Sunday, September 23, 2012

Ghosts of Memories

The Lone Fir Cemetery on Memorial Day from an 1888 West Shore magazine

As my research has had me absorbed in reading Portland newspapers from many long years ago I have come across collected reminiscences of Portlanders recalling events in their lives decades earlier than the year the newspaper was printed. These were published in the Oregonian under the heading, "Do You Remember?" Since these dear people are long gone, and their memory is just a few kilobytes of scanned image OCRed in a database, I think it is safe to refer to these tidbits as  "ghosts of memories." I am intending to share some of them here, from time to time, for your enjoyment, and thoughtful consideration. Sometimes little flashes like these will bring a period of history into sharp focus, like a burst of lightning on a dark day. And there is no darker day than the one that is behind us. We are carried along so swiftly by the arrow of time that we rarely get a chance to consider the present, let alone the past. Here follows the first of these ghosts:

Ghosts of  Memories (I)
(recalled in 1921)

Do you remember the city's "pesthouse" where persons suffering from small pox were isolated? It was in the dense timber of what is now lower Willamette Heights? O. B

Do you remember Ben Holladay's old mansion at what is now the northeast corner of Park and Stark streets? Its halls once rang with gaiety as the nabobs of 50 years ago were entertained there. E.D.

Do you remember when Mrs. McCaugh, mother of Barney McCaugh, the old-time jockey, and Pogey McCaugh, ran the Shakespere house on Front, near Oak, in the '70s and how  she would ask the boarders, "Will yez have tay or coffee?" and when the reply would be "coffee." she would say, "Ye'll have tay, we have no coffee?" Pioneer