Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Famous Harbor

Portland harbor postcard
I try to keep my eye one the ephemera connected with our city's past. One image that keeps coming up is this postcard of a busy Portland harbor that was sold during the Lewis and Clark Fair of 1905. They must have sold by the thousands because they turn up on Ebay regularly, and can usually be found in local antique stores in their postcard box.

Here I have to brag about have purchased a collection of well over one hundred antique Portland postcards on Ebay for around seventeen dollars. I though it was a scam until I had them in my hands. Most of them were over a century old.

At the fair of 1905 not only did a lot of postcards get sold to the tourists, but one of the exhibits sold, or gave away monkey puzzle tree (Araucaria araucana) seedlings. Now there are 106 year old monkey trees throughout the city. Most articles on the subject say that it was the Chilean exhibit. I searched the Historic Oregon Newspaper Database but could find zilch. Once an old lady with a green thumb told me they were a part of the New Zealand exhibit, but they are a native of Chile. They look out of place around here, just like the occasional unhappy, scraggly, shivering palm tree.