The "Events and Activities" for the month are below these featured stories!
If you’ve spent hours sitting in commuter traffic on Powell Boulevard, here’s an unfamiliar scene! This is a late 1920s photo of Klapper’s Dry Goods, built in 1912 on the southwest corner of Powell and S.E. Milwaukie Avenue in Brooklyn – where Classic Pianos is today. Brooklyn residents enjoyed having such a store close to home, until 1934 – when it was sold, and became a U.S. Bank branch. (Courtesy Oregon Historical Society)
SOUTHEAST HISTORY Shopping, long ago: Dry goods stores ruled
By DANA BECK Special to THE BEE
It seems that Sellwood and Westmoreland held a public dance almost every weekend in the early 20th Century! THE BEE would announce, “Everyone come, for a good time” – at either the Masons, the Odd Fellows Lodge, or the Westmoreland Ladies Auxiliary Club – where an orchestra and band would be present helping everyone to socialize and dance the night away.
Rummaging through files of early copies of THE BEE – this newspaper began in 1906, just a year after the opening Oaks Amusement Park – has given me a new grasp of how people in the Sellwood area lived, and shopped, over a century ago. This month, come with me – as I share with you some of what I have found!
For one thing, the ladies of St. Agatha’s Parish always seemed to be in a party mood, cordially inviting everyone for a card social and dance at Union Hall. Strahlmans Hall at 13th and Spokane Street also offered gala events – monthly dances, or Holiday celebrations, where young people could meet new friends, and girls could sneak a peek at the groups of shy boys who showed up. Social activities certainly were important in the first couple of decades of the 20th Century.
Adults who couldn’t, or didn’t want to, dance came specifically to attend the card games set up on folding tables, usually in a separate room in the rear, or near the bar. Music, the stomping of feet on the hardwood floor, and the laughter from exuberant youngsters in the dance hall, added a gaiety to the evening events.
And these events were a great way to raise money for churches and local fire departments and other charitable enterprises, while being a safe place for young people to mingle or to catch up on news in the neighborhood.
But when a teenage girl was invited to a dance for the first time, what was she going to wear? She needed a new dress for the special event. Tailor and seamstress shops were to be found along 13th Avenue or on Milwaukie Avenue, but to order a handmade dress at places like those was expensive. Only parents with deep pockets, or overly understanding fathers, could manage such luxuries for her.
Also expensive were what was for sale at ladies’ specialty stores – like millineries – which were often found along the streets of Portland at the time. So, for families living from paycheck to paycheck, most girls preparing for a first date would have to rely on mom to sew a dress – or, if she was a smart mom, she might already have taught her daughter how to use that sewing machine that sat in the parlor, and she could make it herself!
But, if she were making her clothes at home, where would she get the material to make those special dresses? Fabric stores were a still a thing of the future. The answer: It would require a trip down to the local dry goods store.
Dry goods stores, a century ago, specialized in textiles and clothing materials – so they were where she would shop for any home sewing project. Girls looking for something special could spend hours there looking at frilly prints and fabrics, and debating amongst the many colors of fabrics and soft materials.
While the young ladies were busy with all that, the men – of various ages – were also busy. Between Umatilla and Tenino on Sellwood’s 13th Avenue, businesses were drawing men on Friday afternoons anytime in the early 1900s. Since of course a gentlemen would want to look his best for the weekend, a haircut, shave, and a splash of rose water was in order at Roberts and Larsen’s Barber Shop. Then it was off to the Senders Clothing Store, right next door to the barbershop, to pick out matching suit jacket and slacks. If you couldn’t find the right style of jacket, or if the price for a pair of dress pants was too expensive at Senders, a stop at H.W Morgan’s Dry Goods, north of Tenino Street, was needed before the evening came to an end.
Just across the street, in the Zirngiebel Building (later the home of the Black Cat Tavern, before that building was recently replaced with an apartment house), was the Berlin Davis Shoe Shop. Young men could try on a pair of dance shoes, or pick up some shoe polish for the fancy Florsheim Shoes they may already have owned.
Getting back to the ladies: If a desirable dress were to be ordered, rather than made, it needed to be ordered weeks in advance of the big dance night. The material could be ordered from the Elite Dressing Parlors, also situated in the Zirngiebel building; but, by 1912, the Elite Parlors had moved to an upstairs room above Woolworth’s Confectionary (which is where “American at Heart” is now located).
Meantime, Mrs. Robbie – who advertised Ladies’ tailoring and dressmaking, along with children’s dresses and fancy needlework, from her residence at 7th and S.E. Clatsop – received many calls from girls desperate to have a skirt or dress made to order for an upcoming Sellwood shindig. And milliners and seamstresses, like Mrs. Lile and Mrs. Marshall, also worked from home, and were much sought after for their expertise to advise on the latest in ladies’ fashions for upper middle-class clientele of Sellwood and Westmoreland.
Once the dress was ordered, it was time to find a hat and gloves at the local millinery. Florence Harmony’s Hat Shop, and the Sellwood Millinery, were both within walking distance on 13th Avenue. Shoes and ready-made dresses could also be found at these shops, if the ladies didn’t care for the selection at Berlin’s or the Elite Parlors.
Mrs. M.E. Crane, proprietor of the Crane Millinery on Umatilla Street, presented a “Fine selection of Pattern Hats from the latest Parisian styles” – or at least, so said THE BEE in 1910.
Fashions and clothing designs in those days often revolved around Paris, and women as well as men worldwide were clamoring to buy everything that came out of France. Big department stores like Meier and Frank, The Lipman, and Wolfe and Co., in downtown Portland, made sure their ladies’ clothing and accessories departments were well-stocked with the latest from Paris and New York.
Small millinery stores around the neighborhood streets on the east and west sides of Portland also tried to keep pace with the big stores’ latest fashions, offering a few of their own Paris designs which they’d kept on hand for preferred customers. But these small stores couldn’t show as many choices to their patrons as larger merchants, because of the cost to stock the merchandise. American dressmakers did make regular trips to Paris or the East Coast – at least twice a year – to keep up on the latest fashions.
To attract elite clientele into their fashion shops, some of the business owners even affected to be addressed as “Madame”. In 1913, Miss Faith Henderson ran the Bonnette Shop, as it was called back then – but, by 1916, a BEE ad shows the business name had changed to “Bonnette Millinery, serviced by Mesdames McMurtrie and Helms, providing some of Paris’ finest fashions”.
As we continue our trip through advertisements and news in THE BEE over a century ago, se see that there was always an assortment of ready-to-wear lines at Brill’s and H.W. Morgan’s stores, but most hats were custom-made at the specialized shops along 13th Avenue. Christmas, New Year’s, and Easter Sunday were always a special occasion, and dry goods stores and haberdashers were kept busy. Women looked for the exact complementary ensemble for their special outfit on such holidays.
Ladies were also influenced by the many fashion-oriented magazines they could subscribe to. For what amounted to 10 cents a copy they could subscribe to The Ladies Home Journal, McCall’s magazine, Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, or even Photoplay – each delivered to her doorstep – featuring the latest autumn, summer, spring, and summer fashions they’d soon see in the stores.
The Dress Form Shop on 16th Avenue in Sellwood placed the following advertisement in THE BEE for ladies who were serious about their wardrobe collection: “Did you ever stop to think how convenient and economical it is to have a perfect form of yourself, to fit your dresses over?” Of course they were ready to provide such a form.
While there were many dressmakers in Inner Southeast a century ago, hat designers and tailors were less common in Inner Southeast. Fortunately, Portland’s downtown department stores offered tailor-made items not found anywhere else.
The most successful dry goods store on the east side of the Willamette River was run by Mier Klapper, who had arrived in Portland from Aberdeen, Washington, at the turn of the 20th Century. He was drawn to downtown, but his story also involves the Brooklyn neighborhood in Southeast.
The “Oregon Journal” daily newspaper reported on Mier’s arrival in town. His first Dry Goods Store had been in Grays Harbor, Washington, not far from Aberdeen. Surprisingly, for such a small town, Grays Harbor apparently had a variety of men’s clothing stores on one side of its main street, and women’s garment merchants on the other side. Mier Klapper was so confident in his abilities, that he and his wife Laura moved to Portland in 1900. He partnered with L.E. Karo, and together they started the Karo-Klappers Dry Goods store at S.W. 3rd and Yamhill downtown, competing against the big department stores in Portland’s commercial district.
From their later ads in “The Oregonian”, the Karo-Klapper building must have been huge, since they were in regular need of experienced workers to manage their dress goods, domestics, men’s furnishings, and shoe departments – and even sought a “window dresser” (a person skilled in arranging displays of goods in shop windows). Karo and Klappers sold everything from Voile skirts, to long and short kimonos, fur goods, muslin underwear, and petticoats, as well as Oxford shoes for men, women, and children. Flannels, calicoes and broadcloths could be purchased by the yard for those who preferred to make their own clothes at home.
When Mier finally closed his Ladies’ and Men’s fine clothing store in 1911 (which, by then, had been renamed the “New Golden Eagle”), it was the opinion of the locals that he would retire and settle down to “the good life” in the Brooklyn neighborhood, at his house on 10th at S.E. Beacon Street (today’s Franklin Street). How wrong they were!
Customers in Sellwood, Brooklyn, Woodstock, and Westmoreland at that time still had to travel by streetcar to visit the huge stores downtown that carried the latest in men’s and women’s clothing. Almost every commercial district in the outskirts did contain a dry goods store or a ladies millinery shop, but they were on a small scale, with much fewer items than could be found at one of the big department stores in downtown Portland.
Mier himself had opened a quaint dry goods store at the corner of Milwaukie and Beacon Street, near his home, in the early 1900s – run by the Klapper household, while he himself had been busy with his larger New Golden Eagle store. Now having departed his downtown store, he saw the frustration on the faces of Brooklyn residents because there wasn’t a single really large dry goods store on the east side of the river. At some point, Mier decided to build a large store in Brooklyn equivalent to those across the river.
It wasn’t long before a two-story brick building arose on the southwest corner of Milwaukie and Powell Boulevard. Architect W.J. Kratz was hired to complete the structure of Klapper’s Dry Goods; and, in April of 1912, it opened to the public close to the Brooklyn streetcar line.
It has to be noted that Mier’s wife, Laura Klapper, was very instrumental in the family’s fortune. She negotiated a ten-year lease for the Brooklyn Post Office Station D in the Klapper building, was president of the Brooklyn Community Club, and was a founding member of Portland’s B’nai B’rith Club. The B’nai B’rith was a Jewish women’s group which provided financial support to orphanages, and homes for the elderly, among many other social services.
The new Klapper’s Dry Goods was the hit of Inner Southeast, offering all sizes of men’s vests, suits, trousers, boots, and Oxford shoes, and “Big Yank” athletic underwear. It was a major shop for mothers looking for undergarments, children’s school clothes, linens, kitchen toweling, and most household clothing needs. They even specialized in boys’ baseball uniforms, during the era when major league baseball and local leagues were extremely popular.
Klapper’s Dry Goods lasted well into the mid-1930s, until U.S. Bank took possession of the building and added marble-style tile over the original red brick façade. (In 2001 the former Dry Goods Store and Bank building was purchased by Maurice Unis, and his son Brian, who then established Classic Pianos on that corner. Together they renovated the structure into a beautiful showroom for pianos, and for presenting small musical revues and recitals.)
Moving ahead a decade, in our tour through old copies of THE BEE, we find that as more middle-aged women entered the work force, their independence and ability to earn money and make their own decisions drastically changed the world of fashion in the 1920’s. Corsets were discarded in favor of tubular dresses that featured a dropped waist. Garments like harem pants, trousers for women, and knits were the styles that women then wanted to wear.
Men in the 1920s wore pin-striped suits, silk shirts with matching handkerchiefs, with fedoras on their heads – and, on their feet, patent leather shoes. By 1924, men’s Pendleton Wool Plaid shirts were introduced to the public, leading to a full line of men’s sportswear from the Pendleton Woolen Mills in Southeast Portland.
With the “Roaring Twenties” in full swing, new styles and fancy modern men’s and women’s clothing stores appeared, attracting young people to spend what money they had. Bishops Brothers at 13th and S.E. Spokane offered athletic outerwear for those who golfed, played tennis, or needed hiking gear for a day on the trails. Girls and their mothers were relieved when a dressmaking shop opened in Westmoreland: The Fashionette Dress Shop, at 16th and S.E. Bybee.
Roy T. Bishop, who helped in the creation of the Pendleton Woolen Mills, then established his own company, Oregon Worsted, and began specializing in supplying a variety of fabrics, yarns, fancy laces, and patterns to creative homemakers who liked to sew. (There is a direct connection with today’s Mill Ends Store.)
Dry goods merchants in Sellwood couldn’t keep up with the mass produced fabrics now available at the Oregon Worsted store on McLoughlin Boulevard; dry goods stores began disappearing, and few could be found in the neighborhood anymore
The Depression in the 1930s proved to be the last straw for millineries and the previous dry goods stores. Ready-made clothes became the standard – and parents with large families could now afford to buy clothes off the rack. Mothers didn’t have to spend endless hours at the pedal-driven mechanical sewing machine. J.C. Brill’s and Rust’s Haberdashery could offer jewelry, perfumes, hats, belts, dresses, slacks, and shoes, all at bargain prices.
Brill’s Dry Goods Company served several generations in its lifetime in Sellwood. Brill’s, established in 1915, was operated by Jasper and Bessie Brill on 13th Avenue; their last location was in the second location of the Sellwood Bank, now the location of an On Point Credit Union branch, at 13th and Tacoma. It lasted for 45 years – a testament to its loyal customers and employees. Earl Cowes was the fashion retail buyer for Brill’s for over 30 years, and his assistant Florence Milne accompanied him for nearly 18 years. Brill’s closed in the mid 1950’s, marking the end of an era.
In today’s modern world you can order men’s fine clothes or ladies elegant dresses on the Internet without ever having to leave your home. But one sort of dry goods store seems to be returning; at the “Sellwood Union” on S.E. 13th Avenue – one of many such vintage clothing stores popping up around Southeast – they sell used and consignment women’s and men’s clothing.
It’s really interesting to me, in following the trends of the last hundred-plus years in Inner Southeast Portland through the pages of THE BEE, to see how much some of Portland’s clothing stores of today look so much like those vintage Dry Goods establishments, back at the start of the 20th Century.
These are some of artist Lonnie Feather’s works, which she showed off during Portland Open Studios this year. (Photo by David F. Ashton)
‘Open Studios’ returns to Inner Southeast Portland
By DAVID F. ASHTON For THE BEE
One of the notable local events cancelled in 2020 by the COVID-19 pandemic was the city-wide studio-to-studio art tour known as “Portland Open Studios”.
But, during the second and third weekends of October, Portland artists – including several in the Sellwood-Westmoreland area – found a way to “open up” their studios to in-person visits once again this year.
THE BEE visited four of the local Portland Open Studios participants this year.
“Most of my work is three-dimensional versus two-dimensional art,” explained Lonnie Feather, having just poured a stone cast in her studio.
“I grew up in a very ‘crafty’ family,” she said. “My father was artistic, but he also was a biologist and a teacher, so in the summers we’d spend time outdoors. This is likely why most of my work takes on a ‘nature’ theme.”
Over the past four decades, Feather said, she’s developed a number of different techniques. “I did many public art projects back in the 1980s and 90s, and really enjoyed that; now I’m mostly selling [my work] through my studio space.
“This is been pretty much my career: My ‘day job’, and my life; I’m dedicated to it on a daily basis,” Flower remarked, as she got back to work in her studio.
“I like doing this, because I enjoy painting and holding the brush!” grinned Gia Whitlock in her home studio. “My mom was always suggesting that I paint; but I was thinking that one can’t get paid to do this – so in college, I studied computer art and graphic design.”
She started a family, and – now that her kids are older – Whitlock says she has finally realized she should get back to creating art. “Doing this makes me happy. And it’s a good excuse to have a new flower arrangement – they come from Sellwood Flower Company – to be delivered to my house every couple of weeks, for inspiration.”
Being a full-time mom, Whitlock commented that – other than doing a few “booth shows”, like Art in the Pearl – she only sells her work by way of her website. Take a look!
Under a canopy in her driveway, Laura Pritchard was outside to welcome guests.
“I did watercolor for years, and enjoyed that. But I took a pastels class about 20 years ago, and I just loved it, because of the vibrant colors,” Pritchard shared. “With pastels, there is an ‘immediacy’ about it, when painting with these pastel sticks.
“It just feels great, because you can feel the friction of the media being applied to the paper – unlike painting with a brush, which keeps one some distance from the paper,” Pritchard observed.
Although she enjoys creating fine art, Pritchard said she still works as a freelance graphic designer with companies such as OHSU, AARP Oregon, Reed College, and CH2M Hill. “I [do graphic] work quite a bit, so it’s a little difficult find time for my pastel art,” she acknowledged.
What she enjoys most about creating fine art, Pritchard said, “is the ‘surprise’ that happens almost every time I start – when what appears on the paper makes me really happy, because it’s better than I expected.”
Because of her ‘day job’, Pritchard says, she hasn’t focused on selling her work widely; but she encourages people to view her art on her website.
Ketzia Schoneberg SE 22nd Avenue, near Westmoreland’s Union Manor www.ketzia.com Medium: Mixed Media
A steady stream of visitors arrived at the Westmoreland home studio of Ketzia Schoneberg during our visit.
“I use acrylic, charcoal, pastel, graphite, and wax crayon – some call that a ‘china marker’– on canvas or paper,” Schoneberg described. “I thought I was a painter; then mixed media came to me by accident when I was teaching art in school, when I grabbed some pastel chalk and started putting it into an acrylic painting. It loosened me up artistically, and it just felt great!”
Schoneberg has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, and now she’s working on a Masters, at the Pacific Northwest College of Art, here in Portland.
She’s worked as a teacher, and an art director, and as a commercial graphic designer in the past. “I’m a fulltime artist now; this is the first time in my life that I’ve been able to be a fulltime artist and able to express myself every day – it’s heaven!” Schoneberg smiled.
If you missed this annual opportunity to visit local artists where they live and work, watch for the “Open Studios Tour”, about the same time next year.
The “model” for this work by Gia Whitlock was furnished by Sellwood Flower Company. (Photo by David F. Ashton)
Laura Pritchard said she enjoys the “happy surprises” that occur when she’s creating with pastels. (Photo by David F. Ashton)
During this year’s Portland Open Studios, Ketzia Schoneberg showed how she creates mixed media art in her Westmoreland studio. (Photo by David F. Ashton)
Classical Ballet Academy’s Director, Sarah Rigles (far right), coached dancers during a November rehearsal. (Photo by David F. Ashton)
Drive-by ‘Nutcracker Vignettes’ return to Eastmoreland
By DAVID F. ASHTON For THE BEE
From all over Inner Southeast Portland and elsewhere in the metro, Classical Ballet Academy is the school of dance where people come, from toddlers to adults, to learn this discipline of terpsichorean arts.
In mid-November, in their Sellwood studios, THE BEE found dancers rehearsing for their upcoming season of dance programs – including their outdoor performances open to all, scheduled for December 11, 5-9 p.m., called “Nutcracker Vignettes”.
“That evening, eight Eastmoreland neighborhood homes will featuring life-size outdoor Nutcracker scenes on their front lawns,” explained the academy’s Director, Sarah Rigles. “These ‘living art’ installations feature professional lighting, music, props, sets – and, of course, dancers!”
Depending on the weather, people can drive by or walk past the scenes, on a map-guided route that should be easier for spectators to follow this year. It’s about a two-mile drive or walk to visit all vignettes. For information about obtaining the map, visit their Nutcracker Vignettes webpage – http://www.classicalballet.net/nutcracker-vignettes-2021
There is no charge to navigate the route and see the performances, but donations are gratefully accepted.
Full stage shows also presented in December “And, we’re also again performing our full schedule at Portland State University,” Rigles announced. “We’re really looking forward to it, because we haven’t been in the theater there for about a year and a half.”
In PSU’s theater, Classical Ballet Academy dancers will perform four shows of The Nutcracker and two performances of Alice in Winterland – a dance adaptation of the book and play Alice in Wonderland – starting December 16.
To attend the PSU shows, everyone – including their cast, crew, and audience – needs to show that they’re vaccinated or have had a negative COVID test, and also must wear a face mask, she affirmed. However, Tickets to the PSU shows are available only at the university’s Box Office – http://portlandstate.universitytickets.com
Merrily costumed as their favorite farm characters – or produce – at the October 31st market, were Woodstock Farmers Market Manager Lucinda Klicker (in the middle), flanked by Board member Peggy McCafferty (left), and Volunteer and Community Coordinator Grace Littig. (Photo by David F. Ashton)
Hallowe’en fun marks end of Woodstock Farmers Market’s season
By DAVID F. ASHTON For THE BEE
The last Sunday Market for the regular season of the Woodstock Farmers Market fell on October 31 – yes, Hallow’en! – this year.
As on their other market Sundays, it was abuzz with activity as neighbors went from vendor to vendor, looking for fresh produce, prepared foods, and ready-to-eat meals and treats.
“This closes our 11th season – and, it’s been fantastic!” enthused new Market Manager Lucinda Klicker, not long after the opening bell. “Thanks to the easing of COVID-19 restrictions, we had a full complement of about 26 vendors per market day, which means we were able to welcome even more new vendors during our 2021 season.”
Typically the market features eight farmer/growers, in addition to bakeries, meat providers, and prepared-food vendors. “We still kept it really safe, with masks being required, and enforcing ‘social spacing’ – all while still providing fun activities!” Klicker pointed out.
This year, each four-hour Sunday market, held on the parking lot of the Woodstock KeyBank, saw between 800 and 1,200 shoppers coming in, Klicker disclosed.
A highlight of the year, she reported, was that the market was able to provide an up to $20 SNAP food assistance match – that’s double what they could offer in past years, thanks to donors, supporters of the market during “Woodstock Gives Back” in September, and – in bursary provided by the “Farmers Market Fund”.
“Again this year, we’re grateful for Woodstock KeyBank for hosting our market,” Klicker said. “The best thing is the support that we see from the community every single market day; it’s wonderful,” Klicker said. “We expect all of our vendors coming back in 2022.”
Although Hallowe’en did end their regular season, Woodstock Farmers Market hosted one more special “Harvest Market” on the Sunday before Thanksgiving, November 21.
Cuddling a goat in the Hallowe’en petting zoo was Amalie Asbjornsen (Photo by David F. Ashton)
Sellwood Community House Hallowe’en includes mini ‘Monster March’
By DAVID F. ASHTON For THE BEE
Two days before Hallowe’en, the staff and volunteers at the nonprofit Sellwood Community House went all-out with their own 2021 Spooktacular – in the afternoon and evening of Friday, October 29.
With S.E. Spokane Street closed off in front of the building – which used to be PP&R’s Sellwood Community Center – families had fun with the arts, crafts, and carnival games set up there – and with a goat petting zoo, provided by “Portland Goat Parties”.
Earlier in the day, they’d hosted “Spooky Songs” with Mr. Hoo, Kelli Weille, and Jessica Campbell, with pumpkin cookies for all.
Starting at 4:30 p.m., they hosted a lower-key “Sensory Sensitive” Spooktacular time for those seeking a quieter celebration.
Then, at 5:15 p.m. led by remaining members of the Portland Police Bureau’s Motorcycle Officers group – and in view of the Sellwood Moreland Business Alliance having cancelled their Moreland Monster March this year, due to the ongoing pandemic – they commenced a “Mini Monster March” parade in the immediate vicinity. It headed west on Spokane Street, turned north on 13th Avenue, then east on Malden Street, returning to the Community House along S.E. 15th Avenue. The street swelled with revelers who walked the route; as many as 500 participants were in the parade.
“I think this is a really great way for the community to connect together – especially during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic,” SCH Recreation Coordinator
Mackenzie Torres remarked to THE BEE. “We like to see people have a good time, connect, and be together.”
The SMBA does currently plan to resume its two-decades-old, much-larger Moreland Monster March next Hallowe’en in Westmoreland. But the Sellwood Community House will again be having a Hallowe’en party for the neighborhood!
In the meantime, here’s a quick video look at this year’s celebration:
This home on S.E. Malden Street, belonged to Frank and Clara Twibell. In 1925 it was moved fifteen blocks to its new lot in the “City View” subdivision. (Photo by Eileen G. Fitzsimons)
SOUTHEAST HISTORY When 18 houses were moved to create a playground for Sellwood School
By EILEEN G. FITZSIMONS For THE BEE
In last month’s BEE, I mentioned my surprise at the number of houses in the Sellwood-Westmoreland neighborhood that have been moved. Sometimes the owner sold when his property was redeveloped, which was the case with the Watson house on Tacoma Street (to make a parking lot for a church); the Priest’s House at St. Agatha’s (for a parish community building); the Methodist Chapel (to make way for a larger church) – and, in Westmoreland, for the expansion of a bank parking lot.
But I was unprepared for the clearance of entire block – 18 houses! – in 1925, to provide a playground for the students of Sellwood School.
It should be noted that, at the time, the school was a Kindergarten through 8th Grade institution, whose 777 students all lived in the immediate neighborhood. The children in the area north of Malden attended Llewellyn School, which in 1928 enrolled 450 pupils. In 1975 Sellwood became a middle school, covering grades 6-8, but drawing its “junior high” population from Lewis, Duniway, and Llewellyn Elementary Schools.
In the early Twentieth Century, parents wanted their children to have a sound education – to provide the tools to function with confidence in the workplace, and society in general. Sellwood’s parents were enthusiastic supporters of public schools, and other institutions such as the Sellwood Community House and the local branch library. The Sellwood neighborhood opened for development in 1882; Westmoreland in 1909; and public schools followed soon after. In September of 1884, the first students entered the one-room schoolhouse at S.E. 15th and Umatilla.
As the town grew, so did the number of schoolchildren. In 1893, the year that the independent City of Sellwood became part of the City of Portland, a new two-story building was finished, containing four classrooms for its 183 students. However, by 1910, this charming Gothic-style structure (similar in appearance to the Oaks Pioneer Church) was inadequate for the estimated 700 pupils stuffed into it and into the portable structures gathered around it.
According to a history of the school, written for its 100th anniversary in 1984, a new two-story building made of concrete was finished in 1914, and for the first time featured indoor bathrooms! It alleviated some of the crowding – but within ten years it needed to be enlarged.
Finally, in late October of 1924, a front page story in THE BEE announced that, “Seven new [Portland] elementary grade schools have been recommended by Miss Alice Barrows, of the U.S. Bureau of Education.” These were Hosford, Ockley Green, Sunnyside, Woodlawn, Highland, Ladd, and Sellwood. The brief article reported that the Chairman of the School Board would name the architect for Hosford, while the others would wait for the purchase of [the building] sites. The next update in THE BEE was four months later, in February, 1925, when it was mentioned that the “property needed for the new school [in Sellwood] has been appraised by the Realty Board.” At the time only block 67, cluttered with buildings and a small adjacent playground, was owned by the school district. Finally, at the end of February, two lines in the newspaper stated the “block of ground has been contracted for Sellwood’s fine new school building.”
A week later came the revelation about Block 66: “The deal. . . for the blocks of homes bounded by East 15th & 16th, Harney & Sherrett was closed. The total consideration [for 18 lots and houses] was $54,450. The block will be converted into playgrounds to supplement the block on which the present building stands, and on which another large building will be erected.” The newspaper went on to list the property owners, and praise the realtor: “This big deal was handled by Harold E. Sellwood, who has spent several months bringing the board and property owners to an agreement. He is also disposing of the houses, and offers for them will be received at his office on S.E. 13th.”
It appears that, without any public announcement, the School Board had decided, or was persuaded by persons unknown, that the 700 students at Sellwood School needed or deserved an entire block of land for recess and physical education classes. Furthermore, the individuals who owned the eighteen 50x100 foot lots, each with a house on it, were apparently quite willing to sell and move those structures elsewhere.
There were no heated exchanges at school board meetings, and the Board did not invoke “eminent domain”. No press conference, public hearings, letters to the editor (THE BEE at that time did not offer this feature), and no protests. THE BEE itself gave more space to the original Sellwood Bridge, which was then under construction; the arrival of two new Piggly Wiggly grocery stores; and plans for a future movie theater in Westmoreland!
The School Board was smart to employ a local realtor who lived in the neighborhood, and probably knew many of the home owners. Harold Sellwood was a nephew of Dr. John Sellwood, the physician and surgeon who had built both a hospital and the 1907 Bank of Sellwood at S.E. 13th and Umatilla Street. Harold was also a descendent of the Rev. John Sellwood, who sold his acreage in 1882 to the Sellwood Real Estate Company, and after whom the community was named.
Harold must have quietly approached each of the property owners until every one of them was ready to sell, “for the good of the children”. Some of them may have had offspring attending the school already, and could see value in a large playground.
Of course the amount offered by the School Board may have seemed reasonable or even generous to the property owners. While the average offer per property was approximately $3,000, presumably a one-story cottage would have been of lower value than a large two-story Foursquare-style home. Three thousand dollars might have paid the mortgage on the old house, covered the cost of a new lot nearby, and paid for the move itself. Houses and lots were generally less expensive in “old fashioned” Sellwood than in the more modern subdivsions, such as Westmoreland or City View Park. An ad for a 50x100 foot lot near Linn Street was listed at $490, while a new two-bedroom home in Westmoreland was predicted to cost $4,000 to $5,000.
According to the 1924-25 Sanborn fire insurance map, the eighteen houses sold to be moved were fairly small: Nine were single-story, seven were one and a half stories, and the remaining two were two stories in height.
THE BEE listed the names of all the involved property owners. At least three homes were rentals, as their owners lived in California and Corvallis. But of the others, the newspaper stated, “nearly all vacating homes will remain in Sellwood . . . and will moved to other lots.” Reading the paper after March, 1925, it was clear that the disposition of the houses varied. Some owners moved their houses, and then resumed occupancy. Others simply sold and then moved elsewhere in the neighborhood. A few left the area altogether.
There is no mention of demolition, so it appears that all 18 structures were moved onto new 50x100 foot lots, which would have been fairly simple, as most of them were so compact.
In the intervening 90 years, some of those small houses have disappeared – presumably replaced, or remodeled beyond recognition. I have been able to identify only two of the original houses moved to make way for the Sellwood playground. One traveled only two blocks; but the other one went fifteen blocks to the north, into the City View Park subdivision.
By matching the names with listings in the City Directories (which at this time only list a person’s address and occupation, and not whether they owned their place of residence) I was able to place a person in eleven of the houses and a few at their new addresses. These were:
Frank and Clara Twibell, whose house was on 16th and is now on Malden Street
Monte J. and Julia Allen, also on 16th, whose house went to Sherrett Street
E.W. and Hattie Bartholomew, from Sherrett Street, moved to Scotts Mills
The Beerman family, from Sherrett Street, the new address of house is unknown
George T. and Emma Bishopp, of Harney Street, new address unknown
“Bert” Clark, of a Sherrett Street duplex, new address unknown
David Evans of Harney Street, new address unknown
J.W. Griffith, of E. 15th Street, new address unknown, but moved to Scotts Mills
C.A. Myers, owned a rental on Block 66, no specific address listed
Dr. John J. and Laura Morrow of Sherrett Street, new address unknown
Elver and May Pease of Harney Street, new address unknown
Alex Slaton, of Sherrett Street, new address unknown
C.W. Tustin, who owned two properties – one at the corner of 15th and Harney Streets was his residence; the other, address unknown, was probably a rental; unknown where either house went
Absentee property owners: Ola E. Boyd, California; Mrs. F.W. Bartlett, California; Emma Lingo, Corvallis, Philip Schneider, Portland; this means that they owned properties on Block 66, but did not live in the neighborhood, so were renting them to unnamed tenants
If any readers know the names of any of the above-listed property owners, or believe they live in one of the homes that was moved from Block 66, I’ll be happy to follow up, if you contact me through THE BEE!
At the Hallowe’en Woodstock Farmers Market, this scary creature was approaching costumed groups and flinging its arms, to their delight and fright. Read the article to learn who was inside, and how the costume was made! (Courtesy of Rebecca McClain)
Hallowe’en Sunday morning this year was bright, sunny, and dry for the Woodstock Farmers Market in the KeyBank parking lot. Children and adults were costumed and masked, and the market was crowded.
Everyone seemed to enjoy looking at costumes – and one in particular drew a lot of attention: A tall, scary, hairy creature walked high on stilts, and raised its arms in frightening gestures, as it approached groups of market-goers.
Some people were questioning aloud just who could be underneath such a strikingly creative costume. No one seemed to know the stilt walker’s identity, or even if he or she were an adult or youth – or someone associated with the farmers market.
The scary stilt walker appeared to have a companion – Mark Ginsberg, who happens to be the Woodstock Neighborhood Emergency Team (NET) leader. Some assumed that he was just making sure that the skeleton stilt walker was not terrifying children or creating any trouble. But a question to Ginsberg about what role he was playing elicited a clarifying response – “It’s Ash, my son.”
Ash Ginsberg, a 16 year-old student at the Milwaukie Academy of the Arts (embedded in Milwaukie High School), calls the costume creature he designed and constructed, “Stilt Spirit”. “I have been wanting to make a costume like this for four years. I came across a picture like this on social media four years ago, and I recently found some instructions online.” And he revealed how he’d made it.
Looking as if it had just emerged from a “haunted forest”, its skeletal structure is made from wood, insulation foam – which is like hard Styrofoam – crutches, and stilts. Ash’s dad Mark constructed the wooden frame and built stilts, but Ash spent a month and a half (“every single day after school”) devising the outer coverings.
The stilts are covered with black fabric. “I attempted walking on stilts two years ago and couldn’t master it, but I got the hang of it last summer .” As a result, last year his Hallowe’en costume was a werewolf on stilts.
The arms of the creature, which are crutches, and body are covered with different colors of cheesecloth, expanded in places to have larger holes. “I had to really go at it [the cheesecloth] with scissors.”
The skull of the costume is an old mask, originally painted with glow-in-the-dark green that he found at the Goodwill Store in 2018.
“First I painted it [the skull] entirely dark brown, and then wiped almost all of it off with a paper towel. Then I dry-brushed spots with white paint. I found a YouTube video that tutored me.”
He purchased materials for the costume at the Dollar Tree Store, Joann’s Fabrics, and Home Depot. Overall, he says designing and creating the costume provided “a lot of space for creative liberty.”
After the Farmers Market ended on the afternoon of October 31st, Ash went to Hawthorne Boulevard and to Belmont Street to scare pedestrians there with his flailing arms. Later at home while greeting Trick or Treaters, he scared a little boy so badly that the boy fell over backwards.
“His parents came up the [porch] stairs and comforted him, and I took off the mask to show him my face. As soon as he saw I was real, he wasn’t scared anymore.” And apparently he wasn’t hurt by his fall.
“I was pretty exhausted at the end of the day, having been in the costume for a total of nine hours.”
Ash tells THE BEE he plans to keep the costume, and wear it at Fairy World, the Country Fair, and at the Portland Comic Con, when these events occur during different seasons.
Inviting families to trick-or-treat inside Brentwood-Darlington’s Loyal Order of Moose Lodge 291 was member Tom Corvat. (Photo by David F. Ashton)
Brentwood-Darlington Moose Lodge hosts kids’ Hallowe’en party
By DAVID F. ASHTON For THE BEE
There were major Hallowe’en gatherings in Inner Southeast – including the ones THE BEE has reported at Oaks Park and at Sellwood Community House. But not all the celebrations featured huge crowds.
Late in the afternoon of the day itself, October 31, members of the Brentwood-Darlington Loyal Order of Moose Lodge 291, at S.E. 52nd at Flavel, put on an quieter event for the area kids and families.
One of their large meeting rooms was decorated with spooky lighting and haunting decorations. Although dressed for the party, volunteers of the lodge didn’t try to scare anyone who came in – they just smiled.
In another part of the lodge, kids could play games and win prizes.
“We are, indeed, having a Hallowe’en party for our neighborhood,” affirmed Moose Lodge 291 Social Quarters Manager Patti Thayer. “We’ve done this every year for as long as I can remember – except for last year, because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’ve made this a safe place where kids can come to trick-or-treat and have fun,” Thayer explained. “We do this because the best part for us is seeing the kids in their costumes, and watching them having fun.”
Eighth grade Holy Family Catholic School student James Faherty shows his own pick of the pumpkins in the school’s “pumpkin patch”. (Photo by David F. Aston)
Eastmoreland school offers kids’ ‘pumpkin patch’ and carnival
By DAVID F. ASHTON For THE BEE
Even though the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic continues, students attending Eastmoreland’s Holy Family Catholic School were treated to a Hallowe’en celebration to remember.
Thanks do donors, sponsors, and the effort of older students and staff, all of their students enjoyed a trip to a “Pumpkin Patch” first, followed by a Hallowe’en carnival, safely held on the school’s campus.
On October 26, one class cohort at a time, filed out of the school and went across the street, and over to the lawn behind Holy Family Catholic Church. The young ones’ eyes opened wide to see it covered with real fresh pumpkins.
“We had only two rules: (1) No running; and (2) Pick a pumpkin that’s small enough to carry back to your classroom,” commented the school’s Principal, Joe Galati.
Students and staff chose from about 250 pumpkins, distributed on the parish lawn by a dozen parents who had arrived early to offload the pumpkins from the delivery truck.
“We had an anonymous donor, who said they wanted to bring our school ‘some sort of normalcy’, and thus enabled this gracious act,” Galati told THE BEE that morning.
“For us, this is a really exciting experience; the first time in a while we’ve been able to do something like this,” said eighth-grader Grayson Garrett, as he selected a pumpkin. “We’re grateful to the families who organized this.”
Garrett remarked the he, and other classmates, had also been busy preparing for an upcoming Hallowe’en carnival, to be held on October 29, and he invited THE BEE to come by. “We think that especially the little kids are really going to enjoy it.”
Then, as previously mentioned, four days later on October 29 the back yard of the school’s campus was set up with canopies under which were carnival games.
“The idea for this was put forward by our Parent Teacher Organization – which said that we need to create this fun event for the kids where they can safely enjoy some Hallowe’en fun,” Principal Galati said. “Our eight-graders are running the games, and providing candy and prizes; and, each of the classes, by cohort, are coming down and getting in some fun with trick-or-treating.”
The early Holiday Bazaar at Woodstock’s Our Lady of Sorrows Parish took place indoors, in the gymnasium. (Photo by Rita A. Leonard)
Woodstock Holiday Bazaar in October evidently the first of the season
By RITA A. LEONARD For THE BEE
Those planning seasonal fundraising bazaars are discovering that holding them ahead of the crowd can still attract shoppers seeking hand-made Christmas presents and hostess gifts.
So it was that Our Lady of Sorrows Church in Woodstock, at S.E. 52nd and Woodstock Boulevard, scheduled their indoor bazaar for October 16 and 17, thus taking advantage of not only the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, but even Hallowe’en!
The fundraiser, coordinated by Diane Salvatelli and her daughter Christina Simmons, featured 22 vendors, a raffle, and a church rummage sale. “Many of our vendors returned from last year,” reported Salvatelli. “Tables rent for $35 each, with all proceeds slated to benefit Our Lady of Sorrows Parish.
“A used book sale set up near the raffle display was selling books at a dollar a bag,” she continued. “Raffle items, including a his-and-hers golf set and a selection of Hallowe’en treats, were donated by parishioners. We also had a snack and food kitchen on-site, selling refreshments to hungry shoppers.”
The many vendor tables offered potted plants and bonsai arrangements, while a host of artisan crafts featured stained glass ornaments, aprons, embroidery, carry bags, felt animals, Christmas wreaths, jellies, and snacks. There were potholders, table runners, pillows, dolls, candles, soaps, jewelry, and personal skin-care items. And the abundance of crocheted items included hats, gloves, scarves, slippers, kitchen scrubbies, booties, comforters and toys – something for all ages.
Wendy Gonzalez, who chaired the rummage sale part of the day was, offering a variety of toys, candles, framed pictures, flower vases, and an astonishing array of wide-mouth jars and canning equipment.
If you missed this one, not to worry – there will be many other Southeast Portland Holiday Bazaars available to you as the season progresses!
Events & Activities
NOVEMBER 26 Santa starts to collect his mail: Starting today, Santa is collecting letters regularly from All Saints Episcopal Church’s bright red Santa's Letter Box at 4033 S.E. Woodstock Boulevard, and no postage stamp is needed – so be sure to write one soon!
DECEMBER 4 Wreath-making event at Moreland Presbyterian: From 2 to 4:30 this afternoon, you are invited to learn wreath-making techniques at Moreland Presbyterian Church, 1814 S.E. Bybee Boulevard in Westmoreland. Everyone invited. All supplies included (just bring pruners). Leave with a beautiful wreath for your home, or to gift. $20 donation requested to cover cost of the materials.
DECEMBER 11 Annual Woodstock Tree Lighting this afternoon: The location for the tree lighting is right at 4121 S.E. Woodstock Boulevard at the Homestead Schoolhouse, across from Otto’s Sausage Kitchen. Free and everyone invited. Starts at 5 p.m. until 6 p.m.
Encore of “Nutcracker Vignettes” in Eastmoreland: Because of the pandemic, the dancers of Sellwood’s Classical Ballet Academy performed eight scenes from “The Nutcracker” ballet on lawns in Eastmoreland for drive-by audiences as their only performance of the season a year ago. Although they are now able to perform the full-length ballet downtown (see below), these special drive-by performances in Eastmoreland proved so popular they are repeating it this year – tonight, between 5 and 9 p.m. Walk or drive the route at a convenient time during those hours, following the playbill and map available at – http://www.classicalballet.net; there is no charge, but donations are very welcome (suggested, if you are able: $25 per car). Bring the whole family.
DECEMBER 12 Third Sunday of Advent at Moreland Presbyerian: The 9:30 a.m. service features “Lessons and Carols in the Groove” led by youth and families. All welcome. Moreland Presbyterian Church is situated at 1814 S.E. Bybee Boulevard in Westmoreland.
DECEMBER 16 Sellwood dancers perform at PSU downtown: This evening and again tomorrow night, the dancers of the Classical Ballet Academy in Sellwood are on stage in Lincoln Hall, at Portland State University, at 8 p.m. for a performance of the ballet “Alice in Wonderland” – and then, on Saturday, December 18, at 2 and 6 p.m., and on Sunday the 19th at 1 and 5 p.m., the dancers perform the complete ballet “The Nutcracker”. The address is 1620 S.W. Park Avenue. All performances are under the direction of Sarah Rigles and her staff. All youth, adult, and senior tickets are sold through the PSU box office – call 503/725-3307, or go online to – https://portlandstate.universitytickets.com/w/default.aspx?cid=175
DECEMBER 19 Fourth Sunday of Advent at Moreland Presbyterian: The 9:30 a.m. service includes bells and carols; and at 6 p.m. there is a “Blue Christmas” solstice gathering at the church. All welcome for either or both. Moreland Presbyterian Church is situated at 1814 S.E. Bybee Boulevard in Westmoreland.
DECEMBER 21 Solstice service at Mt. Scott Presbyterian: Mt. Scott Park Presbyterian Church invites the community to a “Longest Night” service at 7 p.m. this evening, open to all. “The service recognizes that the Holidays often include feelings of grief, loss, and regret, and will hold a sacred space in which we can both honor our losses and look for hope”. Mt. Scott Park Presbyterian Church, 5512 S.E. 73rd Avenue.
DECEMBER 24 Christmas Eve services at Moreland Presbyterian: “Welcoming the Wondrous” is the theme both of the 5 p.m. Family Christmas Celebration, and the 11 p.m. Candlelight Christmas Celebration, with choir and strings. All welcome. Moreland Presbyterian Church is situated at 1814 S.E. Bybee Boulevard in Westmoreland.
Christmas Eve Candlelight Service at Mt. Scott Presbyterian: Bring your family for a traditional candlelight service of worship and familiar carols this afternoon at 5 p.m. at Mt. Scott Park Presbyterian Church, 5512 S.E. 73rd Avenue. Open to all.
Note: Since THE BEE is not the operator of any of the websites presented here, we can assume no responsibility for content or consequences of any visit to them; however we, personally, have found all of them helpful, and posted them here for your reference.
"Next Generation TV", in the incompatible ATSC-3 format, is currently duplicating (in the new format) KATU, KOIN, KGW, KOPB, KPTV, KRCW, and KPDX on channels 30 and/or 33; you will need a new TV or converter box capable of receiving the new ATSC-3 format in order to see these broadcasts.