Review: Portland in Three Centuries by Carl Abbott

Portland in Three Centuries, by Carl Abbott is a modern local history focused on the Oregon city named after that other one somewhere else. Mr. Abbott begins with the basic facts of Portland’s discovery and quickly moves on to development of it’s neighborhoods. He also shows their emergence into what is now the city itself. The focus here is on the people who made the neighborhoods, and how those neighborhoods work together.

This history is well illustrated with key features of the neighborhoods. Some of the photographs are from the author’s collection, and some are from the Wikimedia Commons. One comment by the author that I particularly like is that visitors “marvel at Powell’s Bookstore;” all of it’s suburban branches included. Another interesting illustration is that of the Portlandia statue which is comparable to that other copper-clad goddess.

The resources section at the end of the history includes more information for readers interested in Portland’s history, including several blogs and websites. A number of academic theses and dissertations are referenced as this history’s core sources. They may well be good reading for those inclined toward the sort of history that is not widely used by researchers. Another resource mentioned is the censuses taken over the years. These social statistics show distribution of each neighborhood’s population in relation to the whole city.

Carl Abbott. Portland in Three Centuries. Corvallis: Oregon State University Press. 2011.

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