History

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Skill, stout shipbuilding kept shipwreck fatality-free

With all the ships that have come to grief there over the years, and all the sailors who have drowned as a result, it's a little ironic that the shipwreck that gave Peacock Spit its name was as...

 

Oregon's first murder defendant was saved from gallows by his wife

It’s hard to tell, just from reading between the lines of the court documents, but it’s probably a safe guess that Nimrod O’Kelly’s neighbors did not like him. It was the spring of 1852, and...

 

History, here: Posters around town merge past with present

SPRINGFIELD – If you haven't seen the History Here poster on the northeast corner of 18th and Olympic streets, you might not know that up until the 1960s an airfield ran just north of there from...

 

Battleship U.S.S. Oregon was lost in Pearl Harbor attack – sort of

Dec. 7, 1941, was a bad day for American battleships. Four of the U.S. Navy's front-line battleships – the Arizona, Oklahoma, West Virginia and California – were sunk or destroyed. Four more were...

 

Bordello madam Carrie Bradley was the Brigid O'Shaughnessy of 1880s Portland

One of the most enduring and appealing tropes in popular fiction is the "Femme Fatale," like Brigid O'Shaughnessy in Dashiell Hammett's The Maltese Falcon. Assertive, sexy, and utterly free from the...

 

Oregon's first published book was a torrid page-turner in its day

Early in the summer of 1854, an advertisement appeared in the Portland Oregonian – a tantalizingly feisty one, from an author braced for combat and essentially inviting the world to "bring it on":...

 

Oregon's literary legacy is built on a 'True Confession' novel

In the world of literary works, there is a definite hierarchy. It's occupied at the high end by the kind of subtle and masterful works that get raved about by New York book reviewers and short-listed...

 
 By BILL LUND    History    October 3, 2019

1984 - Museum renovation begins

EXCERPT FROM OCT. 5, 1994 - Last week, volunteers from the Creswell Historical Society tore down the chimney of the Creswell Historical Museum, marking the first phase of remodeling for the...

 

Chronicle History

Publisher's note: Helen Hollyer, publisher from 2004-11, first wrote this historical piece. It's reprinted here, abridged for space, and updated through today, in celebration of the paper's 110th...

 

Accident rash hits Creswell

EXCERPT FROM OCT. 2, 1969 – Three men escaped serious injury in separate accidents in the Creswell area between Saturday night and noon Tuesday. Two of the mishaps involved trucks and the third a...

 

Horse racing, and horse-race fixing, used to be wildly popular

Horse racing is a sport that's largely faded from the scene in Oregon. There's still an active community, and plenty of money changes hands at racetracks – but it's more or less a niche thing. That...

 

25 years ago...

Local bike enthusiast Nicole Brown competed in her first race, riding her custom built BMX at Autzen Stadium in Eugene. She finished in second place, competing as the only female in the competition....

 

The Cape Kiwanda dory fleet of Pacific City

If you get up early enough in the summertime in Pacific City, you might get to watch the Cape Kiwanda dory fleet launching for a day of fishing - launching right off the beach, into the teeth of the s...

 

Mini gas war pleases purchasers

A 'mini gas price war" erupted mildly in Creswell late last week, drawing quiet cheers from observant gasoline purchasers and frowns from gas station operators. Despite the price war, or perhaps...

 

Haystack Rock was once a tempting target for daredevil climbers

One could think of late June and early July of 1968 in Cannon Beach as the Summer of the Dead Baby Birds. On June 28, at the height of the nesting season, a 23-year-old man from Portland had scrambled...

 

Eugene's first university died when college president started a gunfight

The University of Oregon, as most alumni can tell you, was founded in 1876 as the flagship of Oregon's university system. But the channels the university project flowed through, with the enthusiastic...

 

Oregon's "Miner 29ers" beat the Great Depression with a gold pan

It was, most historians agree, the nadir of the Great Depression. The entire country had gone from singing "Happy Days are Here Again" to "Brother Can You Spare a Dime" in a few short months at the...

 

Mining law answered plan to seize gold mines with military force

In the years that followed the American Civil War, the American federal government was gasping for cash. The war had been largely financed by borrowing huge sums of money from abroad, mostly from...

 

Chasing a golden rumor, prospectors turned their backs on a fortune – twice

By Finn J.D. John Chronicle contributor It was the spring of 1862, and prospector William C. Aldred had been in the gold fields of California since the Gold Rush first broke out – about a dozen...

 

Offbeat Oregon History - Was the Bridge of the Gods a real thing? Almost certainly, yes

The opening scene of The Warlord of Mars, Edgar Rice Burroughs' third "John Carter of Mars" book, has the hero paddling up the great River Iss as it flows out of a long, dark underground passage, in...

 

Offbeat Oregon History - How a humble banana peel changed the course of Oregon history

On your next visit to the beach, you might want to bring along a banana. One of these humble fruits played a small but important part in the historical chain of events that led to the state's beaches...

 

Offbeat Oregon History - Surge of Confederate refugees made big changes in Oregon politics

The urban-rural divide in Oregon is something that's gotten quite a bit of press recently, after a group of Republicans left the state to deny a quorum for a bill they opposed. But it's a problem that...

 

Offbeat Oregon: The 'Hold-Up Session' of 1896-97 featured a giant house party

At the time of this writing, the Oregon Legislature is stuck, unable to do anything; a group of lawmakers has gone off to Idaho for the express purpose of denying the legislature's leaders a quorum....

 

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...

 

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