Portland History

Portland Nicknames

With more nicknames than you can count on one hand, Portland, Oregon is a city as rich in history as its residents imaginations are vivid. Called throughout history names such as the City of Roses, Bridgetown, Little Beirut, P-Town, Rip City, Stumptown, Mudtown, Razorblade City, The Clearing, Portlandia and PDX, Portland is a city that has shown many faces and landscapes over time.

Original Portland Settlers

Resting at the base of Mt. Hood and nestled next to the Columbia and Willamette rivers, the city was an ideal location for settlers to build a lush and diverse community. Occupied pre-development by American, Canadian, and British traders and trappers, the land has long been known for its beauty and abundance. The first to create real clamor and fervor over the location were the great explorers Lewis and Clark. After their initial visit in 1804 and subsequent return to Washington D.C, in 1806, the country was slowly learning how amazing the climate and natural resources of the Portland Oregon area truly were. With all the hype it was not long before a Tennessee hobo, William Overton, his confidant, Boston lawyer Asa Lovejoy and real estate prospector and investor Francis Pettygrove decided to establish the town. So as the story goes, in the much debated history of Portland, Oregon…in 1845 over a best out of three coin-flip between Pettygrove and Lovejoy, Portland became the official city name.

Portlandia Statue in Downtown Portland

History of Portland Business

By the early 19th century Portland had established itself as a major port city and railroad hub. In 1905, based on a sudden rise in popularity, Portlandia found herself playing hostess to the Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition which at that time was considered a world fair. By the mid 1990’s the city had fortified itself as a major economical player. As the corporate home for companies like Intel, Doc Martens, Nike, Adidas, Wieden+Kennedy and Meier and Frank (now Macy’s), Portland has remained bustling business center to this day.

Earliest Portland Parks

Despite early struggles and hardships, Portland, Oregon became well known for a fun, exciting and vibrant atmosphere due to her many amusement parks like Oaks Park (the city’s first park opening in 1905), Council Crest Amusement Park (1907), Columbia Beach (1916), Blue Lake Park (1925), Jantzen Beach (1928) and Lotus Isle (1930). The history of Portland Oregon is also littered with gold prospectors, celebrities, artists and festival followers. With such an electrically eclectic population, Portland was bound to shine bright for years to come and shine she does.

History of Portland Art

Not all about business and fun, Portland’s unique culture is well known based upon a mass of creative types, artists, entrepreneurs and alternative thinkers. Also home to the Portland Art Museum, the Alberta Arts District, a Regional Arts and Culture Council, the Artists Repertory Theatre and The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI). Portland is truly defined by innovation, elevation and exploration of art and human creativity. Want to learn more about the history of Portland Oregon? Visit the Oregon Historical Society!

History of Portland Oregon: Learn more

As the 33rd state to join the Union in 1859, the history of Portland Oregon is long and storied, boasting a fantastic history full of wondrous events and accomplishments. Portland is well known for her events such as The Rose Festival (originated in 1907), the Oregon and California Railroad (building began in 1869) and the Columbia River Highway (cleared for travel in 1915).

Photo above: The Park Blocks in Downtown Portland where many of the first churches in the area were erected. These churches span many faiths and cultures.

Additional reading of interest:

The Oregon Coast

Mt Hood

Downtown Portland

The Many Breweries Defining Portland

A Guide to Visiting Portland

Portland Attractions