History

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 By Finn J.D. John    History    June 13, 2019 

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...

 

Chamber of Commerce past award winners

Citizen of the Year 2018 Cathy Morgan 2017 Jane Vincent 2016 Susan Blachnik 2015 Mayor Dave Stram 2014 Jay Payne 2013 LaVae Robertson 2012 Bob Hooker 2011 Patti Bond 2010 Jean McKittrick Rose Barker...

 
 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 Melinda Allan    History    May 2, 2019

REMEMBERING VANGE • 25 YEARS AGO From the April 26, 1989 edition of The Chronicle

To some people, it sounds more like having a nightmare than following your dream. But it all depends on your point of view. "The headline should read, '43-year-old woman quits secure, well-paying job...

 
 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...

 

Where are they now? - Creswell alum is 'friend of ag' in Wyoming

A Creswell High School alum recently was honored with a 2019 Friend of Agriculture award in Pinedale, Wyo. Zach Turnbull is a large carnivore biologist and was given the award by the Green River...

 

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...

 

Offbeat Oregon History: Umatilla mayor's wife had an 'election-day surprise' for him

It was around 2 p.m. on Election Day, in December of 1916, that Umatilla's mayor, E.E. Starcher, first discovered that he was not running unopposed for re-election. That's when someone mentioned to...

 

Offbeat Oregon History - Flying saucer stories got their start in Pendleton

If you were getting ready to take a UFO-themed road trip around the western U.S., there are several places that would naturally be at the top of the list. There's Roswell, New Mexico, of course. And...

 

Offbeat Oregon History: Old-time country doctors led colorful and interesting lives

One of the most colorful and rewarding occupations in human history was that of a country doctor in the first half of the 20th century. By about 1900, breakthroughs in medical science had put some...

 

Offbeat Oregon History - Youngsters' summer shipwreck adventure couldn't happen in today's world

The first day of summer vacation in 1930 was a real red-letter day for Washington High School students Stan Allyn and Wally Stenlake. Of course, every high-school kid looks forward to that first day...

 

Offbeat Oregon History: Portland's 'Temperance War of 1874:' The backstory

The temperance movement, when it came to Portland in the early 1870s, really shouldn't have taken anybody by surprise. What was surprising, though, was the form it took when it got there. Portland's...

 

Offbeat Oregon History - Plain-talking preacher was too blunt for Legislature's comfort

Back in 1859, when the pioneer lawmakers of the very first Oregon State Legislature extended an invitation to Missionary Baptist circuit preacher "Uncle Joab" Powell, the most famous man of the cloth...

 

Offbeat Oregon History - Filming of 'Worst Western ever' was an unforgettable spectacle in Oregon

If you've never heard "Harold Hecht's 'The Way West'" referenced as a legendary box-office bomb, that's probably because of Michael Cimino. Cimino's epic testament to directorship run amok, a baroque...

 

Offbeat Oregon History - Dry town's sting on local drugstore's secret saloon didn't go well

In 1899, the spiritual leaders of Forest Grove had a problem: There was a serpent in their Garden of Eden. Forest Grove was founded by members of the Congregational Church - a denomination directly...

 

OFFBEAT OREGON HISTORY:Klamath County's squabble over courthouses wasted $3.1 million

Back in the early years of the Beaver State, the location of the county courthouse was a very big deal. There are stories of residents of one town stealing the county records from another in the dark...

 

Offbeat Oregon History - Central Oregon's pioneer aviators weren't afraid to take risks

Part of the problem with owning and operating the only flight school in town in the 1920s and 1930s was, every time one of your students slapped together some home-built piece of kit, you'd be...

 

Offbeat Oregon History - Central Oregon's Lost Crystal Cave: Is it real, or is it folklore?

Central Oregon is cave country. There may be more caves, discovered and undiscovered, within a 100-mile radius of Bend than anywhere else in the country - ranging in size from tiny, dangerous lava...

 

Offbeat Oregon History

On April 12, 1918, Oregonians opened their newspapers to learn that there was a traitor in their midst. “Portland librarian radical in declaring loyalty to kaiser!” shrieked the Salem Statesman. ...

 

Offbeat Oregon History

Around 10 p.m. on the night of Saturday, March 19, 1932 - just a few months before Prohibition was ended - four vehicles rolled furtively into the little Coast Range town of Toledo. A big,...

 

Murderers wandered McKenzie Valley begging friends to perjure themselves

In Charles Maturin's classic 1820 Gothic horror novel, "Melmoth the Wanderer," a sinister scholar named Melmoth, having sold his soul to the devil in return for an extra 150 years of life and sufferin...

 

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