News of the Week, February 5 to February 11

Oregon City Enterprise, February 9, 1867

PAPER MATERIAL – During the past week paper has been manufactured at the mill in this city from a substance gathered on the Columbia River bottoms, after high water. The paper is rather rough in appearance, as the trial of the material was raw, it not having been bleached or blowed in any manner. The Superintendent, Mr. Carl, is satisfied, however, that this material contains very good qualities for the manufacture of wrapping paper. We think it is a vegetable substance, which only flourishes under water. It may be obtained in any desired quantity, but if it is only useful in the making of wrapping paper, it will scarcely be profitable where straw is more available. Judge Brisco sends a sample of grass, by Mr. Chas. M. Carter, of Portland, which possesses little fiber, and may show, upon practical test, a sufficient element to produce printing paper. There is no lack of material for the making of paper in Oregon and the company have no fear of being driven to these resources of nature, yet they express their thanks to the gentlemen who have evinced their interest in this enterprise so far as to forward such materials to experiment upon.

ANOTHER ATTEMPT AT ARSON -At about three o’clock on the morning of Tuesday last Messrs. Dolan and Mathews, occupants of a dwelling belonging to Mr. Harvey, in the rear of the Fashion Billiard Saloon, in this city, were awakened by a crackling like fire, and upon getting up, found a roll of inflammable material burning upon the porch, which was kicked to the ground. As the bundle struck the earth it burst, and sent blue blazes in may directions. It is another mystery, unexplained, which calls for investigation.

Oregon City Enterprise, February 8, 1877

THE BOYS – An infallible test to find out whose children are hoodlums. Look around your family circle of an evening about 7 o’clock. See if any of your boys are absent. Of course no one of your boys are absent. Of course no one for moment would have audacity (or true friendship) to tell you that he was one, but if you would only go where he was you would be almost sure to find him associating with them. Remember the old aphorism about evil associations. If you are positive that he will not profit a great deal by being out at night and may possibly learn evil, then it becomes your duty to keep him at home. Associating with father, mother and sisters is certainly company enough for boys of 12 and 15 years of age. Exert your authority while they are young; remember the fable of the Oak and the Sapling. Parents, trouble is ahead for some of you unless you act, and that quickly. When three boys 12 years of age can be found with two dollars worth of cigars, we ask ourself, Where did they get them? When we next hear, among the dozens of recent acts, of their stealing food from an old Indian and eating it, we again ask ourself other questions. The answers come readily enough, and they are not flattering about the futures of these youngsters, nor prophetic of much happiness for their parents.

Oregon City Courier, February 5, 1897

TO STOP GAMBLING – An ordinance was presented by request of the Mayor and was ordered published by Council on Wednesday evening, providing a license of $25 a quarter on the business of running billiard and cardrooms in connection refreshment stands other than saloons, and prohibiting playing in rooms which cannot be inspected by the police, and also requiring proprietors to give bonds for the proper conduct of their places. The Mayor made the open statement that it was for the purpose of attempting to eradicate gambling in places which he had not been able to reach heretofore, and that if he could not stop gambling in all places, he would not attempt to stop it anywhere, as he believed in being impartial and just to all. The saloons closed their cardrooms at the request of the Mayor but the two cigar stands would not.

Oregon City Enterprise, February 8, 1907

A bank-full Willamette makes quite a mad-looking river. The waters are pretty high when the 48 foot falls become only rapids white-frothing the black surface of the rushing flood.


Water, water, everywhere, and not a drop to drink. That’s the situation in Oregon City since 12 o’clock, Wednesday unless you are willing to drink Willamette unfiltered and undiluted. The torrents of water sweeping over Main Street at the flouring mills filled the pumping station and of course stopped pumping.

Notices were immediately ordered by Superintendent W. H. Howell and distributed to all houses saying the water would be shut off all mains at noon, the supply in the reservoir being too precious in case of fire to risk for ordinary use.

Superintendent Howell says that no doubt the waters of the Willamette would rise about two feet more and then gradually fall until it would be possible to run the pump. The reservoir on the hill is well filled with water and a million gallons is being saved in case of fire.

Should the floods begin to subside and it be seen that there would be no danger ahead the water of the reservoir would be given out. Nevertheless the superintendent thought that from present indications of the falling of the waters in the upper Willamette valley that the pump might be able to resume its work by Sunday.

Many people have come to the river bank all day Wednesday to look at the raging water plunge on to its course down the river. Logs of all sizes are coming pell mell crashing against the piers of the suspension bridge, and also along the borders of the basin.

Considerable anxiety has been felt during the day about the foundation of the basin and many fear that it will give way if the waters do not cease rising. Great would be the damage as the water would rush down Main Street destroying and damaging everything in its path. It is understood that the company intends to build a concrete basin in the spring.

Several families in Greenpoint have been forced to leave their homes as the receding waters over the lowlands had come up their floors Wednesday morning.

…The board of water commissioners are up against the real thing now since the washout in the basin. It is feared that when the waters fall the new channel will carry all the water away from the flumes that supply the water pump or perhaps the pipe that feeds the filtering plant. The board has already a plan on foot which will relieve the situation when the water begin to fall Thursday evening or Friday, they will install a 150 horsepower motor to run the engine as the wheel cannot be brought into use for some time. They expect a rapid fall of the lower river. Members of the board went to Portland Thursday to secure a motor. The condition may also affect the factory and mills.

Oregon City Enterprise, February 9, 1917


stevens263-miller-garage-1919With the intention of using the site for the construction of a thoroughly modern, fire-proof garage, costing at least $10,000, the Miller-Parker company Tuesday closed negotiations for the purchase of the Charman property at the corner of Ninth and Main Streets.

The price paid was $16,000.

Construction of the new building will begin within 30 days and will be completed before fall.

The new structure will contain an automobile show room, a store, and a repair and machine shop, a painting plant, and an elevator. It will cover the entire frontage of 80 feet along Main Street and will extend 110 feet toward the rear of the lot.

Three sides of the building will be almost entirely of glass, according to the plans now under consideration. The building will be one of the best lighted in Oregon City. A heating plant will be one of the featured improvements among the equipment of the building.

The Charman property now embraces two large residences. One is the historic Charman home, situated on the corner, the other is the house where Mrs. Lena Charman now lives, which faces Ninth Street.

The Charman home is now occupied by Dr. Hugh S. Mount. It will be removed to the rear of the property. The other house will not affected by the new structure.

The purchase was made from Mrs. Lena Charman, widow of the late E. E. Charman, who built the house where Dr. Mount now lives.

The site of the proposed business block is on the northeast corner of the street intersection. There is a frontage of 80 feet on Main Street and 210 feet on Ninth Street.

“We shall now hurry plans as rapidly as possible,” said Mr. Miller Wednesday. “The sale was concluded with a rush because we thought that we saw a bargain and so grabbed the site as soon as possible. Things will be pushed form now on as rapidly as possible.”

General plans for the new structure indicate that the building will be as well built and equipped as any similar building in the Willamette valley. The material has not yet been selected.

The fire-proof nature of the building did not prove quite true. In May 1966, a fire broke out in the balcony section where the parts department was located and quickly spread through the interior of auto repair department. Fire inspectors believed that the fire was started by a burglar who may have set the fire after stealing cash from the parts department. Gordon Miller, then owner of Miller Motors, reported that the damage to the interior of the building would exceed $50,000.00. The building, which had not been repaired after the fire, was purchased in November 1967 by John Praggastis, former owner of State Theater on Seventh Street. Mr. Praggastis hired an architectural firm to remodel the building for Trans-America Title. The architects, Williams and Ehmann, stated that the front of the old building would be “drastically changed” and proved this by removing the southwest quarter of the original building.


Elmer Charman House from 9th Street

The fate of the E. E. Charman house is a mystery. An article printed in March 1917 stated that T. L. Charman had purchased the house and was moving it to 10th and Water Streets. Sanborn fire maps for the block at 10th and Water do not show any change in the houses in the block between 1911 and 1925. By December 1917 Dr. Mount was living on Center Street in a new home that still stands today.


Featured Image – looking east from 9th and Main Streets – early 1900s. E. E. Charman house on the left hidden by trees. Singer Hill Road and wooden sidewalk angled up the hill from downtown to 7th Street at the top.



One thought on “News of the Week, February 5 to February 11

  1. I love seeing the images of the glorious old homes that were senselessly torn down for more modern structures. The architecture in OC, for grand houses, was very similar to Portland’s old homes.


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