News of the Week, July 30 to August 5

Oregon Spectator, August 5, 1847

1867 basin and canemah

1867 South end of mill property with Canemah in the distance on the left.

ROAD AROUND THE FALLS – The construction of a road around the Falls, on the eastern bank of the Willamette, conducting from Main Street to the granary above, is in contemplation; indeed a number of our most influential citizens are prepared to subscribe liberally towards the accomplishment of so laudable an object. It is a matter, however, that does not affect the interests of this city along, but more immediately those of the whole upper country. At most seasons of the year it has been found extremely difficult and often not attended with great danger to life and property to secure a convenient landing for produce and merchandise above the falls. Even at the present stage of water in our river, which must recede considerably yet, and at a time too, when it is most desirable that every facility should be afforded in the receipt of produce and the shipment of goods for points above this pace, the descent can only be made by running the gauntlet of the rapids which, to say the least, is eminently hazardous. The ascent from the basin to the granary or to still water, is a herculean labor, expensive and attended with delay. Look at the subject in any light we will, a wagon road around the falls following the course of the river, and high enough above its level to be made accessible at all stages of water, promises great advantages, and beyond question will prove highly beneficial in increasing and accelerating business operations. As it must facilitate the receipt of produce, the farmer is directly interested in the undertaking, and should use his influence in its favor.

Subscription papers for the advancement of this enterprise may be found at the different stores in this city, and we confidently believe that in a short space of time a sufficient amount will have been subscribed to authorize the commencement of the work. Before the work is begun, however, it is contemplated to hold a general meeting of the subscribers for the purpose of properly contracting for the performance of the necessary labor.

— We understand that Mr. Moss’s Livery Stable accommodations are now very complete. His establishment is the only one of the kind in town, and merits encouragement.

Oregon City Enterprise, August 2, 1877

ATTEMPTED SUICIDE – Last Thursday night Jos. Wrigley, who has been driving a team for George Broughton, attempted to put an end to his life by driving a railroad spike into his head, but only inflicted a slight indenture which did not produce the desired effect. He says he shot himself with a pistol, but Dr. Davis made an examination and says the would was made by a spike or something similar. The first attempt not being satisfactory, Joseph tried to drown himself in the river last Saturday and would have accomplished his object had not Mr. George Foster appeared on the scene and rescued the love-sick swain from an untimely and a watery grave. The cause of this strange conduct is a young lady employed at the Barlow House, to whom Joseph has been paying his attention for some time past, and recently he proposed that they should be made as one, but the dulcina failed to see it in that light. He tried his best to persuade her to change her mind and finding it was of no avail he resolved to put an end to his misery and proceeded to put his plans into execution, but failed in two attempts.

Oregon City Enterprise, July 30, 1897


The clanging of the fire bell and blowing of the woolen mill whistle disturbed the early morning slumbers of Oregon City people about 5 a.m. Wednesday and in an incredibly sort time a great crowd of people had gathered at the scene of the conflagration at the woolen mills.

The fire originated in the building used for a dye house, picking room, boiler room and machine shop and is supposed to have been the result of spontaneous combustion from the pipes in the dye room. It was first discovered by Bob Wilkinson, one of the night weavers, who saw the flames suddenly burst from the west end of the building. The fire was discovered a few minutes after Julius Grasier, the nightwatchman, who had made his final round for the night and was just in the act of putting the last peg in his register when the alarm was sounded.

The several fire companies responded quickly, considering the fact that most of the members were at their homes and soon had a number of streams playing upon the fire. Owing to the inflammable material in the building the fire companies were unable to put out the fire but by heroic efforts succeeded in confining it to the building where it originated.

The loss to the Oregon City Manufacturing Co. is between $20,000 and $25,000, only about two-thirds of which was covered by insurance. All the machinery and apparatus was totally destroyed, together with a large amount of raw material and chemicals used in dying. The loss falls heavily on the company just at this time since they were running night and day in their endeavor to fill orders and this will delay them very materially. The mills will be shut down next week and the work of rebuilding the structure commenced. The company will also put in new water wheels during the shut down.

During the administration of S. R. Green as chief of the fire department, the council purchased 750 feet of “Live Oak” hose, and whenever a fire occurs there is always a scramble among the firemen as to who shall have this hose. It is not only very light and pliable but stronger and more easily handled than any other hose. It was purchased through the company’s agent, N. R. Lang.

1897 Woolen mill from River

Oregon City Woolen Mills, 1897. Visible buildings from left to right on the bank are the Soap works, Machine and Carpentry shop and the west end of the Bleaching Room and Picker & Dryer House per the 1892 Sanborn Fire Map. Dye House is behind the Machine & Carpentry Shop, with narrow smokestack visible.


  • Do not fail to see Carl Somers in his comic songs and Little Lottie in her character songs. Shively’s opera house Aug. 4. Reserved seats at post office.
  • The board of directors of the Y. M. C. A. have leased the old Eureka hotel building of Capt. J. S. Graham for a term of three years at $50 per month and the new rooms will be opened about August 1st.
  • Street Commissioner Babcock has widened the channel of Singer Creek, where it crosses Center Street, and put in a new crosswalk. The improvement will be greatly appreciated by residents of Seventh Street as this particular portion of the street was usually flooded during the rainy season.

Oregon City Enterprise, August 2, 1907


W. A. White, city engineer, recently killed a rattlesnake on Madison Street in Falls View. This is the first occurrence of the kind in this city, according to several old timers, who say that Oregon City has always been free from the rattler. The snake killed by Mr. White measured about two feet in length, and possessed two rattles. A snake was seen on Jefferson Street near Tenth and those who saw it say it was also a rattler.


William Price was overcome by the heat Wednesday morning and fell from the steps of the Portland House to the sidewalk, bruising and cutting his face considerably. Mr. Price who is about 60 years old, was crossing Main Street when the head affected him, and for the time blinded him. He groped his way to the steps of the Portland House and sat down there to recover, but becoming weaker he fell over with the above result. He was removed to his home, just back of the Portland House and Dr. Stuart attended him. He is reported as recovering very nicely.

This is the first instance known of a person being overcome by heat in Oregon City.

“Is this weather warm enough for you?” was the unfailing question addressed to sweltering Oregon City residents Tuesday, and in no way did it tend to cool them. Several heard the time worn phrase so often that they are thinking of introducing a bill in the legislature forbidding the asking of useless questions.

Tuesday was certainly hot enough for anybody, and a number of degrees too torrid in temperature for many. A number of thermometers in Huntley’s window registered 102° in the shade. The mercury in the one at the Southern Pacific depot climbed still higher and for a while showed a temperature of 106°.

A wind from the north was burning hot and in no way helped to cool the atmosphere. A soda fountain profited by the wave and all day were busily engaged in serving iced drinks to thirsty patrons.

In the evening the porches in the residence districts were filled and the principal topic was the weather.

Many thought of a dip in the river, and the banks of the Willamette were lined, whole families enjoying a swim.

Between 10:30 and 11 at night peals of thunder could be heard and at intervals the sky was brightened by vivid flashes of lightning. To this was ascribed the cooling of the air and many hoped for rain but their hopes were blighted, and the streets are as dusty and hot as ever.

The newcomers in the city say that if this is a sample of an Oregon City summer they will moved out, but old timers shake their heads and say that this is the worst ever in this vicinity, and is unnatural. Memory is a poor weather recorder but the official figures in the weather bureau at Portland bear out statements of the oldest citizens. The highest temperature ever recorded in that office was 102° on July 23, 1891, and Tuesday that mark was again touched for the only time in 35 years. The higher humidity of the atmosphere made Tuesday probably the most oppressively hot day ever known here.

With everyone sweltering during these closing days of July, what freaks the weather may possibly show during the month of August is of more than ordinary interest. What it has done during the last 35 Augusts is shown in the report of the Weather Bureau in Portland:

The mean or normal temperature for 35 Augusts was 66.3°. The warmest August was in 1897 with an average of 71.1°; coolest was that of 1899, average 61.5°. The highest temperature recorded was 97° on the 22nd, 1891, the 5th, 1898, and the 10th, 1902. The lowest temperature was 43° on the 28th and 29th, 1876.

There is little chance for a good, soaking rain judging from the past. The average precipitation for 35 Augusts is .61 of an inch. In 1899, two and half inches of water fell during August but in 1885 not a drop fell during 31 days.

Oregon City Enterprise, August 3, 1917


Chris Weismandel, a painter and automobile enthusiast of this city, found the street too narrow for him to drive his machine on early Sunday morning, so he used the sidewalks for a distance of two blocks. Judge John W. Loder Monday afternoon decided that this was contrary to the safety of the citizens and he was fined $25 and sentenced to 30 days in jail. Upon his promises of good behavior, the fine was reduced to $15 and the jail sentence held in abeyance, during the promised good behavior. When Weismandel appeared before Judge Loder Monday afternoon, is attitude almost won him a heavier sentence than that imposed. He pleaded guilty to the charges of driving his automobile on the sidewalk but denied that he drove it on more than once, or in more than one place. “Then you couldn’t have known where you were going,” said Loder, “for I have been told that you were on the sidewalk three times.” “Well, go ahead and give the most you can. I hear that is what you are going to do anyway,” said Weismandel. It required only the threat of Loder to comply with the accused man’s invitation to make it strong and charge him the full amount of the fine that quieted him. The maximum which Loder could have assessed the man was a fine of $100 and imprisonment for 50 days in the city jail, or both. According to Loder, the 50 days in jail hangs over Weismandel’s head and will be imposed at the first provocation.


Mrs. Minnie Hendricks pleaded guilty to a charge of assault and battery upon the person of Mrs. Charles Baxter, in the justice court, and was fined $5 by Justice of the Peace John N. Sievers. Mrs. Hendricks, it was alleged, struck Mrs. Baxter in the face following an argument in a Main Street Restaurant.


Three members of the Third Oregon detachment in this city were injured at an early hour this morning when a machine in which they were riding skidded on the Southern Pacific tracks near Parkplace, north of Oregon City. The injured men are privates Streeter, Faulkner and Alderman. Streeter was the most seriously injured, having been thrown from the machine onto his head, inflicting a gash which required the attention of Dr. C. A. Stuart, who took several stitches. According to Sergeant Petty, in charge of the local guard, who made an investigation immediately after the affair, the men were using the machine which is intended to be used for transfer of troops doing guard duty at the mills here, for a please ride. The three men were the only occupants of the machine.


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