Portland History

When I recall certain events of Portland History, the first few things that come to my mind are the Lewis and Clark Expedition and the Oregon Trail Migration. What I soon realized is that Portland was almost named Boston way back then. The name was eventually decided on a coin toss. Somewhat ironically, this metropolitan Mecca of the Pacific Northwest was founded by two native Easterners: one, Francis W. Pettygrove, hailed from Portland, Maine. He and a fellow explorer first arrived in Oregon in 1842, and in 1844, Pettygrove, the successful Maine merchant, built the city’s first log house on what is today’s Portland’s popular waterfront.

With its excellent access to two mountain ranges, the Pacific coast, and a plethora of cultural attractions, Portland certainly has plenty of offer working professionals, retirees, and “children of all ages.” This city of 2 million is constantly growing – and always diversifying its already well-heeled, stable economy.

With the forest and high-tech industries lording over this city, and sales, manufacturing, health care and financial services not far behind, it also employs workers for Adidas and Nike, with Nike conducting much of its wholesale trade from Portland.

And with the plentiful nightlife, recreation, leisure, and dining establishments firmly rooted in the city’s five “sections,” divided into five sectors, from North to South, there’s plenty of work to be found in the hospitality and tourism industry.

What’s In A Name?

The story began when a Tennessee drifter by the name of William Overton and Massachusetts lawyer Asa Lovejoy, beached their canoe on the banks of the Willamette River in 1843.

Overton saw the potential of the beautiful, bountiful, and unclaimed land before them. He didn’t have the 25 cents to file a land claim. So Overton made a deal with Lovejoy. In return for the 25 cents, they agreed to split the 640-acre site known as “The Clearing.”

Soon thereafter, Overton became bored clearing trees and building roads. He sold his share of his claim to Francis W. Pettygrove. So now the new partners Lovejoy and Pettygrove, couldn’t decide what to name their new town.

Lovejoy wanted to name this new town after his hometown of Boston. Pettygrove wanted to name it after his hometown of Portland, Maine.

They decided to flip a coin to settle the name. Pettygrove won 2 out of the 3 tosses. So it was settled. The rest is history.


An excerpt from Portland History. It’s Dark Past.

The shanghai trade became prominent in the late 1800s. Joseph “Bunco” Kelly, a hotel owner highly known for kidnapping young men and selling them to ship captains, was one of the most known in the trade. Bar owners and hotel owners relied on this shanghai trade to supplement their business.

The procedure was always the same. Drunk men would be delivered to waiting for ships via underground tunnels, or as we call them, The Shanghai Tunnels. They wake up the next day on a ship stranded out in sea forced to work for who knows how long. A very unfortunate event.


Another interesting thing that happened in Portland history.

Simon Benson, a lumber baron with lots of money, walked through his factory one day and smelled alcohol on his workers’ breath. Puzzled, he asked them why they drank beer during the day. The workers told him that there’s no fresh water to drink anywhere downtown.

Soon thereafter, Benson commissioned 20 elegant freshwater drinking fountains to be placed in the downtown area. They’re now known as the Benson Bubblers. After the fountains were installed, beer consumption in the city decreased by 25 percent.

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Portland History

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