costing twenty thousand dollars; the Protection Engine House at the corner of First and Jefferson streets, twenty-six by seventy feet, costing ten thousand dollars; a new edifice by the Congregational church, at the corner of Second and Jefferson streets, fifty by eighty feet, with spire one hundred and fifty high, costing twenty-five thousand dollars; the Bishop Scott Grammar School building on B street, at the junction of Fourteenth, thirty by ninety feet of three stories, and occupying a superb site. Many smaller buildings were erected this season.

As 1870 fills out a decade, it is not out of place to give here a somewhat more detailed list of the occupations then flourishing in the city. Of hotels there were twenty-two: The St. Charles, at the corner of First and Morrison: The International, at the corner of Front and Morrison; the American Exchange, at the corner of Front and Washington; the Occidental, at the corner of First and Morrison; The Western Hotel, on Front near Pine; the Pioneer Hotel, on Front near Ash; The Shakespeare Hotel, at 23 Front street; the Washington Hotel, corner of Alder and Second; the New Orleans Hotel, at the corner of Yamhill and First; the Wisconsin House, at the corner of Ash and Front; the Russ House, at 126 Front street; the Railroad House, on Front near Yamhill; the St. Louis Hotel, on Front street; the New York Hotel, at 17 North Front; the Patton House, at No. 175 Front street; the Fisk House, on First near Main; the Cosmopolitan, at the corner of Front and Stark; the California House, at 13 Stark street; the Brooklyn Hotel, on First street near Pine. There were also twelve boarding houses and nine restaurants. Real estate agents now numbered six houses; J. S. Daly, Dean & Bro., William Davidson, Parrish & Atkinson, Russell & Ferry, Stitzel & Upton. The wholesale merchants contained many names in active business; Allen & Lewis, Baum Bros., Fleischner & Co., Jacob Meyer, L. White & Co., Seller, Frankeneau & Co., and Goldsmith & Co. Of retail merchants of that time there may be named C. S. Silver, S. Simon, A. Meier, D. Metzgar, W. Masters & Son, John Wilson, M. Moskowitz, P. Selling, Loeb Bros., Koshland Bros,, Van Fridagh & Co., S. Levy, Mrs. C. Levy, Kohn Bros., Galland, Goodman & Co., Joseph Harris & Son, J. M. Breck, M. Franklin, J. M. Fryer & Co., Beck & Waldman, Clarke, Henderson & Cook, Leon Ach, and John Enery. In groceries and provisions there were the wholesale merchants Amos, Williams & Myers; Leveredge, Wadhams & Co., and Corbitt & Macleay; and thirty-three retailers. In hardware, Corbett, Failing & Co., Hawley, Dodd & Co., E. J. Northrup & Co., and Charles Hopkins. The druggists were J. A. Chapman, Hodge, Calef & Co., Smith & Davis,. C. H. Woodward, S. G. Skidmore, and Whetherford & Co. George L. Story made a specialty of paints and oils. There were nine houses of commission merchants: Allen & Lewis, McCraken, Merrill & Co., Knapp, Burrell & Co., Everding & Farrell, George Abernethy, Williams & Meyers, Everding & Beebe, Janion & Rhoades, and T. A. Savier & Co. The lumber manufacturers and merchants were Abrams & Besser, Smith Bros. & Co., J. M. Ritchie, and Estes, Stinston & Co. The foundries were the Eagle, the Oregon Iron Works, the Willamette Iron Works, Smith Bros. Iron Works and the Columbia Iron Works. The furniture dealers were Hurgren & Shindler, Emil, Lowenstein & Co., W. F. Wilcox, and Richter & Co. Hat manufacturers were J. C. Meussdorfer, N. Walker, and Currier & Co. The flour mills, that of G. W. Vaughn and McLeran Bros. The physicians were R. Glisan, J. S. Giltner, J. A. Chapman, J. C. Hawthorn, A. M. Loryea, W. H. Watkins, R. B. Wilson, G. Kellogg, J. W. Murray, F. Poppleton, J. A. Chapman, I. A. Davenport, H. A. Bodman, S. Parker, F. C. Paine, J. C. Ryan, F. W. Schule, Robert Patton, J. M. Roland, J. F. Ghiselin, H. McKinnell, Charles Schumacher, G. W. Brown, T. J. Sloan, W. Weatherford, and J. Dickson.

For the attorneys of this as well as other years the reader is referred to the special article on the legal profession. The printers were G. H. Himes and A. G. Walling. The publications were The Oregonian, which issued daily and weekly editions and was published by H. L. Pittock with H. W. Scott as editor; The Bulletin, James O’Meara editor; the Oregon Herald, H. L. Patterson proprietor and Sylvester Pennoyer editor; the Pacific Christian Advocate, I. Dillon editor; the Catholic Sentinel, H. L. Herman editor; the Oregon Deutshe Zeitung, A. Le Grand editor, and the Good Templar with C. Beal as editor. The Oregon Almanac and city directory were regularly issued by S. J. McCormick.

The saddlers were J. B. Congle, Samuel Sherlock & Co., N. Thwing, and Welch & Morgan. The leather dealers J. A. Strowbridge and Daniel O. O’ Reagan. The dentists were J. R. Cardwell, C. H. Mack, J. G. Glenn, J. H. Hatch, J. W. Dodge, William Koehler, and Friedland & Calder. In the crockery and glassware trade there were W. Jackson, H. W. Monnastes, A. D. Shelby, M. Seller, and J. McHenry.

Harvey Whitefield Scott. History of Portland, Oregon: with Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of Prominent Citizens and Pioneers. Portland, Oregon. D. Mason & Company, 1890.

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