Map of West Portland Writers
This map is
a guide to writers who worked in Downtown and Northwest Portland from the
city's literary beginnings until about 1970. It thus neglects Oregon's late
poet laureate William Stafford and other contemporary figures who have helped
put Portland and Oregon on the world's literary map, including Ursula K. Le
Guin, Gary Snyder, Katherine Dunn, Ken Kesey, Jean Auel, Craig Lesley, and a
host of others.
of these recent writers often overshadows our memory of those who achieved
local and national attention in earlier years. Yet we all, readers and
writers, draw on this rich legacy. In naming its prizes, the annual Oregon
Book Awards acknowledges our debt to Frances Fuller Victor, Stewart Holbrook,
Hazel Hall, Charles Erskine Scott Wood, and Mary Jane Carr.
Writers identified in this guide were chosen in part because
of their stature as writers, in part because they represent different kinds of
writing, and finally because some building or structure intimately associated
with each of them still stands in West Portland. By this last criterion,
significant Portland figures such as Louise Bryant cannot be located on our
map, except possibly at the Multnomah County Library, which they all surely
frequented. Other noteworthy Oregon writers-H. L. Davis, Opal Whiteley, and
Eva Emery Dye, among many- forged their careers largely outside of Portland.
We anticipate their appearance in a future guide to the state as a
Locations listed in this guide can be seen and, if they are
public places, entered. The privacy of the present occupants of homes must be
respected. Addresses of contemporary authors are not listed here.
Victor (1826-1902) is recognized today as a major early historian of the
West for her massive contributions to H. H. Bancroft's multi-volume History
of the Pacific States. Her writing and counsel contributed to the
reputation that the Oregon Historical Quarterly enjoys to this day. At
that time the Oregon Historical Society, now at at 1200 SW PARK AVENUE was
housed in Portland's City Hall, 1220 SW 5TH AVENUE. Victor's works include
History of Oregon, Early Indian Wars of Oregon, and All Over Oregon
and Washington. River of the West (1870) portrays the life of the western
mountain man in the person of Joe Meek.
Duniway (1834-1915) was living in the Fordharn Apartments, 742 SW VISTA
AVENUE, at her death, after a legendary career fighting for women's rights. In
her struggle she used journalism, fiction, and verse, as well as speech. One
site from which she published her women's suffrage journal, New Northwest,
is now a parking lot, inside the curve of the westbound exit to Front
Street from the Morrison Bridge.
(1845-1899) attorney, journalist, and poet, lived in the St. Charles Hotel
at the foot of Morrison Street (now the site of a motel). He was Oregon's
first poet to attract outside notice. The mast of the old battleship Oregon,
whose launching Simpson memorialized in a widely read poem, stands in
WATERFRONT PARK near the foot 0f OAK STREET. His poems were published in a
posthumous collection, The Gold-Gated West (1910).
Scott Wood (1852-1944) led Portland's literary and artistic life in the
decades around igoo and authored poetry, fiction, and social and political
commentary of national interest, including The Poet in the Desert
(1915) and Heavenly Discourse (1927). Only a low brick ballustrade
along the patio of the Portland Garden club at 1132 SW VISTA AVENUE remains
from Wood's last Portland house. His last Portland law office was in the Yeon
Building, 522 SW 5TH. Wood moved to California in 1918
Parsons (1873-1953) poet and influential writing teacher, lived in the
handsome Italianate Victorian house at 1824 NW COUCH STREET around 1940.
(1877-1955) lived in the sidehill cottage at 2208 NW ASPEN STREET during
the early 1930s. His poems and art, which drew heavily on Oregon's natural
scene, were a regular feature of the Sunday Oregon journal from 1921 to 1926.
Monroe (1877-1942) was drawn to the West in part by stories of a great-
grandfather who was a member of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Happy Valley
her finest novel, portrays homestead life in Harney County. Monroe operated an
advertising agency in the Hamilton Building, 529 SW 3rd Avenue.
Ethel Romig Fuller
(1883-1965) Poet, poetry editor of The Oregonian for over twenty-five
years, and Oregon's poet laureate from 1957 to 1965, lived at 730 SW ST. CLAIR
AVENUE. Her volumes of poetry included Kitchen Sonnets (1931).
(1886-1924) poet and seamstress, lived out the final years of her short,
housebound life with her mother and sister at 106 NW 22ND PLACE. Through the
upper front windows she drew in the images which she wove into Curtains (1921)
and two other collections of poems that caught the attention of reafers and
critics nationwide. In 1995, the Oregon Cultural Heritage Commission unveiled
a memorial to her in a small park beside the house.
Ben Hur Lampman
(1886-1954) was Oregon's poet laureate from 1951 until his death. Many of
his essays were written at The Oregonian, 1320 SW BROADWAY, where he was an
editor. He enjoyed a reputation as a whimsical essayist, as anyone who reads
At the End of the Car Line (1942) will understand. His story "Blinker Was a
Good Dog" won an 0. Henry prize in 1943.
(1887-1920) a poet as well as an internationally known journalist, passed
his boyhood at the northeast corner of WASHINGTON PARK. Broken masonry in an
adjacent lot may be the remains of his birthplace. A Reed memorial is planned
to join others there: the Lewis and Clark Column and the statue of Sacajawea,
whose role in the epic expedition Eva Emery Dye made legendary in The Conquest
(1887-1969) Portland journalist and instigator of the round-robin novel,
The Loop, lived in 1920 at the Kingsbury Apartments, 760 SW VISTA AVENUE.
(1887-1983) in a long career, authored eighteen books, was teacher and
mentor to many successful Portland writers, and served as editor of dozens of
books for Portland publisher Binford & Mort, then at 102 NW 9TH AVENUE.
His History of Oregon Literature (1935) remains the indispensable single
source on Oregon writers to the mid- 1930s.
Strahan (1888-1941) prize-winning mystery writer, was the creator of one
of the first female fictional detectives, "seasoned crime analyst" Lynn
McDonald. She lived for over twenty years at 3148 NW WILSON STREET and died
there in 1941.
Holbrook (1893-1964) journalist and historian of ordinary and
extraordinary empire builders-and destroyers lived his last sixteen years in
the stately colonial house at 2670 NW LOVEJOY STREET. A Vermont native, early
a wanderer, and an habitue of logging camps and big cities, Holbrook
demonstrated his love of the Northwest in Far Corner (1952).
(1895-1990) lived her entire ninety-five years in the Southeast Portland
home in which she was born. She authored many romantic tales, but her 1942
novel, The Rock and the Wind, centered on the Willamette Valley railroad war
of the late 1860s and early 1870s, successfully achieved the tone Of 1930s
realism. She worked in advertising in the Dekum Building, 519 SW 3RD AVENUE.
Corning (1896-1977) poet and historian, succeeded Ethel Romig Fuller as
poetry editor of The Oregonian. He authored Willamette Landings (1973), an
engaging account of steamboat days along the river, A Dictionary of Oregon
History (1956), still in print, and several collections of poems, including
This Earth and Another Country (1969). Around 1940 he lived in the
unpretentious Winona Apartments at 2146 NW JOHNSON STREET.
Montgomery (1897-1980) advertising executive, biographer of John
McLoughlin, and writer of tales for young readers, lived in the mid-1920s at
3115 NW THURMAN STREET.
Churchill (1898-1956) retold tales of early North Coast native peoples, as
well as of events in the history of Oregon. Around 1940 she lived in the
imposing Embassy Apartments, 2015 NW FLANDERS STREET.
(1899-1950) a native Portlander and one of the nation's most noted writers
of Westerns, was a disciplined worker who, around 1943, wrote in an office in
the building at 620 SW 5TH AVENUE. Long Storm (1946), a novel of political
intrigue, is set in Portland at a crucial moment during the Civil War. Many of
Haycox's tales became movies, including "Last Stage to Lordsburg," which
emerged as the film classic Stagecoach.
Wetjen (1900-1948) London-born, turned his maritime adventures and other
experiences into popular novels and stories. In the early 1930s he lived in
the 1890s Colonial Revival house at 3454 NW THURMAN STREET. Novelists H. L.
Davis and James Stevens and other friends partied there.
(1905-1993) ad writer, journalist, teacher, and prolific writer of novels,
short stories, and television and film scripts, lived from the 1970s until his
death at 2550 NW MARCIA AVENUE.
Lampman (1907-1980) was author of a number of fine novels and stories for
young readers. In 1935, prior to her marriage to Oregonian reporter Herbert S.
Lampman, she lived at the Lafayette Apartments, 730 SW 16TH AVENUE.
(1912-1960) journalist, non-fiction writer, and U. S. Senator, lived at
1910 SW CLIFTON STREET in the years after World War II.
Eberman (1917-1979) a flamboyant figure and reader, in his later years
worked as a desk clerk at the Roosevelt Hotel (now the Roosevelt Plaza
Apartments), at 1005 SW PARK AVENUE.
Since its dedication
in 1912 as Lincoln High School Lincoln Hall (now part of the Portland
State University campus), at the southwest corner of MARKET STREET and
BROADWAY, has served as a literary incubator. Its stages have trained actors
and playwrights, and entertained generations of theater-goers. Several figures
mentioned here walked the building's halls as students or teachers: Howard
Corning, Ernest Haycox, Don James, Mabel Parsons, Alfred Powers. Nationally
admired writer for young people Mary Jane Carr (1895-1988) and poet Laurence
Pratt (1888-1985) attended Lincoln High School, where Pratt supported himself
by working part-time as a janitor.
Primary research and writing has been done by OCHC board
member Robert Tuttle, professor emeritus, Portland State University. The cover
collage was created by Stephen Leflar. Design and layout are by John Laursen,
at Press-22. Many thanks to The Oregonian for its generous support of
this publication and for the use of photographs from its archives. Thanks as
well to the Portland Oregon Visitors Association for permission to adapt its
This is a publication of the Oregon Cultural Heritage
Commission, a non-profit organization whose goal is to honor the writers and
artists of our region's past and raise awareness of their work and lives. Your
comments and suggestions are appreciated. You can reach OCHC at Post Office
Box 3588, Portland, Oregon 97208; or at 503-292- 6439. Contributions to the
work of the Oregon Cultural Heritage Commission are tax-deductible.