Portland General History – A Curated Book List from the Friends of Lone Fir

General History

MacColl, E. Kimbark
Merchants, Money & Power:  The Portland Establishment 1843-1913
[1998] Georgian Press
Exploration of how wealth in Portland was created, managed and used.  How local institutions evolved.  One of the most authoritative works on Portland history.


Lansing, Jewel
Portland:  People, Politics & Power 1851-2001
[2003] OSU Press
The definitive book on Portland political, social and cultural history.  One of the most respected works on Portland history.


Abbott, Carl
PORTLAND in Three Centuries; the place and the people
[2011] OSU Press
A compact and comprehensive history of Portland from first European contact to the present. Politicians, business leaders, and movers and shakers; also, workers and immigrants, union members and dissenters, women at work and in the public realm, artists and activists.


Johnson, Brian K. and Don Porth
Portland Fire & Rescue
[2007] Arcadia Publishing


Stanford, Phil
Portland Confidential:  Sex, Crime and Corruption in the Rose City
[2004] Westwinds Press
Exposes some of Portland’s biggest dirty little secrets.


Dodds, Linda and Buan, Carolyn
Portland:  Then and Now
[2001] Thunder Bay Press
Photographs comparing old and contemporary views of Portland locations.


Nelson, Donald R.
Portland Oregon East of the Willamette River
[2012] DonelsonBooks/Morel Ink, Portland, Oregon
120 pages of photographs and text chronicling East Portland from JB & Elizabeth Stephens to Maxey’s Barber Shop

Waterfront/Shanghai Era


Worcester, Thomas K.
Bunco Kelly and Other Yarns of Portland and Northwest Oregon
[1983] TMS Book Service Publishing
Many colorful stories of life in Portland and Oregon area.


John, Finn J. D.
Wicked Portland:  The Wild and Lusty Underworld of a Frontier Seaport Town
[2012] History Press
A colorful rendition of Portland’s development, from its strong New England connections to the opium dens, brothels and shanghai tunnels which scandalize us to this day.  And the mayors and politicians who helped it all happen.


Blalock, Barney
Portland’s Lost Waterfront:  Tall Ships, Steam Mills and Sailors’ Boardinghouses
[2012] The History Press
More on the art of the shanghai, but mostly about life & work on the river & the development of Portland harbor as a shipping port.


Blalock, Barney
The Oregon Shanghaiers: Columbia River Crimping from Astoria to Portland
[2014] The History Press
“There is one port on the Pacific Coast that has always been known as the greatest crimping den in America. I refer to the port of Portland.” Andrew Fureseth, Maritime Union Leader, 1911


Carlson, Jen
Wagon Trains Lead to Roses in December:  A Pioneer History of Drain, Oregon
[1959] The Drain Enterprise Press
Town history from pioneer settlement in 1847 through 1959’s celebration of statehood centennial.  Has connections to Lone Fir Cemetery rose garden, planted by Mary Drain Albro.


Butruille, Susan G.
Women’s Voices from the Oregon Trail:  The Times That Tried Women’s Souls and A Guide to Women’s History Along the Oregon Trail
[1993] Tamarack Books Press
Women’s perspectives what the whole Oregon Fever craziness meant to their lives.




Blair, Karen J., Editor
Women in Pacific Northwest History
[1988] University of Washington Press
A collection of essays outlining women’s experiences regarding the struggles for women’s suffrage, working conditions and labor issues with sections on ethnic women and the issues they faced.


Moreland, Kimberly Stowers
African-Americans of Portland
[2013] Arcadia Publishing
Author Kimberly Stowers Moreland, on behalf of the Oregon Black Pioneers, brings a historical perspective of Portland’s African American experience using images collected from the Oregon Historical Society, Portland State University, and private family collections.


Chandler, J. D.
Murder and Mayhem in Portland, Oregon
[2013] The History Press
True tales of cases of murder and their adjudication set in Portland 1858-1945.


Nokes, R. Gregory
Breaking Chains:  Slavery on Trial in the Oregon Territory
[2013] Oregon State University Press
The little-known story of Oregon’s uneasy relationship with slavery.  How Oregon almost became a slave state, the slaves who actually did come to Oregon and the shameful treatment of blacks in Oregon even without slavery.


Nokes, R. Gregory
Massacred For Gold:  The Chinese in Hells Canyon
[2009] Oregon State University Press
The 1887 massacre of Chinese gold miners helps in interpreting Lone Fir’s Chinese Burial Ground story.
Lee, Erika and Yung, Judy


Fiset, Louis and Nomura, Gail M.
Nikkei in the Pacific Northwest
[2005] University of Washington Press
Collection of essays describing Japanese emigration, settlement, internment and reintegration into American society.


Inside Oregon State Hospital:  A History of Tragedy and Triumph
[2013] The History Press
A brief bit about the Hawthorne insane asylum with the rest of the book devoted to the development of the Salem mental hospital and practices since its inception 1888-present time.


Applegate, Shannon
Living Among Headstones: Life in a Country Cemetery
[2005] Thunder’s Mouth Press
Shannon Applegate is author, lecturer, and historian. This book is a memoir of her experience as business manager, groundskeeper, sexton of Applegate Pioneer Cemetery near Yoncalla, Oregon.


Mathiesen, Johan
Mad As The Mist and Snow: Exploring Oregon Through Its Cemeteries
[2011] Ashland Creek Press, Oregon
Hey Darlin’: epitaphs of the Oregon Territory
[2012] DeadManTalking


Nelson, Donald R.
Portland Oregon East of the Willamette River
[2012] DnelsonBooks/Morel Ink, Portland, Oregon
*120 pages of photographs and text chronicling East Portland from JB & Elizabeth Stephens to Maxey’s Barber Shop*


Wong, Marie Rose
Sweet Cakes, Long Journey: the Chinatowns of Portland, Oregon
[2004] University of Washington Press, Seattle, WA


Jensen, Kimberly
Oregon’s Doctor to the World: Esther Pohl Lovejoy & A Life in Activism
[2012] University of Washington Press
Esther Pohl Lovejoy lived through 20th century feminism, universal suffrage, governmental reform, labor rights, public health and global citizenship; yet she found time to save Portland from the plague. Yes, the real Black Death. Didn’t happen because she took action.


The Oregonian editions from the beginning to the present