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 By Finn J.D. John    History    June 20, 2019 

Bungling attempt by old crimps marked the end of the shanghaiing era

The election of 1904 didn't end the practice of shanghaiing in Portland, but it did put a huge and (eventually) fatal dent in it. Larry Sullivan, the socially poised and politically connected prince o...

 

Offbeat Oregon History - Monopoly legislation throws crimp in waterfront boarding business

Things were looking a bit grim for former welterweight champion of the world William "Mysterious Billy" Smith and his partners in almost-crime, brothers Harry and Jim White. They had learned the...

 
 By Finn J.D. John    History    June 6, 2019

Offbeat Oregon History - World champion boxer by day, kidnapper by night

In 1903, Larry Sullivan was at the height of his power in Portland. Hard-fisted and belligerent, yet socially polished and with what passed in old Portland society for refined manners, he was able to...

 
 By Finn J.D. John    History    May 30, 2019

Offbeat Oregon - Portland's 'shanghai Tunnels' are mostly myth, but not entirely

One of the most popular tourist attractions for visitors to Portland is a tour of the "Shanghai Tunnels" that run beneath Old Town's streets. Historians of old Portland tend to scoff at the whole...

 
 By Finn J.D. John    History    May 23, 2019

Offbeat Oregon History - Hillboro's 'Diamond Bill' Barrett: 'The Heiress Whisperer'

Every now and then, one runs across a man who can sweet-talk absolutely anyone into anything. Such a man was William "Diamond Bill" Barrett Jr., the black sheep of a solid, respectable family of...

 
 By Finn J.D. John    History    May 16, 2019

Offbeat Oregon History: Ship captain doubled down on ill-considered wager ... and lost

One gray October day in 1898, three British ship captains were sitting in the parlor of the Seamen's Rest, a sort of YMCA for sailors located in the bustling port of Tacoma. They were in a betting...

 
 By Finn J.D. John    History    May 2, 2019

Offbeat History: Lava Lake murders are still officially unsolved, but...

BY THE TIME THE ICE over Lava Lake melted in the spring of 1924, no one had any illusions about what they would find underneath it. Trappers Edward Nickols, Dewey Morris and Roy Wilson had...

 

Offbeat Oregon History: Old-time loggers and millworkers were tough, stoic characters

Nearly everyone whose family has been in Western Oregon for more than one or two generations has an older male relative who’s missing some parts — one or more fingers perhaps, or part of a foot...

 

Offbeat Oregon History: Skunk's 'beautiful pelt' would have been best admired from afar

One of the most appealing things about life in rural Western Oregon, around the middle of the last century, was the wildlife. Loggers and mill workers in places like Valsetz and Wendling might not hav...

 

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