Atlantis Arisen/Chapter 7
A TALK ABOUT THE WALLAMET AND ITS CHIEF TOWN.
The Wallamet—it is spelled Wilamette on the maps, though the common usage is still to pronounce the word as it was originally spelled—is the river of West Oregon.
Before proceeding to my observations upon this portion of the country, I am impelled to enter my protest against the violation of truth and good taste in giving to so sonorous and musical a word as Wallamet the French termination of ette, and, furthermore, substituting an i for the nobler-sounding a, The word is Indian in origin, and although the early writers differed somewhat in their spelling, they gave it the native pronunciation of Wal-la-met, the a in both syllables being very broad. Spoken properly it is a beautiful name, but as corrupted it is a senseless jingle.
The river has two mouths, one coming into the Columbia where Scappoose Bay sets in, just above St. Helen, the other about twenty miles above. That portion of the river below the upper mouth is separated from the Columbia by an island from one mile to several miles in breadth, being a fertile and beautiful outlying district of the great valley to which it belongs. The original name of this island was Wappatoo, from the abundance of a tuberous root of that name (Sagittaria sagittifolia) which was used by the natives for food. The first settler here was one Sauvé, a French-Canadian, after whom the island was thenceforth called, but with the difference in spelling which makes it Sauvie's Island.
To this lovely insular tract the Columbia maintains a claim, and asserts its right annually during its rise to submerge a goodly portion of it, driving the inhabitants to vacate their houses for a period of two or three weeks. But the farmers are willing to be thus inconvenienced for the sake of the crops obtained from the quick soil after the flood has subsided. On the mainland opposite the island a high range of heavily-wooded hills from the Columbia highlands follows along the Wallamet to and beyond Portland, but receding to a sufficient distance to leave large tracts of rich land, some of which is subject to overflow, but much of which is valuable for farming.
The upper mouth of the Wallamet comes out between the head of the Sauvé Island and a low point opposite a part of the peninsula which is formed by the junction of the two rivers. Lying between the peninsula and the Columbia is a group of small islands, all densely wooded with cotton-wood and willow, extending also along the Oregon shore of the Columbia for several miles, being separated by bayous only less luxuriantly fringed with trees than those of Florida or Louisiana, and without the alligators and moccasin snakes. These places, like those water-ways about Astoria and Scappoose Bay, furnish extensive hunting-grounds in the duck-shooting season.
Just at the junction of the Wallamet and Columbia Rivers I found one of the most charming views to be had in Oregon. From the deck of a steamer passing in between these islands one sees the vast stretch of the great river behind us, and the reach of the one before us, with their verdant and wooded shores, the Cascade Range drawn in blue on the eastern horizon, with the white peaks of St. Helen, Hood, Adams, and Jefferson rising sharply above it, and over the whole the rosy glow of sunset tingeing the mountains, making the blue violet, the white pink, the scene being reflected from the river's surface as from a mirror, snow-peaks, islands, and all! One might travel far to see anything finer.
The Wallamet, unlike the more majestic Columbia, divides nearly in half a level valley, but the prairies do not come to the river-banks for a considerable distance. This valley is enclosed on the east side by the Cascade Range, on the west side by the Coast Range, and on the south by a cross-range of spurs from either side, being left open only on the north, where it is cut off by the Columbia River, but from which it is hidden by a forest extending for nearly twenty miles from the river southward. This forest covers not only the highlands as far as the Falls of the Wallamet, but also the low sandy plains which form the lower section of the valley. From this description of the north end of the Wallamet Valley, coupled with the account already given of the Columbia, it is easy to appreciate the correctness of the poet's—
Where rolls the Oregon,"
as well as some of the difficulties which beset the Oregon pioneers; and to understand why the early settlers travelled in canoes from the mouth of the Columbia, or from The Dalles, to the heart of the valley before even betaking themselves to a horse,—a wagon being unthought of for travel.
When we have passed the head of Sauve Island we find these river-banks more populous than those of the Columbia. On the right hand, going up, is the town of Linnton, located forty-seven years ago by Hon. Peter H. Burnett, author of "Recollections of a Pioneer," and first governor of California, a pleasant writer and an irreproachable man. Nearly opposite Linnton, which, by the by, was named in honor of that Missouri senator who fought so long and persistently for the Oregon donation law, is the town of St. John, occupying probably about the site selected for a city by that eccentric, if not demented, Hall J. Kelley, who organized in New England an immigration society to bring settlers to Oregon in 1832. Think of that, you whose knowledge of this region leads you to fancy it a terra incognita! Poor Kelley had a lugubrious experience, being taken for a horse-thief by the Hudson's Bay Company and harshly treated. Yet he was very near the truth in his views and prognostications concerning tips country. It was not the company's horses he was after, but the earth under the feet of that powerful corporation, whose officers had reason to wish him away.
At Linnton there is a smelter for reducing ores from the mines of Eastern Oregon and other districts. The Northern Pacific Railroad (Portland branch) runs along the river here, and passes through Linnton, on its way north to the crossing of the Columbia at Kalama, on the Washington side. I took a ride over it early in May, when the tall cherry orchards of the farms and the dogwoods of the forest vied in the snowy whiteness of their abundant flowering, and the rounder-topped plum-trees filled in the spaces, while golden dandelions spangled the road-side, and away across the reaches -of river and wood symmetrical St. Helen rose grandly from the horizon, half veiled in the mists of early morning.
Along the margin of the Wallamet are groups of handsome oak-trees, which grow and thrive on the bottom-lands where a fir-tree cannot live. In fact, a fir is built to shed even the rains from about its roots, while its foliage is so full of pitch that water cannot penetrate it. Thus cunningly has nature provided for the safety of its creations.
It is about six miles from St. John to Portland, but does not seem so far, the shores being inhabited, and the evidences of business increasing with every revolution of the steamer's sternwheel.
The chief city of Oregon is set in an amphitheatre of hills, which rise abruptly at a distance of little more than a mile from the river at its widest part. But for the low nature of the ground it might be extended down as far as Linnton and its manufactories; probably will be when the necessity for more room forces business down river. The town will also grow up river, where there are choice sites for residences, and back over the heights, which are already being quite thickly built up. But the overflow of population will go to the east side of the river, where East Portland and Albina, with their numerous additions, are even now spreading over a wide area, the land on this side being level across to the Columbia, a distance of six miles.The mistake of the builders of Portland was in not reserving the river front for a levee. The approach to the city is rendered unsightly by the ugly rears of stores and warehouses, and by the peculiar appearance of the two-storied wharves, constructed for convenience of landing during extreme high and low water. Without these unpleasant feature*, Portland would present from the river a very attractive picture.
The site of Portland was first taken up in 1843 by a man named Overton,—a Tennesseean,—who sold his claim the following year to Messrs. Lovejoy and Pettygrove, who erected a log-house at the foot of what is now Washington Street, and began to clear the land, which was surveyed into lots and blocks in 1845. A second building for a store was erected that winter, near the first one. It was not, like the dwelling, of logs, but a frame covered with shingles, and went by the name of the "Shingle Store" long after more ambitious competitors had arisen.
The growth of the embryo town was by no means rapid, as the year of its "taking up" witnessed the first considerable immigration to Oregon. Of these one thousand immigrants, a few stopped in Oregon City, the recognized capital of the Territory, and the remainder scattered over the fertile plains, in quest of the mile square of land for which they had come to this far-off country. The same continued to be true of the steadily-increasing immigration of the following years; so that it was not until 1848 that Portland attained to the dignity of a name.
Of the two owners, one, Mr. Pettygrove, was from Maine, and desired the bantling to be called after the chief town of his native State. With the same laudable State love, Mr. Lovejoy, who was from Massachusetts, insisted on calling the town Boston. To end the dispute a penny was tossed up, and, Mr. Pettygrove winning, the future city was christened Portland. When it is taken into consideration that Portland, Maine, is nearly two degrees'farther south than Portland, Oregon, and that roses are blossoming in the gardens of the latter, while snow lies white and winter winds whistle over the leafless gardens of the former, the older city has no occasion to feel concerned for the comfort of its godchild.
After being named, Portland changed owners again. Mr. Pettygrove bought out his partner, and afterwards sold the whole property to Mr. Daniel H. Lownsdale, receiving for it five thousand dollars in leather, tanned by Mr. Lownsdale in a tannery adjoining the town site. In 1848, or before the gold discoveries, money was almost unknown in Oregon: orders on the Hudson's Bay Company, the Methodist Mission, and wheat, being the currency of the country. Mr. Lownsdale, it seems, had the honor of introducing a new circulating medium, which was Oregon-tanned leather.
Still another change in the proprietorship occurred in 1849, Lownsdale selling an interest in the town to W. W. Chapman and Stejohen Coffin. During this year—there being now about one hundred inhabitants—the Portlanders organized an association and elected trustees for the purpose of erecting a building to be used as a meeting-house for religious services, and for a school-house. It was used also as a court-room, and continued to serve the public in its triple capacity for several years.
The gold excitement of 1848-49 for a time had a tendency to check improvements in Oregon; but finally the wandering gold-seekers began to return and cultivate their neglected farms. California demanded grain and lumber; and these things Oregon could furnish in abundance. 'Vessels now came frequently to Portland from San Francisco and the Sandwich Islands; and in 1850 Couch & Co., of Portland, despatched a vessel—the brig "Emma Preston"—to China, thus fulfilling in part the dream of Jefferson and Benton. Couch's Addition was also laid out this year, and the pioneer steamboat of Oregon, the Lot Whitcomb was launched on Christmas day, at Milwaukee, to run between Portland and Oregon City. The Weekly Oregonian was started at Portland the same year by Thomas J. Dryer.
In January, 1851, the city was incorporated, with 1000 inhabitants, Hugh D. O'Bryant being chosen mayor. In March began the regular monthly mail service between Portland and San Francisco, per the steamship Columbia, Captain Dali. Two years later the taxable property of the town was valued at $1,195,034, or about half the value of its real and personal property. From this time the growth of Portland was healthy and uniform. During the mining excitement of 1864, '5, '6, there was a more hurried growth and more inflated condition of trade, which, however, subsided with the cause. In 1870 the population of Portland was under ten thousand, but the proportion of wealth to population was greater than any town in the United States, paying taxes on six million dollars of property assessed at one-third of its value. From that time forward the growth of the city has been steady rather than forced. According to the census of 1890 the population of Portland proper is 47,294, and its suburbs on the east side of the river contain—East Portland, 10,481; Albina, 5,104.
A noticeable feature of Portland is the snug and homelike appearance of the city. The streets are narrow—too narrow, indeed, for the display of the fine structures already erected and in progress; the squares are small, affording frequent streets and corner lots—so small that many of Portland's capitalists have appropriated a whole one to themselves, giving a perspective to their tasteful mansions which their business houses lack. The absence of long blocks of uniform structures must ever deprive the city of a certain metropolitan solidity of appearance, but the airiness and individuality of short blocks constitute one of its chief attractions.
Portland follows the rule of the Pacific Northwest, and builds its residences of wood, which is cheaper, more rapidly built, and more conformable to the climate than brick and stone. The sun is a necessity everywhere along the coast, and a wooden house is quickly warmed through by it, while brick houses exclude the heat, and the winters are seldom cold enough to make thick walls desirable for protection from frost. There is not in Portland yet any great leaning toward the half mediaeval style adopted in some of the trans-montane cities, which indeed is out of place in wooden structures and not consonant either with the material of the houses, the climate, or the spirit of the age, which eschews "Mariannes in a moated grange," Juliets in hooded balconies, and every appearance of constraint. Even the colonial style, which is much affected, seems out of place in close neighborhood with Portland's elegant High School building, Medical College, or the City Hall now building. The most that can be claimed is that it gives variety and individuality to indulge in these architectural vagaries.
In the matter of churches, schools, public business buildings, both wealth and good taste are manifest. Among the former, which are numerous, the First Presbyterian, Grace Methodist, Trinity (Episcopal), and the Jewish Synagogue, Beth Israel, are handsome as they are diverse. Of private schools, St. Mary's Academy (Catholic), for girls; St. Michael’s College, for boys; Bishop Scott Military Academy, for boys, and St. Helen’s Hall, for girls, both Episcopal, are the chief. Besides these, there are two business colleges, two medical colleges, and the law department of the State University. The public schools of Portland, of which there are thirteen, are large and pleasantly located, and the work done in them leaves little to be desired in the way of public instruction. The High-School work, particularly the drawing, which I chanced to see at a Teachers’ National Association a few years ago, was equal to the best exhibited by any of the States.
The Portland Chamber of Commerce, now in course of erection, is a handsome six-story edifice, surmounted by a square tower over the entrance. The new Daily Oregonian building is seven stories high, with a tall, square clock-tower and flag-staff, which will be visible above its. less pretentious neighbors from the outlying parts of the city. I might go on, citing evidences of the taste and the means to gratify it which one meets at every hand in this very charming city, but resist the inclination upon the reflection that I may lay myself open to the suspicion of being claquer for Portland, whereas I am aware that other cities in this Pacific Northwest share in the desire and the means to be beautiful.
I cannot refrain, however, from mentioning that pride of Portlanders, the Hotel Portland, which completely fills one of the city squares, and then has not room enough. It faces the Custom-House and Post-Office, and has on one side of it that fine temple to Thespis known as the Marquam Grand, having been built by one of Portland’s pioneers of that name. There is something of a history to the Hotel Portland, which was projected by Henry Villard just before the crash in his affairs which followed the opening of the Northern Pacific to Portland via the Columbia River. At that time the Central School occupied this block, and when Villard purchased it the building was removed across the street to the present site of the theatre. Work was then begun upon the foundations of the hotel, but was soon suspended, and the premises remained an unsightly spectacle in the heart of the town for several years, during which the Oregonian labored faithfully to spur on its completion by the citizens, but stock in the enterprise was slowly taken until the magnates of the Southern Pacific, on the completion of the Oregon and California road, bluntly declared that neither they nor any other persons of distinction would ever care to visit Portland unless modern hotels were erected and maintained according to modern taste in such matters. And what was the result ? Whereas, before, every man of means was a householder, as he should be, straightway the Hotel Portland was completed it became the fashion to live at this hostelry instead of one’s own house, until tourists were in danger of being crowded out by the home patronage, and the manager, one of the world- renowned Lelands, was forced to discourage permanent boarding. A secondary result was the erection of more hotels and improved hotel service generally.
Another object of which the city is justly proud is its Industrial Fair building, where is held an annual exhibit of the natural and cultivated productions of the State, its manufactures, and works of art. It is the largest on the coast, and the exhibition is surprisingly interesting as well as remarkable for bulk. Many of the exhibits are permanently preserved at the Board of Immigration, which at present occupies rented rooms, but is to be provided with more convenient quarters in the near future.
This Board of Immigration is doing a good work, if only to remind the present inhabitants of the State of their possible achievements. For strangers it furnishes many attractions and answers many questions. For instance, in the centre of the floor is a “ kiosk” constructed of the best specimens of native grains in the stalk,—quite an elegant work of art. In the centre is placed a table laden w 7 ith specimens of the choicest varieties of fruit and vegetables contributed by the orchardists and gardeners of all parts of Oregon. There are several tables arranged across the room for more general displays of fruit, and shelving around the walls containing glass jars filled with seed- grains and early fruits, each labelled with the name and locality where raised, beautifully polished slabs of cabinet woods, and wood in the rough, and collections of minerals and metals, from building-stone and coal to silver and gold. Thus the visitor is able to secure in a few hours’ time a knowledge of the resources of the country which it would require months of travel and even toil to obtain.
In studying the development of a country its social traits and institutions offer the most interesting points of observation as indications of the original character of the founders; and not only the city under consideration, but all Oregon gives evidence of its missionary breeding. Portland, west and east, has sixty- three churches, twelve of which are Methodist Episcopal, eight Presbyterian, seven Baptist, six Roman Catholic, six Protestant Episcopal, five Congregational, five Lutheran, three Evangelical, two Unitarian, two Hebrew, two Adventist, the remainder being divided among the Christian, Non-Sectarian, Dutch Reformed, United Brethren, and United Presbyterian. Portland is the see of a Roman Catholic bishopric embracing the State of Oregon. The city has the usual number of secret orders to be found in any city, half a hundred miscellaneous societies and clubs, and numerous places of amusement.
I have found in this far northwestern city the most discriminating charities. It has two excellent hospitals, one Catholic and one Protestant, well equipped for relieving suffering. Its Children’s Home, under the patronage of the Ladies’ Relief Society, is indeed a home , where no hint of pauperism is permitted to intrude; where unsightly uniforms are not required or allowed; where infants are furnished with toys, play-rooms, and kindergarten teaching, and older children with books and instruction at the public schools. This is said to be one of the best-managed institutions in the United States.
Portland ladies have also established a Women’s Union, or boarding-house for underpaid or unemployed women, where board, lodging, and laundrying costs from three to seven dollars per week, and where the needy are entertained while looking for employment. The table is good, the rooms comfortable, some even large and well furnished; there is a piano in the parlor, and lectures or other social entertainments are furnished frequently. As the patrons of these benefactions take a pride
in their work, it is likely to continue and serve as an example to younger communities.
It is greatly to the credit of a city hewn out of a wilderness, as Portland was, that it early established a public library which has grown until it contains sixteen thousand volumes, besides regularly receiving two hundred periodicals. For many years one of the city’s pioneers has given the rent of a comfortable suite of rooms over his bank for use by the Library Association, and the United States district judge a large measure of his time to the selection of books; and recently a Portland lady, dying, left a bequest to be applied to the erection of a suitable building for library purposes, which is now in course of construction.
Banks are surprisingly frequent on the streets of this city. There are already sixteen, many of them in handsome structures, and the seventeenth is being erected. This brings us to the consideration of capital and trade, and of Portland as a commercial emporium. According to the published statements of the boards of trade and immigration, the capital at disposal in the banking-houses is $20,478,750, while the capital employed in the wholesale and jobbing trade is about $65,000,000, divided among a large number of houses, one hundred of which employ from $200,000 to $1,000,000 or more. The trade of Portland has increased from $50,000,000 in 1886 to $115,000,000 in 1889.
These figures are remarkable as compared with the era of recent growth. But it must be taken into account that a long period of incubation of this wealth was enjoyed while the resources of the large area of which Portland was the trade- centre were being gradually developed. Thus trade was conservative and safe, and failures in wholesale houses or banks were unknown. The leading grocery house in this city, which does business to the extent of many millions annually, never employs travelling salesmen, although competition by Eastern houses has recently compelled other merchants to do so.
For conservatism, which is annoying to the newer men, who gird against it, the non-conservatives have a new word,—namely, “ mossbackism.” But the “ mossbacks” have the best of it, undoubtedly, in their day and generation. What the ultimate outcome of their policy may be remains to the historian to relate. Whether or not Portland is to be forever the metropolis
of Oregon, or of the Northwest, will be determined in the next ten years. Already it has dangerously active rivals on the north, which will struggle for the supremacy; but even if that were lost, this city must be to the Wallamet Valley what St. Louis is to the Mississippi or Cincinnati to the Ohio valleys.
The future magnitude of Portland depends upon its transportation facilities, which at present are good, and seemingly destined to he greatly increased. But within the memory of this generation it depended entirely upon boats of all sizes, from the canoe to the sailing ship and ocean steamer.
The history of transportation in Oregon is interesting. The Wallamet Valley being the first and for many years the only part settled, and being, as previously described, surrounded by mountains except at its north end, where it opened on the Columbia, and not accessible there except by boats, travel to the settlements was attended with much toil and difficulty. Neither the Columbia nor the Wallamet was open to continuous navigation, the latter being obstructed by falls twenty feet in height. At the falls, it is true, there grew up a little town ; but as all the open or agricultural land was some distance above this place, a portage had to be made here of a mile or two, and always at a risk of accident. As early as 1846-47 there were two or three freight-boats rigged with oars and sails on the Wallamet above the falls. In 1850 the first steamboat was launched and run below the falls, which was very soon followed by others, making trips to Astoria and Vancouver, and during the autumn immigration to the Cascades to assist the newcomers in reaching the valle}\ Then the Indian troubles made necessary transportation above the Cascades, and above The Dalles, inducing first the building of sail and next of small steamboats on those sections of the river. Finally a number of the individual owners combined, and an organization resulted in the incorporation in 1862 of the Oregon Steam Navigation Company, Captain J. C. Ainsworth, president. To this company belonged in its early years most of the now solid men of Portland. It was well officered, conservative, but not unenterprising, and for many years held Oregon in the palm of its hand. It had a monopoly of the Columbia, having yielded the Wallamet to the People’s Transportation Company, and, in order to
make business for itself, used a goodly share of its earnings in developing mining and wheat-growing east of the Cascade Mountains.
By the Oregon Steam Navigation Company were built the first railroads in the country,—namely, the portages of five miles at the Cascades and fifteen miles at The Dalles. It also put some money into the Oregon Central on the west side of the Wallamet, which was turned over to Holladay, of the Oregon and California, on the east side, and both are now a part of the Southern Pacific system.
The stock of the Oregon Steam Navigation Company was principally in the hands of three men, J. C. Ainsworth, R. R. Thompson, and S. G. Reed, when the Northern Pacific Railroad Company made overtures for its purchase and did purchase, the former owners retaining a fourth of the stock, Captain Ainsworth being made manager and a director in the Northern Pacific Railroad Company, very fortunately, as it happened, for when the failure of Jay Cooke & Co. suspended construction and endangered the land grant, the old officers of the Oregon Steam Navigation Company came to the rescue and completed the road from the Columbia to Puget Sound in time to save the grant. The failure of the Northern Pacific Railroad having thrown on the Eastern market, where its value was not known, three-fourths of the Oregon Steam Navigation stock, the gentlemen above named employed agents to buy it up, and once more obtained control. They then built new and handsome boats for the Columbia trade, and also obtained the trade of the Wallamet River by purchasing the property of the Willamette Transportation Company, successors to the People’s Company, and became very powerful.
In 1879 Henry Villard, who had secured control of the Oregon and California, and who had conceived the plan of a road along the Columbia and across Idaho, finding the Oregon Steam Navigation Company in his way, made a proposition to purchase their steamers and portages, and with these, his steamships and railways, to form a company to be called the Oregon Railway and Navigation Company. This he was able to do, and the road he. projected is now leased to the Union Pacific, and is part of the Oregon Short Line through Idaho, con necting with
the Union Pacific’s main line. Meanwhile the Oregon Steam Navigation Company has retired to enjoy the results of good management in other lines of investment.
The railroads that centre at Portland are those of the Southern Pacific system, formerly known as the Oregon and California and the Oregon Central, which form a junction one hundred and ten miles south. The Southern Pacific gives connection with all the California lines and trans-continental roads. The Union Pacific, as above stated, has direct through connection with the East. The Northern Pacific’s Columbia River branch starts at Portland and follows the river to a point opposite the Cowlitz Valley, where it crosses by means of a ferry and runs north to Tacoma, whence its main line crosses the Cascade Range, and makes a long detour southeast via Pasco and northeast via the Panhandle of Idaho before reaching Montana, where it makes another long angle southeast and northwest before it reaches the parallel on which it stretches out for St. Paul. These routes involve sight-seeing over a vast scope of country, embracing all the great mountain ranges on the Pacific Slope, and their commercial advantages may easily be apprehended.
The Canadian Pacific also furnishes eastern connection with Portland by the outside steamer route to Victoria, or by the Northern Pacific and Puget Sound steamers to the western terminus of the road in British Columbia. The Great Northern also reaches Portland by using the Union Pacific’s lines in East Washington, thus giving the tourist bis choice of five transcontinental routes. Besides these great lines there are two narrow-gauge roads which run through the farming districts in the Wallamet Valley and contribute to the business of the me-* tropolis,—the Portland and Willamette Valley Railroad, on the east side of the river, and the Oregonian Railway, on the west side. These roads have recently been added to the Southern Pacific system and are being made standard gauge. The Oregon Pacific is an uncompleted road extending at present from Ya- quina Bay, on the coast of Oregon, across the middle of the Wallamet Valley to the Cascade Mountains. Its route is surveyed across East Oregon to a connection with the Union Pacific at Ontario, near t he Idaho line.
A narrow-gauge passenger line connects Portland with Vancouver by a ferry across the Columbia, and a steam-motor line runs from East Portland to St. Johns down the Wallamet. Cable and electric lines make urban and suburban transit ea^y and rapid. And all this development has taken place within a period which reminds one of Jack and his bean-stalk.
East Portland and Albina are practically one town, although forming two distinct municipalities, which are soon to be merged in West Portland corporation for greater convenience and mutual benefit. They are connected with the west side by ferries and by two bridges spanning the Wallamet. The wheat warehouses and elevator of the railroad companies are on the east side, there being insufficient room on the west for the accommodation of their freight business. The greater extent of level ground on the peninsula is sure in time to bring a large portion of the population to this side, as the rapid growth of these suburbs as well as the city proper plainly indicates.
As a seaport Portland has advantages and disadvantages. It is one hundred and ten miles from the ocean, but there is a good depth of water on the bar of the Columbia, and, by using a dredger at certain points on this river and on the Wallamet in low water, navigation is kept unobstructed. The expense of pilotage to and from Portland is high. Vessels not exceeding eight hundred tons register are charged four hundred and fifty dollars from Astoria to this city; over eight hundred tons, five hundred dollars ; over twelve hundred tons, five hundred and fifty dollars; over sixteen hundred tons, six hundred dollars; and over two thousand one hundred tons, special rates. Lighterage upon grain and flour is fifty cents per ton to Astoria: upon other freight one dollar. The pilotage from Astoria to sea is a special charge.
The wheat market of Portland, except in seasons of low water, when lighterage is required, is the same in point of no reshipment as that of Chicago, the grain placed on board here remaining unhandled until it reaches Liverpool, four months after clearing here, and at a cost less than export rates from the Great Lakes. The bulk of the grain grown in Oregon and Washington is shipped directly from Portland and Astoria, or Puget Sound ports, to England, Japan, and China. The clear
ances of the year ending July 15, 1890, amounted to eighty-nine million dollars for Portland.
The foreign trade of Portland is carried on in sailing vessels and by irregular steamship service. The trade with Europe employs between one and two hundred vessels annually, each vessel under a special charter.
Trade with Australia, South America, and the islands of the Pacific is carried on in a similar manner. Only two regular lines exist, one to New York and one to China. Of steamship lines there is one to San Francisco, one to Alaska, one to Puget Sound and British Columbia ports, one to the coast ports of Washington, and one projected and soon to be put in operation to Japan.
Portland is not eminent as a manufacturing city, although its domestic business is divided between eighty-eight kinds of manufactures and one hundred and fifty other lines of trade, which together employ between seven and eight thousand persons, the annual product of whose labor is estimated at twenty million one hundred and eighty-three thousand and forty-four dollars. Formerly only lumber and flour were produced for export. Mills were followed by foundries and machine-shops, whose output in 1889 was two million and fifty thousand dollars. Sash- and door-factories abound, and carriage-making is carried on to considerable extent. A cordage-manufactory had an output for 1889 valued at eight hundred thousand dollars, and a bag-, tent-, and sail-factory turned out about the same amount of goods during the year.
Many of the heavy expenditures of Portland capital have been made outside of Portland proper, as, for instance, in the construction of the smelter at Linnton and the Oregon Iron- and Steel-Works at Oswego.
Iron-beds were early known to exist near the Wallamet and Columbia Eivers, but the only development has been at Oswego, six miles from Portland, where there is an extensive deposit. The ore is a brown hematite, in a vein from six to fifteen feet in thickness. It is mined at slight expense, being near the surface. In 1862 six tons were taken out and tested in San Francisco, the test showing from fifty-six to sixty-five per cent, of metal of a superior quality. Thereupon, in 1865, the
THE WALLAMET AND ITS CHIEF TOWN. 99
Oregon Iron Company was formed, with a capital stock of five hundred thousand dollars, two-thirds of which was owned in Portland, and the compan} 7- erected the pioneer iron-smelting furnace of the Pacific Coast, with a capacity of ten tons per day.
The production of iron has been less than hoped for from an analysis of the ore, which gave sesquioxide of iron 77.16 per cent., or 54.37 per cent, of metallic iron, the other parts being water, 11.16; silica, 11.08; sulphur and phosphorus together, one-tenth of one per cent. The ore proved not to maintain throughout the richness of the sample analyzed, and the cost of production was great, on account of having to import lime and to manufacture charcoal. In 1874-75 a ton of iron cost to produce thirty-three dollars and twentjvfive cents, and sold in San Francisco in limited lots for forty-six dollars per ton, being used where special strength was required. It was found to answer well for the manufacture of car-wheels, but its cost was prohibitory, Scotch and English iron being much cheaper.
The amount produced from the date of its first manufacture to 1869 was two thousand three hundred and ninety-five tons, when work was suspended until 1874, when the company was reorganized, and in little more than two years manufactured five thousand and seventy-five tons. The property was then sold for the benefit of its creditors! In 1878 the purchasers started up the furnace, making eleven hundred and seventy tons, when it was stopped to rebuild and enlarge its capacity. Again the manufacture of iron went on for more than two years, when in the autumn of 1881 other changes were introduced, and the furnace remained idle for several years. In 1888 the company entered into a contract to furnish iron pipe for the Portland water-works, and resumed operations, which continue to the present time.
The present name of the corporation is the Oregon Iron and Steel Works Company. It supplies much of the raw material for the foundry work of Portland, the value of its product being about fifty thousand dollars annually.
There are other iron-deposits in several of the counties. The most available one is in Columbia County, near the River Columbia, convenient to deep water and timber. The iron and steel trade of Portland is nearly two million dollars yearly. The cost of the production of iron is somewhat lowered since 1869. If it could be still further lowered, there seems no reason why rails to equip the numerous railways being constructed in the Northwest should not be made in Oregon or Washington.
Portland supports nineteen newspapers and other periodicals. Four of the newspapers are dailies, among which the Oregonian, the pioneer journal, is still chief. It is the best-conducted journal on the coast, and costs its subscribers about five cents a copy. The West Shore, in another line, has done a great deal to deserve the patronage which it gets at home and abroad.
Portland is a more American city than San Francisco, although its population is becoming more mixed every year. There are many Scotchmen here in business, and a considerable amount of Scotch capital. Young Englishmen from Victoria are frequently met in society, and, like their countrymen at home, do not hesitate to criticise our social habits, and particularly the lack of chaperonage of our young ladies. I was much amused by an encounter which I witnessed between a young Englishman and a Portland young lady who had favored him with her society at the tennis court, unattended, and been rewarded for her trust in his courtesy by very uncourteous remarks upon such social freedom. Miss America defended our ideas of propriety, and Mr. Briton remained unconvinced, although he very often sought the society of the young lady.
One evening, in the course of conversation the gentleman chanced to mention the marriage of a Sir Somebody, of British Columbia, to an Oregonian lady. "Why," said Miss America, putting on a puzzled look, "I am surprised at that—unless he was in need of money." It was a telling shot, but both parties affected unconsciousness.Portland has but one popular drive. That is from First Street for five miles up the river bank to the ferry opposite Milwaukee. It affords a truly delightful view of the Wallamet, the beautiful Riverside Cemetery, and the city water-works. There is a park, which is too small, and only partially improved, at the west side of the town, in the shadow of the hills. There are, however, some wonderfully interesting drives about Portland, which will be popular when somewhat more improved, and which rival the famous eighteen-mile drive at Monterey. In California one hears constant allusion to climate. Now, while climate is valuable, and worth all that is paid for it, in comfort and pleasure, and while Oregon has as good a climate as need be desired, taking it "by and large," I think the "card" on which West Oregon should draw tourists would be scenery. Like the climate of California, it is everywhere. If you enter the State by the Southern Pacific you have one whole day, at least, of mountain views greatly excelling in variety and interest the crossing of the Sierra Nevadas, and a lovely ride through the Wallamet Valley after it. If you come by the Union Pacific, you have the Columbia River views, whose grandeur I have but faintly indicated. By the Northern Pacific you are brought in view of an extraordinary and wonderfully extended panorama, including lakes, plains, the crossing of the Cascade Range, Puget Sound, and West Washington. Or, if the approach is made via the Canadian Pacific, you enjoy other similar scenes of sublimity impossible to forget.
But here, right about Portland, are views not to be surpassed in the United States, and the Cornell Road and Portland Boulevard furnish them to you, one winding among the heights north from the city, and the other taking a southerly direction. From the ridge west of Portland you may see five snow-peaks, two great rivers, the triune cities of West Portland, East Portland, and Albina, the town of Vancouver in Washington, and half a dozen other outlying towns within a radius of twenty-five miles. You may drive for eighteen miles in one direction, looking over two counties as you go, and for twelve miles in another, of scarcely less wonderful picturesqueness, but of softer features. Neither the camera nor the pen is equal to the task of delineating scenes on a scale of such magnificence as are grouped about Portland-on-Wallamet.