Fun Fact #37 Is that bat light really historic or is it from the Spirit Store?

Fun Fact #37 Is that bat light really historic or is it from the Spirit Store?
Above is the Mackenzie house light. Where you see two light bulbs was once were gas jets flamed forth to light the entry.

The original cast for these bat lights is from the Mackenzie House. The Nathan Lob House (726 NW 22nd) is also has one that quite possibly is a replica. The original lamp at the Mackenzie House was a interior gas lamp. In Scottish folklore the bat is associated with witches, dark magic, sorcery and necromancy.   The bat in this piece of art is the messenger between witches and the devil. Satan is often depicted in art with bat-like wings where as angles have bird-like wings.

Hand caste replica sold online by Rejuvenation.


The snake, on the other hand, is a symbol of medicine. This single snake on a rod is not the common medical symbol–the caduceus, which features two, snakes a stick and wings. This is linked to the Greek God Hermes–the rod had been a gift from Apollo and the snakes were battling and the rod was used to separate them.   Doctors traveled and the walking stick was associated with itinerate medical men and Hermes the winged god was  their patron saint.

The Mackenzie House in Nob Hill

Dr. Mackenzie was a Scot and a prominent physician. The lamp in the entry of his house, (615 NW 20th /2023 NW Hoyt) with the snake over the bat, depicts the triumph of medicine over the occult.  A single snake on a rod it is the asklepian (the Rod of Asclepius son of Apollo). The snake that’s wrapped around the rod may symbolize rejuvenation and held by the deity of medicine and healing.

Update 9-7-18:

The house is currently on the market. This is an image from Dan Volkmeer’s Marketing Materials a well lit image of the famous bat light.

Fun Fact #36 Did they really move houses with horses and oxen?

Fun Fact #36 Did they really move houses with horses and oxen?

How many houses have been moved in the Alphabet Historic District?

Morris Marks House September 30, 2017. Karen Karlsson, Felicia Williams & Tanya March


The Morris Marks House was cut in half and moved in two parts across PSU this past weekend—that got us thinking.  In early Portland moving houses was once more common—horses and oxen would pull houses set on rolling logs. 



Which structures do we know were moved around in the Alphabet Historic District?

1970 Captain John Brown House Courtesy: & Mike Ryerson

The first that comes to mind is the Captain John Brown House; it was moved from 2035 NW Everett to Couch Park in the 1970s, but that effort failed and the house was eventually demolished.  Adding up structures from memory, asking Rick Michaelson, going over Mike Ryerson photo files and consulting and the Alphabet Historic District Nomination, I came up with at least ten more:

The Elliston in 1903 Courtesy Mike Ryerson

1) The Elliston Apartments (425 NW 18th, NW Portland Hostel), moved from the SW Park Blocks by oxen.

The Lawn Apartments Courtesy: Norman Gholston

2) The Lawn Apartments (133 NW 18th Avenue, AKA George H. Williams Townhouses), moved within the same block in 1922.

1731 NW Glisan Courtesy:

3) 1731 NW Glisan (built in 1890), moved from Good Samaritan Hospital to current location in 1978.

4) 1721-1723 NW Glisan (built in 1886), moved within the block 1978.


Mike Ryerson watching 504 Lovejoy house being moved December 1977.

5) 504 NW 18th (built in 1906), relocated from 2188 NW Lovejoy in 1977.

6) 2067 NW Lovejoy (built in 1890), moved to lot in 1928.  Is currently occupied by a business “A Women’s Time”.

7) 2061 NW Hoyt (built in 1884), moved from NW 17th between Kearny & Lovejoy c. 1916.

8) 621-623 NW 22nd (According to the AHD Nomination, pp. 150-51, a 1894 building on this site was demolished in 1930 and this duplex structure was moved onto the location c. 1930, the MLS and Portland Maps thinks this is the 1894 building but the State Historic Preservation Office has the Mary Shephard House as c. 1930)

516 NW 18th City Archives and Record Center

9) 516 NW 18th (William H. Doran House built in 1886), moved from NW 17th Ave and NW Flanders Street in 1977 and is currently for sale.  Image to left clearly shows the building upon bricks with faux tarpaper like brick exterior.  This Italianate has been lovingly restored and you would not believe it to be the structure in this image.

Courtesy: Mike Ryerson

10)  1628 NW Everett (built 1880) The image on the left taken by Mike Ryerson and a story Rick Michaeson about a house he moved to Everett getting stuck leads me to conclude this Italianate was moved despite the fact that the AHD Nomination does not indicate that Thomas & Lizzie Whalen house was ever moved.

Of course, there are also the houses/apartments moved from the 1905 Lewis & Clark World’s Fair site.  Join us for our tours of Slabtown and St. Johns neighborhoods to learn more moved building stories.

 How many more can you help us identify???