Friday, April 3, 2015

Seeing the Sights in Portland, Oregon

Sun, March 15th - Wed, April 1st

Sunday afternoon I flew up to Great Falls where Mom met us, and Hilary and the kids picked us up to go back to Helena with them for a couple days before my Uncle's funeral.

Wednesday we drove up to Lewistown and spent the night.  Great-grandma enjoying the latest addition to our family.

Beautiful afternoon Thursday as friends and family gathered at Uncle Tony's cabin to walk down to the family cemetery for his funeral service.

Goodbye Uncle Tony.  We love you and we'll miss you.

On the way back to Utica for the reception, we stopped to see a little piece of land owned by my cousin, Pete, and his wife where they have a small trailer and come to dig for sapphires on the weekends.

Back at Hilary's for a couple more days.  Digger says, "Oh Yeah, a burrito for the boy!  There will surely be some spillage involved in this little project that I can take advantage of."  I returned from my uncle's funeral on Sunday, March 22nd.  Monday we headed over to see John's sister and friends one more time before starting north again.  We left her place on Saturday and spent two days driving up to Portland.

View of Mount Shasta from the truck stop where we spent the night in Weed, California.  That would give the talk show hosts and comedians some fodder, if they asked where you were from and you told them Weed, California!

We saw this as we were leaving a rest area near the California/Oregon border.  Not sure what the story was, but it looked brand new.

We arrived in Portland Sunday night and got settled into our campground.  This RV was parked just across from us, a Country Coach Magna 630 Veranda.  I've never seen a motor home with a fold-out deck.  They just pushed a button and the whole wall folded out and down into an enclosed 4' x  10 ' deck with sliding door access.  Totally cool!

Monday we went with John's cousin, David, and his wife, Karen, to tour the Pittock Mansion.  Henry and Georgiana arrived in Portland separately on wagon trains in 1850.  Henry arrived barefoot and penniless and got a job as a typesetter for the Weekly Oregonian.  When the owner left for Hawaii and never came back, Henry took over the paper for back wages owed to him and became a wealthy man.  He married Georgiana when she was almost 16 and he was 26.  

Back entrance to the mansion.  Dogwood trees, magnolias, hydrangeas, lilacs, azaleas, rhododendrons, camellias, tulips, daffodils, irises, etc. all in full bloom in March!  Absolutely gorgeous!  When the mansion was completed in 1914 they moved in with an extended family of 11, including two daughters and husbands, three grandchildren,  two orphaned nieces, and a maid and a cook.  Georgiana helped start the Portland Rose Society and hosted their first rose show in her downtown backyard in 1889.  Henry was a founder of the Rose Festival in 1907 which is still held annually for a week in June with a parade similar to the New Year's Day Rose Bowl Parade.

Walking the grounds, 46 acres mostly forest with lots of hiking trails.  There were five large bedrooms, two sleeping porches that overlooked the tennis courts, four servants bedrooms on the fourth floor, seven fireplaces, steam radiation, oil furnace, inlaid floors, dumb waiter, telephones, central heating, electric lighting, elevator, a refrigerated room off the kitchen, intercom and central vacuum system throughout the entire house.

Table Lace Maple or Lace Leaf Japanese Maple.  They did a $1.6 million renovation last year just on the terraces around the outside.

View from the grounds, of downtown Portland and Mount Hood in the far distance.  On a clear day, you can see five mountains from here, including Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Rainier, Mt. Adams and Mt. Jefferson.  Henry and his daughters were avid hikers and climbers and had climbed most of the surrounding mountains.  Henry also started the first bike club in Oregon. 

Main stairway from the front entrance.  The stairwell window boxes had built-in drainage, in case of over watering.  There was a big family room in the basement with small alcoves off it for playing cards and other games.

Library where the family enjoyed their evenings together before the advent of television.

Music Room with harp and grand piano.  Just off this room was a Turkish smoking room where the men retired after dinner to smoke and drink.

View from the stairway landing out to the back yard and carriage house.  There was also a very nice three-story home for the grounds keeper.   Georgiana was 63 when they moved in here and died four years later.  Henry died seven months later at the age of 83 in 1919.

Tuesday we visited the Oregon Trail Museum in nearby Oregon City, the first capitol of Oregon.  The Donation Land Act of 1851 allowed every male U.S. citizen over age 18 to claim 320 acres.  If he was married he could claim another 320 acres for his wife, giving them one square mile of land.  Women could not own land.  The museum is built to look like three covered wagons in a semi-circle.  It starts on one end with exhibits about the folks leaving Missouri for the almost 2,000 mile trek.  In 1855 the wagons were 4' wide and 10' to 12' long and held your bedding, all your worldly possessions and enough food for 5 to 6 months for a family of 5 or 6.  Makes my RV sound pretty good.  The center has a nice film and the end has exhibits about arriving here and starting Oregon City.  It's a very nice museum. 

Oregon City (est. 1829) had many "firsts" west of the Rockies including, first town, hotel, opera house, jail, English newspaper, lending library, Congregational Church and first books published.  First Protestant Church west of the Missouri, first Catholic and Baptist Churches and moonshine whiskey still in Oregon and the first navigation locks in the Pacific Northwest.  First capitol of Oregon Country in 1843 and first capitol of Oregon Territory 1849-52 and the first long-distance transmission of electricity in the U.S.- 13 miles to Portland in 1889.  They had the largest source of water power in the valley, Willamette Falls.  The city of Portland was named following a coin toss at a dinner party in Oregon City.   

Stone marker on the right is the End-of-Oregon Trail marker 1845-46 here at Abernathy Green, next to the museum.  It was 1,924 miles from Independence, Missouri.  The wagons were called Prairie Schooners because they resembled ships sailing the ocean.  I read about one lady who had an inflatable air mattress in 1852.  It didn't say what it was made of or how she inflated it, but I bet the others on the wagon train envied her.  Another story I read was about a man who had promised his 19 year old son that he could lead the wagon train.  Unfortunately, he died of malaria four days before they left.  So his father built a coffin lined with lead and filled it with whiskey and put him in it in the lead wagon!

View of Willamette Falls and Locks from the north.  Portland battled St. Helen's, St. John's, Linton, Milwaukee and Oregon City to become Oregon's leading city and largest port.  Portland was the furthest upriver city on the Willamette River and reachable year-round by sea-going vessels.

View of the falls and locks from the south side.

Wednesday we walked around the quaint downtown of Troutdale, a suburb of Portland.

There were all kinds of pots of flowers up and down the street in front of the shops.

Then we went to McMenamins Edgefield for lunch and a walk around the lovely grounds.  It used to be what they called a poor farm, where destitute people could come and live.  It has been made into a really nice complex with several restaurants, pubs, brewery, winery, glass blowing, theater, ballroom and hotel.  We ate at the Power House Pub.  There is also a small pub named Jerry's Ice House for Jerry Garcia.

There are vineyards, orchards, gardens and a small 18 hole golf course on the grounds.

The gardens provide fresh produce for the restaurants.

There were a couple of archways like this made out of old plumbing pipes over the pathways to one of the pub patios.  There are plants in the little elbow joints and I think vines grow over it in the summer.

Thought for the day.  Moving on to Seattle Thursday for a week.  Then grand kids here we come!


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