Incorporated in 1851, and one coin toss away from being named Boston, in 1898 Portland was the most influential port in the Northwest. Portland had incorporated the city of East Portland seven years prior, which helped boost its population. By 1900, Portland had 90,426 residents. Seattle had 80,671.
In the 1850s, James B. Stephens bought what is now East Portland from John McLoughlin, who worked with Hudson’s Bay Fur Trapping company. Here are a few interesting highlights of East Portland’s brief history:
In 1846, Stephens’ father Emmor Stephens died shortly after he arrived in Oregon. He was buried on the family’s farm. Emmor was the first inhabitant of what became Portland’s Lone Fir Cemetery.
In 1863, Stephens donated land to J.C. Hawthorne for the development of the Oregon Hospital for the Insane. Before it closed in 1883, it employed 1 in 5 East Portlanders.
In 1887, the Morrison Bridge was constructed. The 1,650-foot timber bridge with a wrought-iron swing span was the largest west of the Mississippi. It connected Portland and East Portland and led to a boom in population. From 1880 to 1890, East Portland grew from 2,934 to 10,532 residents.
Stephens passed away in 1889 at age 82. He was buried with his family at Lone Fir Cemetery. In 1891, the cities of East Portland and Albina merged with Portland.
Oregon Experience explores Portland’s seedy underbelly during the 1800s in the documentary Portland Noir.