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The Plush Davenport

Restaurant and hotel, ca. 1925 When you were young, did you sit on a sofa in your family’s living room, or did you call it a davenport, or a couch? Maybe the sofa was in a den, or a family room, or a conversation pit, where people sort of sprawled and talked? Surely you didn’t have…
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The Creek Did Rise

It doesn’t look terribly dramatic. But it was a traumatic event. On May 12, 1917, a mixed* train of the Oregon-Washington Railroad and Navigation Company tumbled from a bridge over flooded Willow Creek near Ione in Morrow County. Engineer Ulysses Hanson (or Hansen) and J. Wyman (or Haybelt — accounts differ) , a maintenance foreman,…
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Oregon Historical Society Rediviva?

The Oregon Historical Society has a substantial, but temporary, new revenue source, thanks to the recent vote of Multnomah County voters. I voted for the levy, but I did so with many misgivings. First: for the past decade, the Society has strenuously avoided telling its membership, and the state legislature, and the general public, just…
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Dining on the Redwood Highway

  Grants Pass was optimistic in the 1920s. The creation of the Oregon Caves National Monument in 1909 gave an early boost to tourism, as did the completion of the Pacific Highway in the mid-1910s. In 1922 Grants Pass businessmen constituted themselves as the Cavemen to promote the city.  The six-story Redwoods Hotel was opened…
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The Peerless Maritime Metropolis

This 34-page booklet was published about 1892, written by a prolific publicist of the West, one Patrick Donan. “The Peerless Maritime Metropolis of the Golden Northwest” was to be Astoria — once Astoria got  a railroad. A brief and somewhat lurid account of the place of Astoria in western American history leads to a description…
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Oysters on the Snake

Ostensibly in pursuit of material to support my research on the foodways* of the Pacific Northwest, I collect old restaurant menus. One of my most treasured acquisitions is a tattered carte from the State Cafe of Huntington, Oregon. Huntington is located at the confluence of the Snake and Powder Rivers. It began its career as…
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The Story of Carnation Milk

“The Story of Carnation Milk” was published in Seattle in 1915, a 32-page illustrated booklet of recipes prefaced by a paean to milk in general and to “condensed” milk in particular. The publisher was the Pacific Coast Condensed Milk Company, operator of fifteen Carnation condensaries, all located “far from city soot and manufacturing impurities, all…
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Oregon Rediviva: Renewed, rebuilt, recycled, revivified

Photo by Laural Engeman Oregon Rediviva is a new blog by Richard H. Engeman, author of The Oregon Companion and Eating It Up in Eden. It replaces two moribund blogs with those titles, with one sprightly blog that will be updated weekly. Oregon Rediviva will present short items of interest from my recent research in Pacific…
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