Sangha member Jane Comerford’s recently released book, A History of Northwest Portland: From the River to the Hills, is chock full of interesting pieces of information on the development of the NW section of Portland, Oregon. At 160 pages, it is an elegantly designed and well researched coffee table style book filled with over 150 historic photographs, some previously unpublished.
Jane will be speaking and signing books at Powell’s Books (NW), Jan. 31st, 7:30pm; and at Annie Blooms Books (Multnomah), Feb.13th, 7pm. All are welcome to attend.
A History of Northwest Portland begins with the Donation Land Claims of the 1840s, when settlers and early entrepreneurs gambled that Portland would become a major shipping port, and when Captain Couch’s claim and platted addition became the genesis of NW Portland, then known as the North End. It follows the industrial buildup along the waterfront on the north end, filled with wharves, steam sawmills, lumber companies and foundries, and the creation of the immigrant area known as Slabtown. It watches as residential neighborhoods move further back from the river to make room for increasing commerce and industry along the waterfront, leaving behind an area of boarding houses and hotels, filled with ethnic minorities, sailors and transients that would become Old Town. It sees those same residential neighborhoods move still further west toward the hills, making room for rail lines, warehouses and light manufacturing, an area which will later be transformed into the Pearl District. It follows the movement of roads and trolleys as they open up new neighborhoods in the foothills and even the hills themselves, as Willamette Heights and Westover Terraces are born. It tracks the environs of the “merchant prince” mansions and estates on the outskirts of town, as it grows into Nob Hill, the most densely populated part of the city. It observes the evolution of each of these neighborhoods through the passage of time, as they react to specific events, respond to commercial demands, and adapt to the pressures of modernization. It records this NW quadrant of Portland as it moves through its first century and a half, transforming into the vibrant, diverse, unique and exciting place that it is today.
This is Jane’s second book. Her first, At the Foot of the Mountain, (now in its third printing) covers the early history of the coastal communities of Manzanita and Neahkahnie.
Books may be purchased at Powell’s Bookstore, Annie Blooms, Oregon Historical Society, Food Front (NW), Daedelus Books, Oxalis, A Cultured Pearl, Broadway Books, Stella’s on 21st, and on the web at http://dragonflypresspdx.com