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.
The renown 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 whole.
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.
2. Abigail Scott 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.
3. Sam Simpson (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).
4. Charles Erskine 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
5. Mabel Holmes Parsons (1873-1953) poet and influential writing teacher, lived in the handsome Italianate Victorian house at 1824 NW COUCH STREET around 1940.
6. Anthony Euwer (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.
7. Anne Shannon 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.
8. 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).
9. Hazel Hall (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.
10. 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.
11. John Reed (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 (1902).
12. Dean Collins (1887-1969) Portland journalist and instigator of the round-robin novel, The Loop, lived in 1920 at the Kingsbury Apartments, 760 SW VISTA AVENUE.
13. Alfred Powers (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.
14. Kay Cleaver 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.
15. Stewart H. 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).
16. Vivien Bretherton (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.
17. Howard McKinley 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.
18. Richard Gill 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.
19. Claire Warner 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.
20. Ernest Haycox (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.
21. Albert Richard 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.
22. Don James (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.
23. Evelyn Sibley 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.
24. Richard Neuberger (1912-1960) journalist, non-fiction writer, and U. S. Senator, lived at 1910 SW CLIFTON STREET in the years after World War II.
25. Poet Willis 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.
26. 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 map.
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.
For information contact:
Oregon Cultural Heritage Commission
Phone: (503) 285-8279 or (503) 292-6439
Fax: (503) 289-4179