Portland History

Giuseppe Arata:  Born in Italy, emigrated to Portland in 1883 and established the city’s first liquor store at 267 First St.  There were 3 Arata brothers who all owned wholesale or retail liquor businesses.  When prohibition was enacted they became one of the largest importers of olive oil on the west coast.

Simon Benson: Born in Norway in 1851. Moved to Portland in 1879. Started a logging business and built railroads to carry logs. Built the Benson Hotel, donated 20 drinking fountains to reduce alcohol drinking, promoted construction of the Columbia River Highway.

Jonathan Bourne: Born in Massachusetts, arrived in Portland in 1878. Studied law at Harvard and with $250K in bribes became Speaker of the House in Oregon. Bourne threw a six week bacchanal called the "hold-up session" for his fellow legislators to prevent the move from the silver to the gold standard.

Dan Burnside: Born in Vermont. Was a prominent Portland businessman who was a proponent and helped raised funds for the Willamette river channel dredging project in 1866. Burnside Street and the Burnside bridge are named after him.

John Couch: Born in Massachusetts, arrived in Oregon City by ship in 1842. Started a trading and wharf company with Capt. George Flanders. In 1845 took a claim of land in Portland known as Couch’s Addition.

Abigail Duniway: Born in Groveland, Illinois, arrived in Lafayette via the Oregon Trail in 1852. Her husband was permanently disabled by a runaway team and Abigail had to support the family. She taught school and ran a millinery shop. Angered by stories of injustice and mistreatment of the patrons of her shop, she founded a women’s rights newspaper and was an advocate for women’s sufferage.

George Flanders: Born in Massachusetts, sailed to Oregon in 1843. Began a trading company with his brother-in-law, John Couch. Built a large mansion on the block bounded by NW 19th , 20th, Flanders and Glisan. Couch and Flanders did a booming business selling lumber and supplies to San Francisco during the gold rush.

John Fremont: Born in Savannah, Georgia. American military officer and explorer sometimes called the Great Pathfinder. From 1842 to 1846, he led expedition parties on the Oregon Trail and mapped volcanoes including Mt St Helens. Congress published Fremont’s “Report and Maps” which guided thousands of overland immigrants from 1845-1849.

William Ladd: Born in Vermont, Ladd sailed to Oregon in 1851. He opened a liquor and mercantile company and erected the first brick building in Portland in 1853 on Front St. In 1891, he platted Ladd’s addition. The Ladd Carriage House was an outbuilding to his mansion.

Oliver Lent: Oliver Lent platted the Town of Lent in 1892. It was originally built as a self-sufficient town and suburb of Portland. Lents was annexed to Portland in 1912.

Asa Lovejoy: An attorney from Groton, Massachusetts arrived in Oregon via the Oregon Trail in 1842. Lovejoy and William Overton purchased a claim of 640 acres in what is current day Portland. Overton later sold his half to Pettygrove. Lovejoy sold half of his stake to Benjamin Stark in 1846.

Reuben Nevius (1827-1913): Clergyman, missionary, educator and botanist. Invited to become rector of Trinity Church In Portland and went on to establish seven congregations in Oregon. Two native plants Nevius’s sunflower and Nevius’s wild onion are named after him.

Francis Pettygrove: Born in Maine, immigrated to Oregon in 1843. Bought a claim to what is now Portland for $50. Pettygrove and Asa Lovejoy performed the infamous coin toss to determine if the town would be named Portland after Portland, Maine or Boston which was Lovejoy’s hometown. Pettygrove won the toss and the claim was named Portland.

Benjamin Stark: Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, sailed to Portland in 1845 with warehouse goods for Pettygrove’s store. In 1846, he purchased half of Lovejoy’s claim for $390 in cash.