Oregon History

Photo of the week: Flora, Oregon

India Littler from anemone antiques and cloudberry studio sent us this remarkable photograph (she discovered it and kindly scanned it for us) of a street scene from Flora, Ore. (Click on the photo for the large view.)

flora

Honestly? We’d never heard of Flora. A quick search revealed that:

Flora is an unincorporated community in Wallowa County, Oregon, United States. It is located about 35 miles north of Enterprise, just off Oregon Route 3, and is considered a ghost town.

Check out this blog post of the town nowadays (well, in 2008). The town also has a  yearly event in June that celebrates old time skills (weaving, spinning, wood cookstove use and more). Sounds cool.

Lost: Moore’s Flour Mill in Oak Grove

bobs

Continuing our look at the Clackamas County Cultural Resource Inventory, we travel down the Trolley Trail to 4001 SE Roethe Road. On the site, there once stood a flour mill. The machinery, built in 1879 was imported from Muncie, Indiana. It was a full functioning mill until the mid-1980s, when it burned down.

The name Moore’s Flour Mill, might ring a bell, however. The owner of the mill in the mid-80s, was Bob Moore. After the fire, the company relocated to International in Milwaukie.

As Paul Harvey might say, “you might know it better these days as Bob’s Red Mill.”

Here’s a cool recollection from an Oregon Fresh post on Bob:

“I told Charlee, ‘you know, it’s crazy, but I think that’s an old mill.’ I could see the grinders and mixers; it had been closed for years,” says Bob. He later learned that a rail line used to carry grains to the mill, and when it was pulled out in 1957, there was no longer an easy way to deliver grains there, so it closed. Bob and Charlee made a decision to purchase the mill, and Bob’s Red Mill was born. They started with 11 employees, making 100 different products, including 10-grain cereal and cornmeal.

The mill represents our agricultural past and at time was the last remaining working mill in the Oak Grove and Milwaukie area – until the new Bob’s was built.

Here’s where the mill was approximately located:

Lost: Church in Oak Grove, Ore.

Note: This is a cross-post from my other blog, Oak Grove! (The O.G.). 

Last month there was a discussion on the Oak Grove Facebook page about the empty lot on River Road and Courtney next to the handsome house that sits next to the corner. A commenter mentioned there was – at one point  in time – a church on the corner that had the same style of the well-kept home that sits on the (almost) corner.

Some sleuthing revealed that – indeed – there was a church where the grassy lot now sits. Pouring through the Clackamas County Cultural Resource Inventory book I found a photo (albeit a shitty, Xeroxed one) of the church that had once stood on the spot.

Long-gone church on River Road and Courtney Avenue.

Long-gone church on River Road and Courtney Avenue.

(The book, by the way, is an amazing resource for local historians and building nerds. In 1983, the county sent out letters to residents asking them a few questions about their property (year built, style of home, etc.). The purpose of the inventory was to provide the State Historic Preservation Office with information for possible inclusion in the statewide inventory. Sadly, many of the buildings in the book are no longer standing- like the corner church.)

But back to the photo – it’s not a great photo, but you can clearly see the tip of the existing building in the middle as well as the unique “steeple” above that. Described as “Western Falsefront-Bungalow,” the building was constructed in approximately 1901- 1910 and was still standing in 1983.

What else has Oak Grove – architecturally – lost in the last 30 years? Plenty, if flipping through the inventory is any indication. We’ll occasionally post some of our lost treasures – with the hope that they inspire us to save what we currently have.

Sign of the times

Portland Penny Diner’s new signage wins Sign of the Year, hands down!

From the restaurant’s website:

In 1845 Frances Pettygrove and Asa Lovejoy determined the city of Portland’s name with the flip of a coin. And we like to think that after the toss they walked into their favorite diner, or as they called them in that time “lunch wagons,” for a celebratory bite to eat. The Portland Penny Diner embraces that spirit, brings people in from the rain and artfully combines the culinary traditions of Northwest immigrants and natives.

Diary of a Portland 1920s teen

I first met Doris on Twitter earlier in the year. I started following her because her tweets were interesting – she wrote about Portland, its politics, her trips around town, and stops at local attractions.

Oh, and yeah, her tweets were from the mid-1920s.

No, Doris didn’t time travel, nor did I. Doris is actually the great aunt of author Julia Park Tracey. “Doris” is Doris Baily and she passed away last year. Park inherited her diaries and they were so chock full of great material, Park created a Twitter account for her late aunt. Lucky for us.

Each tweet (@TheDorisDiaries) gives a glimpse of Doris’ view of the world, of Portland, of America in its teens. As a self-proclaimed local history nerd, her tweets offers me a perspective of Portland living that goes beyond drawn-out history books or long, snoozy tomes. These tweets seem real – because they are – right from Doris’ diary. Sure, many of the tweets are about being a teen but many bring local Portland history to life, such as:

Went to town again for lack of any other excitement. Saw Art Young, and he walked from the entrance of Meier & Frank’s to the fifth floor.

The Meier & Frank building (now Macy’s) is a wonderful structure in downtown Portland. I see it every day, yet reading the above entry confirms its existence – it really was there in the 1920s – and people saw it then and probably thought it was a handsome building then. It’s this kind of “macro history” that really appeals to me.

Portrait of Doris

Based on these tweets, Park Tracey has now compiled them into a new, wonderful book,   “I’ve Got Some Lovin’ To Do: The Diaries of a Roaring Twenties Teen.” It’s a must-read for Portlanders, local history buffs and those interested in how one Portland teen lived in the 1920s. It mixes Doris’ thoughts with local history tidbits and uses photography to tie it all in. Doris’ father was also a Portland architect and  family photos help illustrate chapters (the Portland photo from her father’s office is a stunner of a never-seen photo).

Doris died at home, with her dog and cat nearby, at age 101 in March of 2011. She was a remarkable teen and later a full-of-life adult. We’re fortunate that Park Tracey came across her diaries – we can only hope there’s more from Doris and another book in the wings.

Photo of the Week: Mitchell, Oregon

I’ve been enjoying Foster Church’s Discovering Main Street: Travel Adventures in Small Towns of the Northwest. In the book, he profiles Oregon and Washington small towns and Main streets – with an eye on history, a mix of tourism (and definitely a reality check – not all small towns are charming while some have seen better days).

It’s a great read and it’s recommended.

Speaking of Oregon towns, this week’s photo is of downtown Mitchell, Oregon. Like the website says,

Mitchell is “…a small town populated with a singularly independent breed for whom conformity is a virtue only in one’s neighbor,” according to Tom Fitzgerald, lifelong resident of the area.

They have a great photo set of historical photos as well.