Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Facts and failures

  When I started this blog I didn't want to have the primary focus on history. It's hard to maintain that sometimes. With Facts and failures from time to time I want to address random facts about Portland that may or may not be common knowledge, as well as try to put to rest equally common or not so common myths or failures attached to Stumptown. For this week's F&F I am going to go light and lay off of the failures and start with some facts, Jack!

Even if your name is indeed not Jack, you can continue.

• Portland's official bird is the Blue Heron.

• Portland's Forest Park has over 5,000 acres of land. It is the largest wilderness park in the country.

• Portland and Bend, Oregon are the only 2 contiguous United States cities built with extinct volcanoes inside their city limits.

• In 1905 the largest log cabin in the world was built in Portland to honor the Lewis & Clark expedition.

• The Port of Portland is the largest shipper of wheat in the United States and 2nd largest in the world.

• The Hood to Coast relay is the largest event of it's kind in the world.

• At the time it was incorporated in 1851, Portland had a little over 800 residents, a steam sawmill, a log style hotel, 2 markets and one newspaper, The Weekly Oregonian. It later became the Morning Oregonian to what we know now as simply, The Oregonian. Pretty basic stuff, right?

Morning edition of the Oregonian courtesy of an old sock drawer.
  Of course there are the basic facts listed above. We all know very well of the good and bad of Portland's past and it's facts and myths. I personally find the next set a little more off the beaten path of the regular facts of Portland.

• In 1888 Henry Weinhard offered to pump free beer, from his brewery just up the hill, into the newly dedicated Skidmore fountain. He was turned down very quickly.

• Portland sits atop a Plio-Pleistocene geological feature, called the Boring Lava Field. It is filled with 32 dormant or extinct cones, over 50 vents and is almost 2 million years old.

• Don MacLeod, owner of Music Millennium, one of the oldest music stores in the Northwest, founded "Keep Portland Weird" to help keep one of the sources of weirdness - it's unique local businesses - alive.  Which really isn't weird at all.

• The Portland Police Department hired the nation's first policewoman, Lola Baldwin, in 1908.

Saturday Market is the largest, continuously operating, open-air market crafts market in the United States.

Mill Ends Park, the world's smallest official park, measures 2 feet across. It was created 1948 for the leprechauns, and a place to hold snail races on St. Patrick's Day.

• Portland was home to the first professional hockey team in the United States. The Portland Rosebuds, who were here from 1914 to 1918. They were also the first American team to participate in the Stanley Cup Finals (1916)

Old time hockey with the Portland Rosebuds, 1916.
  I feel as though I have filled this space with a reasonable amount of generic fact. I'll see what I can round up for the next time.

Play Nice.


  1. Gr8 accumulation of facts but Forest Park is more than 5,000 ACRES in size. Portlandism knew that 4 sure. ;-)

  2. Hahahahaha, indeed a typo, Roger. Thanks for reading, and paying attention!