Fun Fact #32 What’s the story behind Sherlock Street a wee bit of Irish History in Slabtown?

Sherlock Street is a short street in Northwest Portland named for an Irish immigrant. William Sherlock was born in Newross, Ireland, in 1817; he arrived in Portland, OR in March of 1850. This early Portland pioneer was a horse aficionado and operated a livery business (hackney cabs). His mansion was located on NW 21st in Nob Hill but the street named for him is close to the river, near the edge of his 45-acre site known as Sherlock’s Addition. He was often seen around town with one of his eleven children, and was able to retire in 1876 (died 1901, estate settled 1903). William Sherlock owned the land where the Sherlock Building stands today.

Want to learn more about prominent Irish in Portland? here are just few:

Patrick & Bridget Ryan. Bridget Higgins Ryan (b. 1850, d. 1934) She opened “Pacific House” on 3rd & Ankeny, a boarding house in Portland with two fellow Irish women. She married Patrick Ryan in 1882; a decade later they built the Ryan Hotel on SW Fifth Street across from City Hall.

Johns Wilson (b. 1826, d. 1900) arrived in Oregon in 1849 (his personal library collection is housed in the Central Library in the Johns Wilson Rare Book Room).

Dr. Marie Equi, an anarchist who took particular interest in immigrant rights, advocated for the eight hour day.

James & Katherine Barrett. James was born in Odorney, County Kerry, in Irelamd in 1855. An impressive mason, he played a key role in the construction of St. Patrick’s Church (completed in 1891) and Trinity Episcopal Church, as well as a number of stone houses

Stephen J. McCormick was mayor of Portland (1858-1859) and the first president of the Portland Hibernian Benevolent Society.

St. Patrick’s Day Parades use to start at St. Lawrence Catholic Church in old South Portland and end at St. Mary’s Cathedral (in Nob Hill).

Slabtown Nob Hill Fun Fact #30: The American Inn a small piece of a historic hotel saved

The American Inn (Courtesy Normal Gholston) A view with Guild’s Lake in the foreground.











Yes the American Inn Condominiums were build out of materials from the American Inn

The images I have come across over the years are like the one above.  I thought it was possible that the center section was saved and moved to NW Northrup.  I only recently found an advertisment below for the hotel and realized that the hotel was a much more massive building than I had previously thought.

John Karlyle had a permit out for a new three-story “flats” structure on July 25, 1906-December 22, 1906 permit for 691 Northrup street. What was exciting was the hand scrawled note on the back of the permit card.” This bldg., is built with material from the American inn if the fair grounds.” More curious perhaps was the note on the other side of the card “This man I had arrested for doing work with out license.” The permit had no name of the plumber just “hired [his] owner.” Pretty exciting that a hundred years ago a city inspector could have a contractor arrested.

The advertisement below right is from the Sunday Oregonian August 26, 1906 for a “high-class Hotel” situated at 689-691-6930695 Northrup Street to be completed next month. The drawing looks far more akin to the American Inn than the reality on the street today. With this drawing in hand in the field you can see where many of the decretive front façade columns and porch features were once attached. The stucco patches are clearly visible and the doors to nowhere on the second and third floors would have once been for access to the former porches.


Oregonian Ad for the completion of the Hotel on NW Northrup
Oregonian Ad for the completion of the Hotel on NW Northrup August 26, 1906 p 18- the address of the agent at the bottom and the 1930s change of address and no referance to the American Inn  made this ad a hidden treasure.
"The American Inn, World's Fair Grounds, Portland Oregon" The Pacific Monthly-Advertising Section
“The American Inn, World’s Fair Grounds, Portland Oregon” The Pacific Monthly-Advertising Section 1905











The permit card was enough to close the case.



Slabtown Nob Hill Fun Fact #28: The Simpsons in Portland

Slabtown Nob Hill Fun Fact #28: The Simpsons in Portland

800px-Springfield_Elementary_SchoolWhile Simpsons creator Matt Groening attended Ainsworth Grade School, the elementary school in The Simpsons is called Springfield Elementary. The schools have matching floor plans and similar facades. Both the fictional school and real school have experienced almost constant reductions in their budgets, with deferred maintenance and overcrowding the norm. Springfield Elementary is filled with asbestos, but the series has yet to touch on seismic problems, radon, or lead in the drinking water. Before Bart and Lisa attended the school, Skinner had the pool removed (perhaps based on one of the historic swim tanks at MLC/Couch, Shattuck, or Buckman schools). Groundskeeper Willie was the swim coach.

Character Names Based on Street Names in the Alphabet District:
Ned Flanders (Simpsons’ neighbor)
Kearney (Bart’s bully)
Rev. Timothy Lovejoy (Minister)
Diamond Joe Quimby (Mayor)
C. Montgomery Burns (A mashup of Burnside and Montgomery Park/Montgomery Wards)

Character Names Based on Street Names in Other Parts of Portland:
Milhouse Van Houten (Street in North Portland)
Bob Terwilliger/Sideshow Bob (SW Terwilliger Blvd.)

In Season Two, Episode 19 (1991), Bart chants: “In a sample taken in our classroom, an inspector found 1.74 parts per million of asbestos! That’s not enough! We demand more asbestos! More asbestos! More asbestos! More asbestos!”

On June 15, 2011, before creating Slabtown Tours, owner Tanya March and friends Mary Ann Pastene and Rebecca Hamilton created and led the Pedalpalooza “Simpsons Streets and Alphabet Soup” bike route; the pop culture references were wrapped up with a stop at the NW Hostel to watch an episode of The Simpsons.

The Simpsons in Portland