Monday, June 25, 2012
Seen on the AHC Yamhill Historic District and Beyond Walking Tour, downtown Portland, May 31, 2012
Close-up view of magnificent adornment on the facade of the middle building of three at 824-828 SW 1st Avenue. I wish I could remember the names of the buildings which our guide told us, but I cannot, doggone it.
Oh, joy! I just found some info online! The building with the green trim is the Pearne Building (built 1865 at one place online and 1874 at another). The one in the middle is the Poppleton Building (built 1867 at one place online and between 1875-1880 at another), and the one next to it with the brown awning, now known as the Patrick Building, originally was the Harker Building (1878 at both places online). About the Poppleton and the Harker, I found this note at that site which is a Flickr account of a local historian, Dan Haneckow: Originally built in 1867, destroyed except for the lower cast iron features in the Great Fire of 1873. The first two floors were rebuilt in the mid 1870s, the third circa 1880 and the roof added in 1890.)
I used the name of each building and searched for it at the database, Historical Oregonian 1861-1972, online at the Multnomah County Library. I narrowed the search to several years on either side of the date(s) associated with it.
I didn't find anything about the Pearne Building.
However, I found a bit about the one in the middle with the red window trim and a portion of which is seen in the close-up at the top of the post. It's the Poppleton Building. Here's an announcement in the September 21, 1868, Oregonian: "Nonpareil Lodge No. 86, I. O. G. T. meets every Wednesday evening at 8 o'clock. Hall in Poppleton's building, First Street, between Yamhill and Taylor. Members in good standing are invited to attend." By April 9, 1869, the announcement stated that the lodge "Meets every Thursday evening at 7 1/2 o'clock." I like this bit, found in the May 7, 1869, paper: "Dancing Academy - Prof. Cardinell's classes are held every week-day evening, and on Saturday afternoon for children. Hall in Poppleton's Building, First Street." I found mention of a Dr. E. Poppleton, Coroner for Multnomah County, around the same span of years. I wonder if he owned the building. And I found that an Edgar Poppleton was being sued, but I didn't have the time to dig around to find out why or even if Edgar and E. are the same Poppleton.
Van Rensselaer Building (1878)
About the Harker Building, I couldn't find anything, except an interesting tidbit which connects that last name to a building on the next corner north which is known as the Van Rensselaer, completed in 1878, with the third and fourth floors added in 1884). (Now it's the home of Paddy's Bar & Grill, on the corner of SW 1st Avenue and SW Yamhill.) In the November 3, 1879, Oregonian, there's mention of the fact that Mrs. J. B. Harker and Mr. and Mrs. J. C. Van Rensalier (the spelling in the old newspaper) were owners of a mill that had recently burned in the town of Dayton, the Dayton Flouring Mills. Interesting. I had already seen mention of Sarah Harker who may or may not have been Mrs. J. B. Harker, and mention of a J. B. Harker, bankrupt in Dayton, Oregon.
Whoops. May have been on a wild goose chase.
I just found several interesting mentions in the January 1, 1879, Oregonian, in an article titled "Growth of Portland, Improvements for the Past Year, A Solid and Substantial Growth, Good Record for the City of the Northwest." First, "J. C. Van Rensselaer, two brick stores, cor Yamhill and First streets, W. S. Ham contractor, value $11,000.). (That's the location in the photo above.) Second, "Asa Harker, two brick stores, First Street near Yamhill, G. F. Wells contractor, value $5000." (First near Yamhill just might be the Poppleton and the Harker which are on First and half a block south of Yamhill.)
Isn't that interesting? Different Harkers connected with Mr. J. C. Van Rensselaer. Wonder if Asa and J. B. Harker are brothers? Cousins? Father and son?
Well, I never. I've just found something else very intersting in the July 25, 1870, Oregonian. Sheriff's Sale, The Circuit Court found against J. B. Harker and his wife Sarah E. Harker and directed the Sheriff to sell "all the right, title and interest" of the buildings and improvements on the south half of lot 7, block 3 in Portland. You see, according to Portland Maps, the three buildings in the photo are on lot 6, block 4. Makes me wonder even more about the relationship of J. B. and Asa. Could these lots and blocks be next to each other?
Here's one more very interesting thing I've found just now, in the March 19, 1872, Oregonian. "A CHURCH BELL - There is on the wharf a large bell, brought by the Almatia, for the Congregational church of this city. It is from the Menulay Bell Foundry, Troy, N. Y., and weighs 1,511 pounds. It bears this inscription: "Presented by Asa Harker to the First Congregational Church of Portland, Oregon, A. D. 1871." This is so cool because on Thursday night, June 21, I sat in the sanctuary of that very same church and listened to Douglas Brinkley speak for nearly 90 minutes about Walter Cronkite, the subject of his latest book. Now I'm wondering if this particular home of the church is the one in which the bell was installed.
Wow. I love these connections! I'll have to find time to do more research on these Harkers and on that bell.