Fun Fact #49 What famous Trail Blazer’s ponytail was cut off at a barbershop on NW 23rd?

Fun Fact #49 What famous Trail Blazer’s ponytail was cut off at a barbershop on NW 23rd?

Answer: William Theodore Walton III, No. 32 Portland Trail Blazer


Bill Walton was known for his genius on the basketball court; he stood out with his Hippie hairstyle, vegetarianism and radical politics. Four decades before Ariana Grande’s ponytail was making headlines, this basketball player’s spectacular ponytail was in the news. NBA’s hippie superstar and 1974 first draft pick, 1978 Most Valuable Player, had an unique look on the court.

Before moving to Portland’s Nob Hill, the San Diego native was college player of the year playing at U.C.L.A., 1970 -1974 where he led the Bruins to 88 consecutive wins and two national championships. In 1977 Trailblazer Bill Walton was the Grand Marshall of the event “Splash,” a neighborhood fair and parade. The parade went from Couch Park to Wallace Park. His basketball career ended in 1986 after a foot operation. His connection with the Patty Hearst kidnappers, radical activists Jack and Micki Scott, is still being explored. Bill Walton is the most decorated player in the Blazer franchise history.

Barber Ed Delia was 72-years-old when he became nationally known for cutting off Bill Walton’s famous ponytail. (Walton lived a couple of houses off of 23rd on Kearney Street.) Edward E. Delia, owner of Ed’s Barber Shop on NW 23rd near Lovejoy was a native of Chicago, Ill. He cut Bill Walton’s hair just before the Trail Blazer championship game series in 1977.

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.

Slabtown Fun Fact #27: Where is Fordham Heights?

Drawing of Fordham Heights. Text "Is situated at the head of Lovejoy and Northrup streets. We have a few very choice building sites in this addition from $2500 to $3500 per lot, including all improvements."

fordham_heightsAnswer: “Fordham Heights is situated at the head of Lovejoy and Northrup streets”

Having successfully reintegrated the name “Nob Hill” into the urban fabric in the 1970s, a decade ago Mike Ryerson recruited his friends to bring the “Slabtown” name back to the working-class section of NW 23rd.

Resurrecting historic place names takes time and sometimes becomes confusing. For example, the “Alphabet District” is larger than the Alphabet National Register Historic District, but despite the subtle difference, they suffice as wayfinding devices. Perhaps historic place names only matter when word-searching text from the distant past to delve into the community’s neighborhood history.

But the heritage of a place can be rooted in disused names. The old names convey and embody heritage, but if they have fallen out of use they can lack a tangible connection. Historic names are like dates—often tedious and requiring rote memorization. Once we lose the oral use of a place name it can be lost to collective memory. With the advent of the car it seems to me that many mini-neighborhoods have morphed into larger tracts of land/geography and melded into one larger place name.

We at Slabtown Tours work with the Dan Volkmer Team, Northwest Children’s Theater, and the Northwest Neighborhood Cultural Center to produce an annual home tour on Father’s Day. The tour runs from 11am to 4pm on Sunday, June 19, 2016.

The theme of this year’s event is The Fifth Annual Walking Tour: Historic Homes of Old Nob Hill. The homes are clustered near the top of Lovejoy. (The all-volunteer team was not comfortable with any of the titles I had brainstormed, either because of a double-entendre or because the names had fallen out of use. The struggle to “brand” an event was exacerbated by a desire to retain historic integrity yet define a sense of place that the visitor could identify. Since no one recalls Fordham Heights or Goldsmith Hill those were unusable.)

Here are some forgotten Northwest Portland place names:
Atkinson’s Addition: Upshur, between 25th & 26th.

Blythswood: On Thurman & Aspen, the northwest part of Willamette Heights.

Fordham Heights: The south side of Cornell, northwest of the top of Marshall.

Goldsmith Hill: The top of Lovejoy, Marshall, and Northrup Streets

Murhard Tract: North side Thurman, west side 21st.

Nob Hill Terrace: Top of Lovejoy.

Wilson’s Addition: North side of Thurman at 23rd.

Whitechapel District: 14 blocks, bounded by SW Pine, Second, NW Flanders and Fourth