We may be a relatively young city compared to cities on the east coast, but there are still many notable historical landmarks peppered around town. Incorporated in 1851, Portland has a rich history, and these are some of the interesting things around the city that notate it. Take a day and explore these historical highlights to learn even more about Portland’s past.
1. Skidmore Fountain
Installed in 1888, the Skidmore Fountain in Ankeny Plaza is Portland's oldest piece of public art.
2. The Old Church
Built in 1883 as a Presbyterian church, the historical building now plays host to concerts and community events. Notable for its Victorian architecture, the Old Church has stunning detailed work that is fascinating to explore.
3. Benson Bubblers
Lumber baron Simon Benson was fed up with his workers consuming alcohol throughout the day back in 1912. Upon further investigation, he discovered that they did not have access to fresh drinking water. His response: install drinking fountains throughout downtown to give them access. Today there are 52 fountains that can be toured, including the first one on the corner of SW Fifth and Washington Street.
4. Old Town Chinatown
This was once the core of city life in Portland, and today the neighborhood is a National Historic Landmark. The streets below Old Town are all interconnected with a series of tunnels that have their own sordid history. Take a tour of the Portland Underground to find out more about how these tunnels were reportedly used to kidnap people into slave labor aboard ships leaving port.
5. Simon Benson House
The Simon Benson House was built in 1900 for philanthropist and logger Benson. After moving and renovating the house, it is used today as the Portland State University Alumni Association Building. There is a visitor center open to the public that details Benson and the house's history.
6. Pittock Mansion
Built in 1914 for the influential moguls Henry and Georgiana Pittock, this mansion sits in the West Hills. Boasting some of the best skyline views in the city, the mansion is open for tours and features 23 rooms of art and antiques from the period.