Portland's Slabtown (Images of America: Oregon)
Published May 20th 2013
ISBN : 9780738596297
In Portland's first decades, the northwest side remained dense forests. Native Americans camped and Chinese immigrants farmed around Guild's Lake. In the 1870s, Slabtown acquired its unusual name when a lumber mill opened on Northrup Street. The mill's discarded log edges were a cheap source of heating and cooking fuel. This slabwood was stacked in front of working-class homes of employees of a pottery, the docks, icehouses, slaughterhouses, and lumber mills. Development concentrated along streetcar lines. The early 20th century brought the 1905 Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition, manufacturing, shipbuilding, Montgomery Ward, and the Vaughn Street Ballpark. Today, Slabtown is a densely populated residential neighborhood, with many small shops and restaurants and an industrial area on its northern border. Tourists still arrive by streetcar to the charming Thurman, NW Twenty-first, and Twenty-third Avenues. Famous residents include author Ursula Le Guin, baseball greats Johnny Pesky and Mickey Lolich, NBA player Swede Halbrook, and Portland mayors Bud Clark and Vera Katz.Reviews:"The most interesting and best documented sections...are the parts of the book describing long-forgotten Native American encampments in the area, which served as a neutral ground and trading post for various tribes, and the neighborhood's turn-of-the-century service as a landing pad for waves of immigrants from Croatian to Chinese to Irish." --Willamette Week"The book traces the Slabtown neighborhood's history with photographs from when Native Americans outnumbered white settlers 1,000 to 275, through its blue collar decades, and into its current "Trendy-third" reputation for it Northwest 23rd Avenue boutiques...It was a working-class neighborhood home to marginalized groups--Native Americans, Chinese and European immigrants, gypsies, and black Portlanders...Slabtown's name comes from the lumber mills that first populated the industrial area with laborers. Mills would sell slabs of log edges, cut to square logs, as a cheap source of fuel." --OregonianA new photo history not only underscores the name and hits oft-told high points, it turns up stories that even most Slabtown residents from 1900 might have found amazing...Tracy J. Prince, who authored a history of Goose Hollow in 2001, is back with another deeply researched work (in collaboration with co-authors Norm Gholston and Mike Ryerson). Again, she has uncovered the buried record of Native Americans who populated Northwest Portland long after European descendants were creating its official modern history. --NW Examiner
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