News of the Week, December 18 to December 24

Oregon Spectator, December 24, 1846
(From Editorial on navigating the Columbia River)
We are in possession of information that we were not aware of when we prepared our last article in reference to this matter, and it is with a great deal of pleasure that we take advantage of this opportunity to state, that our worthy townsman, Captain John H. Couch, is eminently deserving of honorable mention, in practically proving the access to the Columbia both convenient and safe, and the navigability of the lower Willamette, perfectly feasible.

In the year 1840, Captain Couch, in command of the brig Maryland, brought that vessel in safety, not only into the Willamette, but up to the Falls of the Willamette, now better known as Oregon City. This was achieved too, be it understood, previously to Captain Wilkes’ explorations, without a chart of the Columbia, much less of the Willamette River, when there were no pilots, and the commander could not obtain that information and assistance which now may be enjoyed in a variety of forms. Judgment was his chart, and experience his pilot, and “making” the mouth of the Columbia in the evening, he entered it in safety the next morning, without having been subjected to any delay. Since that time, in the discharge of his duty as a commander of vessels, and all his trips have been of essential service in illustrating the practicability of commercial communication by means of the Columbia, and how easy the difficulties at its mouth may be overcome if a proper degree of prudence is only exercised. The same may be said of Captain Sylvester, of the Chenamus. The sea officers of the Hudson’s Bay Company’s service have likewise done much in attesting the truth of the position we have here assumed.

Oregon City Enterprise, December 22, 1866
BLUFF-STREET – One of the long-time residents of Oregon City sends us the following for publication. We deem the suggestions appropriate, and hope they may be favorably looked upon by the city government: “As there appears to be some diversity of opinion in reference to the street next to Main Street, under the bluff, viz: Whether there is a street there or not; would it not be well if the City Council would let the citizens know whether they have bought and are holding their lots according to the Applegate map or the A. Lee Lewis map? The Applegate map was made in 1843-44; Mr. Applegate having crossed the Plains in 1843. All the lots in Oregon City, for several years after his map was made, were sold with most positive assurances from Dr. McLoughlin that the plat of lots and streets, as laid down on that map, would be adhered to by him. If there is a new map called the A. Lee Lewis map, and if it is recorded as such and the city is bound the record, so be it and let all hands cry “amen!” But if the Applegate map is the surveying ground of the lots and streets in Oregon City, why will not the city save money by paying Mr. Applegate for duplicate map. I understand that he thought, when last in Oregon City, that he had his field notes of 1843-44. That there was a street between the bluff and Main Street is self evident to my mind, as many lots were sold fronting toward the east, and no man of sense would purchase a lot with this frontispiece boring into a rock – except he be a miner, and I never heard those lots were purchased with this intention – and with no chance of outlet except by the rear, and that again only by and with the permission of his neighbors on the front towards Main Street. If there was was no Bluff Street, of what use were the alleys and streets leading east from Main Street? I submit there suggestion for what they are worth.”

Oregon City, Dec. 19th, 1866
Ed. Enterprise:
Dear Sir – As you are comparatively a stranger in Oregon City and not acquainted with the early history of the maps, plats &c., of this enterprising place, I take the liberty of correcting an error in an article in the December 15th No., headed “Public Improvements.” In that you say you consulted the original plat. Now if you have seen that original plat, and can inform the citizens of Oregon City where it can be found, you will confer a very great favor. You infer also that all land under the bluff is the private property of Daniel Harvey. If such is the fact, then it should be assessed to him. Yours &c. CITIZEN

The plat which we consulted, and which we understood to be the “original plat” is that on file at the office of the county clerk. – ED. ENTERPRISE

NOTICE – To All Whom It May Concern.
All persons are hereby notified that I claim all unsold land in Oregon City not laid off in Blocks, Lots, Streets or Alleys, and all timber, rails, wood, rock &c., thereon, and I do hereby forbid all persons from trespassing upon or in any way interfering with the same without a written permission from me. The space in front of the Bluff not laid off into Blocks or Lots is not a street.

Oregon City Enterprise, December 21, 1876
A special dispatch to the Standard, dated Celilo, Dec. 16, gives the following account of the premature explosion of giant powder, which caused the death of Cornelius S. Rinearson, eldest son of Mr. P. M. Rinearson, and D. S. Moore, residents of this city: “Information has just been received here of a terrible accident which occurred at Owyhee Rapids, about 10 A. M. yesterday, through the premature explosion of some giant powder, instantly killing D. S. Moore and C. S. Rinearson, both of Oregon City. Preparations were just being made by Mr. Moore, who has had charge of the explosives, for thawing out about ten pounds of the powder, which was in a frozen state, by heating with warm water. An interval of only two or three minutes had elapsed when a terrible explosion took place, blowing to atoms the cartridge house, and instantly killing Mr. Moore and Mr. Rinearson, who were standing some six or eight feet outside the house. As the powder was still in a frozen condition, the fuse and caps stored about three hundred feet away, and as no one had handled the powder but Moore, who was a careful and experienced hand at the business, as every possible precaution had been used to avoid any accident, the cause of the explosion remains a profound mystery. In fact, no other theory can be given than that the powder must have been manufactured from inferior material and thus more liable to spontaneous combustion.

The funerals of D. S. Moore and C. S. Rinearson will take place from the Baptist Church Saturday at 1 o’clock P. M.

Oregon City Enterprise, December 18, 1896
The Pacific Bridge Company is building an extension to the electric power house on the west side of the river and the excavation for the foundation extended under the canal, weakening that structure so that the decayed timbers were unequal to supporting the bottom and wall, and gave way Saturday afternoon. The steamer Eugene was passing through the canal and was almost abreast of the break when the wall gave way. Six men were working just in front of and below the breaking timbers, but there was sufficient warning for the men to get at a safe distance before the flood rushed through and the steamer succeeded in getting safely through the locks.

The water carried away car tracks and other temporary structures used in building the power house extension, pipes and flumes connecting the paper mills and some timbers, etc.

The damage is not serious but will prevent the passage of boats through the locks or the operating of the mills deriving water power from the canal for several days.

Oregon City Enterprise, December 21, 1906
Manager Miller of P. G. E. Co., Tells of the General Appearance of Store Signs
Manager Miller of the local branch of the Portland General Electric Company says:
“Oregon City’s business district needs signs designating the different business firms – electric signs, not because we are in the lighting business but because of the general appearance they give the streets. A city which has electric signs takes on the appearance of a busy center, the streets seem to have life – and strangers and visitors have a good report to make of such a city.” Some of our business houses already have such signs and they have been a great boon to the different firms, as well as casting a bright light into the streets.


Frank Busch, the House Furnisher, has been the landing place of all the children for several weeks past for the displays of toys in the windows has made them all think of the “dreamland.” Last week the large window was especially attractive with the toy trains, “giant whirl”, automobiles, etc., all in section of Central Park, New York. Many a lad was heard to express what he hoped Santa Claus would bring on Christmas Day.

Mrs. Nettie Miller’s confectionery store on Main Street is no doubt in the opinion of many of the little girls the prize winner in window display. Many children have tried in vain to reach the beautiful and richly dressed dolls, and have given forth exclamations of joy in front of that window. The display is exquisite and shows neatness.

“Toyland” is a place always eagerly sought by all, especially near Christmas time. From the displays in windows that particular place well imitated by the window displays at Block’s Furniture store at the corner of Main and Seventh.


Chase House from the Promenade 1929

One of the most enjoyable events of the season, was the first open meeting of the Derthick Club, Friday evening, when about 60 guests were entertained at the beautiful home of Mr. and Mrs. James Chase. The house was artistically decorated with Oregon grape, mistletoe and garlands of red crepe paper. Partners were chosen for progressive whist by matching articles drawn from baskets that were passed – an iron-holder and an iron, a knife and a fork, a cup and saucer were among the combinations. Prize winners were Cis Barclay Pratt, a hand-painted place of dainty design; R. R. McAlpin, a handsome deck of cards. An auction of antiques created a great deal of merriment, bids ranging from half a million to one penny, kept the bead-money in circulation. The packages were wrapped in tissue paper and tied with ribbons and each was given fifty beans as a start. In the musical game, seven or eight gentlemen guessed all the numbers. Three other selections were played, resulting in victory for C. D. Latourette, who was given a harmonica. Col. Robt. Miller secured the consolation prize, a jews-harp. A delicious luncheon was served. The evening was brought to a delightful close by the singing of several popular airs, by the entire company. Mrs. Chase was assisted in receiving by Mesdames Wm. A. Huntley, Charles H. Caufield, Walter Dimick, John Loder and Miss Muriel Stevens.

Oregon City Enterprise, December 22, 1916

It became known Wednesday night that the Hawley Pulp & Paper company will begin soon the construction of a second additional unit to its mill here, when the company, through C. D. & D. C. Latourette, its attorneys, appeared before the Council and asked for the vacation of Fourth Street from Main to the Southern Pacific tracks, part of the site of new plant. The Council unanimously passed on first reading the ordinance vacating the street.

The paper company Wednesday acquired the half block bounded by Main, the Southern Pacific, Fourth and an alley from James Tracy for $40,000. The new building will extend from Third to the alley between Fourth and Fifth streets, a distance of almost 400 feet, on Main.

Willard P. Hawley, Jr., assistant to his father, who is president and general manager of the company, said Wednesday night that plans for the new unit to the plant have not been completed, and that an announcement of the equipment and size of the buildings could not be made for several days.

The new mill, however, will probably contain another large paper machine and other necessary equipment. Reinforced concrete will probably be used in its construction.

The company now is completing a $1,000,000 addition to its plant, two big buildings, one along Main Street and the other on the island near Mill A. The new mill, which will be in operation next month, will have a $128,000 paper machine, having the largest drying capacity of any paper machine on the Pacific coast.

W. P. Hawley, Sr., announced several months ago that he intended to build ultimately a mill which would employ 1,000 men, and would rank with the largest in the country. He then made known his intention to construct this second additional unit, but in August he was forced to postpone his plans until the first additional unit, now nearing completion, was in operation, owing to the press of details in its construction.

At that time, however, he acquired an option on the Tracy property for two years, and said that he would begin construction probably in 1917. Two hundred more men will be employed in the plant which will be completed next month, and this second additional unit will probably add another 200 men to the payroll, bringing the total number of hands in the company’s mills up to 800, and the number of men employed in the paper industry at the falls of the Willamette to 1700.


Cataract Hose Company
Center of photo at the bottom

The Council expressed its desires to do anything to aid in the upbuilding of industries here, and Councilmen Templeton, Metzner and Cox were appointed a committee to wait on Mr. Hawley to let him know the city’s position in the matter.

A large part of the property on which the new mill will stand is now vacant but a dozen buildings must be torn down or moved to make room for it. The freight shed of the Portland, Light & Power company, standing on the corner of Third and Main Streets, is probably the largest structure on the property. The company has expressed its willingness to move its freight shed to make room for the addition to the plant.

A two-story concrete garage on Fourth and Main Streets will also be torn down. The old armory on Main between Third and Fourth, used now as a store house by the paper company, stands on the site as well as several dwellings. The company has begun negotiations with the city to buy the site of the Cataract firehouse on Main Street near Third for $1,500. The Council is willing to sell the property to Mr. Hawley.

Announcement of plans for the construction of a three-story, 80 by 250 feet, reinforced concrete addition to the plant of the Oregon City Manufacturing Company and the complete rearrangement of the plant, improvements which will increase the capacity of the mill 50 percent and make it the largest woolen mill west of the Mississippi River, was made Saturday by Adolph R. Jacobs, president of the company. Construction will be started in the near future, said Mr. Jacobs.


1917 aerial view of construction

The new three-story concrete addition will extend along the south side of Third Street toward the river from the present three-story story brick building which fronts along Main. The top floor will be occupied by the company’s enlarged garment factory, the second floor by the weave room, with 150 of the most modern type of looms, and the ground floor will be used for a machine room, storage and a cafeteria and kitchens.

The building will have 60,000 square feet of floor space, an equal to one and a half Portland City blocks.

One of the features of the new structure will be its lighting. The roof will be of the monitor type, with five-foot windows. On three sides of the building from one end to the other and from the floor to the roof of each story will be large glass windows, admitting a flood of light.

Ventilation, too, has received close attention from Mr. Jacobs in preparing the plans for the building, and each floor will be supplied with fresh air by use of a fan system.

On the first floor of the new building will be a modern cafeteria, in which the mill will serve food to its employees at cost. Kitchens will adjoin the cafeteria.

The construction of this new building, however, is only part of the plans. Practically every machine in the entire plant will be moved, all old machines will be scrapped or sold and only the latest types of machinery installed.

A complete rearrangement of the plant from basement to roof, therefore is necessary. Economy of handling the products to their various stages of manufacture has entered largely into the drafting of the plans for the new mill. Wool will be unloaded from cars on one side of the track and the finished garments, blankets, rugs and other products loaded on the other.

This entire change in the arrangement of the mill will be made principally because it will mean a saving in handling.

With these improvements made the local woolen mill will be the equal of any of the east in equipment and quality of product, and will also rank as one of the largest in the nation. Its position as the largest west of the Mississippi will be undisputed.

With the addition completed 150 more hands will be employed and the payroll increased about 50 percent. The mill will then employ 550 persons.

The Oregon City Manufacturing Company has a market for its wares that is national in scope. The products, or better say, the sales of their products, total over $1,000,000 per year. The famous Navajo Art Craft wares which have been a specialty in the mills for many years, have won the grand prize at practically all the big expositions in the country in the last quarter of a century. The Oregon City Indian blankets are a standard all over the United States.

The factory is one of the few woolen mills of the country where every process from the receipt of the wool, is completed under one roof. In addition to the Indian wares, the mills make almost every known article of woolen wear, including mackinaws, robes, pants, blankets, etc. These articles are made in the garment factory, itself a complete industry in the big mills.



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