“When was the last time you sang? When was the last time you danced? When was the last time you told your story?” These were the questions a Native American asked Natalie Curtis as she began to engage with the tribes of the West (in this novel). How would you answer these questions? If you take a minute to answer, then you may learn something from this story of Natalie Curtis, who after a few years could answer those questions quickly with positive answers.
In 1900, her brother George took her away from her New York home, where she had secluded herself for five years, to the West. The unknown land and the Native Americans she met there helped her find her purpose in life. After a very public meltdown, before performing her debut with the New York Philharmonic Symphony as an emerging concert pianist, her future had become unknown. At the turn of the century, young women were told to meet the right man and become a good wife. Natalie wanted instead to be independent and support herself.
She had been in a very foggy dark place for too long and the trip to the West allowed her to hear the songs of the Native Americans. They stirred her heart and soul. She found a new purpose for all the schooling and practice she had done in her youth–she became an ethnomusicologist. With the support of benefactors, she published her compilation of song and story in “The Indians’ Book” where she listed herself as editor, giving credit for all the stories and songs to the Native Americans who had shared with her.
Jane Kirkpatrick has written stories of many other women who had the courage to walk their own path and succeed. Natalie’s story particularly struck a chord for me as I am digging deeper and deeper into the details of my great-grandfather’s story at the turn of the 20th century. I now am inspired to let myself just dive into the project and trust that I can complete this complicated task like she did.
I hope you know of Jane Kirkpatrick and the stories she is sharing of people not found in the history books we read as children. If you want to know others that I have particularly enjoyed, let me know and I’m happy to talk about them.
NW Portland mansion by famous architect is being sold for the first time in 32 years. Value vaults from $165,000 to $2.6 millionRead Now
This article was posted in the Oregonian last month on May 22, 2021. This home has always appealed to me and now I know why. The windows are large in all the rooms. There is so much sunlight in the home that it is amazing. I was able to get a tour before the Open House occurred and it was such a treat to see the interior after dreaming about being in this home for 40 years. Connie
By Janet Eastman | The Oregonian/OregonLive
Portland real estate has always been a rollercoaster. Consider this example: A large Dutch Colonial house in the Northwest District was built for $14,060 in 1909, during a housing boom.
The property sold for $165,000 in 1989, again when the market peaked before plunging in a recession. And now, the two-story dwelling on a prominent corner lot across from Wallace Park is for sale at $2.6 million. Granted, this well-maintained, historic house with almost 5,000 square feet of living space is special.
It was designed by architect Emil Schacht, who famously introduced Portland residents and visitors to the then cutting-edge Craftsman house. The style proliferated during the city’s first housing and population boom around the 1905 Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition.
A year after Schacht’s Dutch Colonial home was completed, it was deemed “handsome” and “modern” when featured in a 1910 issue of Northwest Architect magazine. The Colonial Revival exterior showcases a large porch on rock-faced Tenino bluestone with a ceiling of tongue-and-groove fir supported by four massive columns.
Schacht’s interior reflects his appreciation of the Arts and Crafts aesthetic of beautiful, light-filled, highly livable spaces. The well-preserved home has mahogany ceiling beams, built-in cabinetry, tiled hearths and art glass windows.
“The original grandeur is superbly intact and blended with modern upgrades,” said Karoline Ashley of RE/MAX Equity Group about the property at 1331 N.W. 25th Ave. that she listed for sale on Wednesday, May 19.
Just look at the basement. The space once was used to store fruit, wash laundry and fuel the steam heat boiler. It’s now a studio apartment with a full bathroom and a separate entrance from the outside that can serve as an in-law suite, entertainment room or rental.
Ashley said the 112-year-old house has a timeless design that benefits people who are downsizing or housing multi-generations. She added that its location supports wide-ranging interests, from hopping on a streetcar, to walking to restaurants and shops, or hiking on nature trails in Forest Park.
She is holding an open house that adheres to COVID-19 safety protocols from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, May 22.
Potential buyers will hear that whether it’s 1909 or 2021, people’s home goals can be satisfied here. Ashley points out top buying trends:
The fascinating story
The original homeowner was Christine Becker, a widow who invested in real estate, drove a Buick luxury touring car and lived in the house with her son Rudolph Jr., daughter Sophia and son-in-law Claude D. Smith, an insurance, real estate and mortgage broker and president of the Morgan & Smith Agency.
Becker’s late husband, Rudolph Becker, was a milliner who may have lost his business in the 1871 Chicago fire and came to Portland to start over with a millinery store on 1st Avenue. He died in 1906. The widow paid $7,500 for the lot in 1908 and hired Emil Schacht and Son to design her residence.
Both of the Beckers and Schacht immigrated from Germany. Little else is known about Christine Becker, except she died in 1916 at her son’s home and her daughter and son-in-law moved away and sold her property in 1923.
The Christine Becker House earned a spot on the National Register of Historic Places for its elegant and intact interior detailing and as an “outstanding” example of the more than 100 houses Schacht designed in the Arts and Crafts and Colonial Revival styles.
Over his 42-year career, Schacht was influential, designing warehouses, theaters and office and public buildings. He also helped to introduce the East Coast idea of luxury multifamily living to Portland with upscale “apartment houses.”
Fast forward: The rare Dutch Colonial designed by Schacht in Northwest Portland was purchased by the current owner in 1989 who has since carefully maintained its original features.
Signature Schacht features
Still visible on the Tenino bluestone chimney is an ornamental “S,” signaling this is a Schacht-designed building.
Schacht’s great-granddaughter, writer Connie Shipley, said she has only seen one other of his designs that has the initial of his last name on the chimney: The 1909 John A. Veness House, which is less than a mile away and is included in the Alphabet Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places.
Real estate agent Ashley said the owner fell in love with the Dutch Colonial home the instant she stepped into the foyer and saw natural light streaming down from the top of the staircase. Each oak step is decorated with a scroll form and leads to a landing that curves around the stairwell opening. A door from the landing opens to the summer sleeping porch off the stairwell.
The living room and entry hall are painted the original eggshell white enamel while the dining room has South American mahogany beamed ceilings and panel wainscoting, according to historic documents. The den has Eastern white oak and French doors that open to a north-facing porch.
The four bedrooms have oak floors and most had embellished brass pushbuttons that activated the servant’s bell in the kitchen.
The 255-square-foot master bedroom has a six-foot-long window seat built in under the sill of the front dormers and a walk-in closet. The master bathroom has contemporary tile, a glass-enclosed shower and double sinks.
“The home is beautiful,” said Shipley, who joined Emil Schacht experts, Jim Heuer and Robert Mercer, on a tour of the home on May 19. “Changes to the master bathroom and closet are very tasteful,” she said, “and the upgraded kitchen is very respectful in design.”
Still in place: the butler’s pantry with the original copper sink.
See more homes for sale in the 97210 zip code
— Janet Eastman | email@example.com
In researching Cachot Therkelsen, who donated a collection of Emil Schacht drawings to the University of Oregon Design Library, I took a slight detour to find all I could about his father L.W. Therkelsen. I admire his commitment to serve on the Portland School Board and Water Commission as a volunteer. His wife was a doctor in San Francisco so it was a change in her life when she moved to Portland permanently, giving up her medical practice and starting a new career as a real estate investor, taking over for her husband.
L.W. Therkelsen 1842-1910
Lauritz Walsoe Therkelsen (L.W.) was born in Denmark in 1842, just east of Copenhagen. His educational opportunities were limited, and at an early age he learned the carpenter trade. He came to the United States when he was 18 years old and landed in San Francisco in 1861. After 10 years spent in contracting work in California, he came to Portland in 1873 and began advertising as a carpenter in the Oregonian newspaper almost daily. He soon gained a reputation as a builder. Among the buildings constructed by L.W. were: Trinity Church, the Bank of British Columbia, First National Bank, Bishop Scott Grammar School, United States Government building at Vancouver, woolen factory at Oregon City, Continental block and a part of the Union block, besides hundreds of residences.
In 1874, L.W. received a contract with the Water committee and was named to the Water Committee on which he served almost two decades. In 1875 he was elected the Vice-President of the Scandinavian Society and in 1877 he became a Harmony Masonic Lodge No. 12 officer.
By 1880 he was named to the Portland School Board on which he served for thirteen years. In April 1884 he was nominated and elected to the Oregon State House of Representatives.
In May 1886 he attended the organizing convention of lumbermen who could produce 350,000 feet of lumber per day and joined the permanent organizing committee that eventually formed the North Pacific Lumber Co. In December 1886 he was elected vice-president and manager of the North Pacific Lumber & Mfg. Co. In 1891, he made an extended trip to Europe with his family where he studied drying equipment. With the addition of the drying kilns, he advanced the company’s development rapidly, and under his direction grew it until it reached an average of $500,000 a year.
Besides his North Pacific Lumber Co. business and civic commitments, L.W. had other interests in which he was active. He invested heavily in real estate and listed himself as a landlord in the 1900 directory.
He and his first wife, Margaret (Maggie) Linden Griffin Therkelsen, had two children, Francis (Fannie) and Lawrence E. before her passing at the age of 41 while she was in San Diego, CA in 1892. Later that same year, L.W. then married Mary Agnes Cachot, physician, businesswoman, and later a suffragist, whom he had met while living in San Francisco. They had four children, Catherine, Cachot, Mary and Hazel.
The family had a cabin at Seaside and spent many summers there, being part of the social scene and getting listed in the Oregonian Society section many times. The second Mrs. L.W. entertained Mrs. Duniway at their cabin. In the August 9, 1896 Oregonian L.W. even made the Society page having a taffy pulling contest with Mr. Ed Sterns until 3:00 am. He was very competitive in the game of Whist and entered competitions as far away as Seattle. He competed in horse trotting races and later helped set up the Portland Auto Club, the Oregon Auto Club, and the first Auto Show with Will Lipman in 1909.
Mrs. L.W. Therkelsen joined him in driving cars and was listed in the Sept. 6, 1908 Oregonian under the headline of being an expert auto driver. L.W. passed away at the age of 68 on Nov. 16. 1910 after an illness. After his passing, Mrs. L.W. Therkelsen chaired the publicity department of the Oregon State Equal Suffrage Central Campaign Committee for the successful 1912 campaign, and was a board member of the Portland Equal Suffrage League and College Equal Suffrage League of Portland. She raised a lot of money for the suffrage cause with all her business connections. She had the honor of being on the first court jury of all women (that ended up in a hung jury). While she did not practice medicine in Portland, she was involved in enterprises that supported women and was a long-time member of the Portland Woman’s Club. Besides her civic duties, she was a businesswoman involved in real estate transactions. In later years she maintained the family estate and traveled with family members. She died in Portland in 1937.
A resource to create more interesting family histories
with resources to find missing family members
and give historical context to the family’s story!
Portland, Oregon has a library you want to check out and take advantage of – the Genealogical Forum of Oregon, the largest genealogical library in the Pacific Northwest.
In 2014, I began a Personal Historian business. Gerry Lenzen, whom I knew through our mutual involvement in the Portland State Athletic Department Booster program, suggested that I meet with his wife, Connie Lenzen, for advice. We met at the Ford Building at the corner of SE 11th and Division, where the Genealogical Forum of Oregon is nestled in the basement. After a coffee in the café on the main floor where she gave me some very sound advice on setting up my business, she took me down to the library and gave me a tour. I was amazed at the collection of research books, family histories and books of historical context of Oregon and beyond. In the front of the area are several computer stations where people can access the on-line data bases for research, then there are the “library stacks” of books for reference. In the back is the meeting area for the Interest Groups and classes to be held, with the map library nearby. Different treasures are tucked in corners, along with some work spaces for big projects being worked on by the volunteers.
One group of volunteers have taken on the project of scanning family records that are brought to them and cataloging them for future historical research. This helps the information be saved and available to a wider audience for future projects, without the organization outgrowing the location too quickly. Another group produces the Bulletin of the Genealogical Forum of Oregon, a quarterly, historical journal with articles written by members that include memoirs and personal essays, problem-solving techniques, travel, how-to pieces and using technology. It also includes book reviews and posts from blogs in the industry.
The primary purpose of the organization is to educate, to record, and to preserve genealogical and historical records and information. The objectives are to create an interest in genealogy, to instruct in research, and to share, compile, and publish genealogical and historical materials. They take their purpose very seriously and I appreciate all they have shared with me.
The 501(c)3 non-profit organization is completely run by volunteers. I can attest to the volunteers’ commitment to help visitors locate the best way to find the research tools they can use for their project. Every time I have gone to the library, I was greeted by a volunteer who inquired what I was looking for, helped me get started, and then would check in on me to make sure I was doing okay.
The GFO Research Library has more than 52,000 holdings for all of the United States and many locations around the world, with particular strengths in the Pacific Northwest, Virginia, and French Canada. Surprisingly, the extensive Oregon section is only about fifteen percent of the collection. I originally found the GFO library to research my father’s father in the collection of Portland City Directories. Now I am looking in the Directories for the home owners’ addresses of the buildings my father’s paternal grandfather designed. A long time ago I went to the Oregon Historical Society to do my research in the Directories, but now I go here. With the complete Portland City Directory collection at this facility it feels more accessible to me and I appreciate the social environment of encouragement and bravos being freely distributed.
The GFO is a membership organization. Member benefits include unlimited access to the library and GFO resources during open hours. The day use fee for non-members is $7, except for the first Monday on the month when guests can visit the GFO for free (after the pandemic closure ends). During the pandemic, GFO members have received online access to Ancestry, Fold3, HistoryGeo, and American Ancestors from home. Members are also able to request unlimited free lookups in the library and personal research assistance during the pandemic closure. The GFO has even begun to make some of the library holdings available digitally online. Free study groups and classes are still being given through Zoom meetings. I enjoy going to a once-a-month writing group meeting and have recently joined a German Interest Group. It has really been interesting to hear what the other members have written, some after extensive research, and the rich feedback they’ve given me on the pieces I’ve read to them.
As told on the organization’s website, “the Genealogical Forum of Oregon was founded by three members of the Daughters of the American Revolution in 1946 for the purpose of promoting genealogical research through education and providing tools, assistance, and offering expertise to its members. In 2011, the GFO moved to its present location in the historic Ford Building at Southeast Eleventh Avenue and Division Street. To learn the rich history of the group go to https://gfo.org/who-we-are/mission.html.
I encourage anyone reading this article to check out the Genealogical Forum of Oregon. I have mentioned only a small part of what happens in this organization. We are celebrating our 75th Anniversary, and a Virtual Open House (https://gfo.org/learn/open-house.html) will be held from March 27 through April 23. This virtual tour is a great way to check out the organization and get a sampling of the education they offer. Plans are being formulated on how to re-open the facility in a safe way so people will be able to actually research in the space. Go to www.gfo.org and find out more about this vibrant organization and future updates on when it will once again be open to people being there in person.
Connie Shipley, Capturing Your Life Stories
At a recent Personal Historians NW meeting, there was a passionate discussion about how this COVID-19 stay-at-home experience gives people time to get their stories organized for their grandchildren like wouldn't happen in the old reality that we lived in. One member, who has a digitizing of old photos and movies business, said he was experiencing a request for his services greater than his usual Christmas rush. A decision was made to work on getting an article in a newspaper promoting a call to action for people to work on their personal stories. I made different inquiries to Pamplin Media and within a couple of weeks the attached article was printed in the Portland Tribune (and others) paper edition on June 10, 2020 and the digital edition on June 11, 2020.
In August I was invited by Veronica Esagui, author and chiropractor, to have a booth at the West Linn Book Fair. This was the first book fair that I participated in and it was a great experience. Karen Sorbel, videographer, taped presentations by different authors through the day in the Gentle Care Chiropractic office.
Realizing that writing a personal or family history can look like a daunting project and one that can be easily put off, I have put a lot of thought into how to talk about the process with potential clients. I want people to see that the benefits and results of this project are worth the leap of faith to get it started. My presentation here explains thow doing some thought provoking preliminary work, the project can be accomplished more efficiently and be more fun…let’s have fun instead of “work” at it.
You can view my presentation here:
If you would be interested in getting a workbook to get your thoughts together on what you’d like to save for your family, please visit my store. Here you can select from options for the Right Handed Writer or Left Handed Writer.
I appreciate any feedback you’d like to share with me about the thoughts I talked about in the video. If you have other suggestions on how people can get themselves started on this type of project I’d love to hear from you.
~ Connie Shipley
Intrigued to hear someone speak on the future of reading, writing, and thinking, I took up my husbands’ offer to send me to the One Day University hosted by the Oregonian Media Group here in Portland on Saturday February 28th.
Distinguished Professor of Literature at the University of California at San Diego, Prof. Seth Lerer walked us through a short history of the English Language including Old English, Middle English (Chaucer), Modern English (Shakespeare) and American English, with readings from each of the periods – intriguing and entertaining! It was fascinating to hear how “American English” started evolving away from “British English” the minute the colonists landed on our shores, and with the colonists geographically so far apart from each, different regional accents emerged.
Prof. Lerer quoted Noah Webster, in his introduction for ‘A Compendious Dictionary of the English Language’, the first true American Dictionary (1806). Webster stated that “American English language should reflect America – unique and exceptional as the continent”. I wasn’t able to write down all of the introduction read by Prof. Lerer, but Webster also was quoted saying that “American English can’t be regulated, just like the Mississippi River”. What a poetic and thoughtful reflection by Webster. His introduction is so relevant for current discussions about the English language. We can thank Webster for simplifying so many of the English words so they are easier to spell such as “honour” to “honor”, “potatoe” to “potato”.
It was really in the question and answer period that the future of reading, writing and thinking was addressed. Prof. Lerer worked to be as optimistic as possible, saying the language is an always-evolving object, as he had just shown us by taking us through the previous versions throughout the years, but he had to admit that he is not looking forward to having people publish their memoirs in a Tweet. He forecast that there will be many different English’s incorporating words from more distant languages as new, different cultures come to live in America. Reading is evolving from paper to digital, correspondence from a personal letter to a public exchange of information in Social Media and with what content? When one thinks about how the exchange of information has changed in our lifetimes, it can boggle one’s mind to look too far forward.
In researching Professor Lerer, I found that he has published some books, all of which received great reviews, that you may enjoy reading:
‘Inventing English, A Portable History of the Language’, for which he received an Honorable Mention—PSP Awards for Excellence in Literature, Language and Linguistics, Association of American Publishers
‘Prospero's Son - Life, Books, Love, and Theater’
‘Children’s Literature: A Reader’s History, from Aesop to Harry Potter’
Prof. Lerer gave a fascinating presentation, as did the other three presenters at the One Day University and I encourage you to attend the next one coming to Portland, Oregon on September 19, 2015.
For centuries histories have been passing down from one generation to the next through verbal stories. I have been told that the Plains Indians had a bison robe on which they would paint a symbol to represent an important happening. After many years and many symbols this became a very precious robe. The leaders would share the stories to the next generations, with the robe reminding them of the stories they had been told to safe keep.
Charles Morrissey, while studying for his Master's Degree at Berkeley in 1956 did research on Charles Beard, a noted historian, and wanted to write a biography of him and wasn't able to pursue it because Mr. Beard's papers were not saved. It made Charles Morrissey realize that without the written record of a person's life history is lost.
Charles Morrissey graduated from Dartmouth University with a degree in History, although in an interview he shared that he really majored in good teachers. Through a series of introductions made from colleagues there and Berkeley where he got his Masters degree, and historical circumstances, Charles created his own position as the first self employed Oral Historian in the United States. He has had many high points in his career, including writing the History of Vermont, A Bi-Centennial History, with transcriptions of interviews with Governor George D. Aiken, and the Ford Foundation Oral History project.
Charles was one of the founders of the Oral History Association and has been educating on the appropriate methods of Oral History throughout his career. He teaches the "how to do it" classes at schools throughout the country, including Portland State University since 1979. He is an inspiration to all within the Oral History/Personal History industry.
I had a similar experience of lost history with my paternal great grandfather, Emil Schacht, who was one of the first architects in Portland, Oregon. Fortunately his construction drawings were gifted to the University of Oregon library and an inventory of all the homes and commercial buildings in that collection was made. When asked by two historians researching Emil's impact on architecture in Portland I was, sadly, unable to provide any papers from his architectural firm or personal life. Several people have researched the homes and structures he designed and an inventory has been published. Now I am working to save other family's stories for future generations.
I am sharing information about good work done in the field of Personal Histories. There is an outstanding series of personal portraits at the Metropolitan Museum of Art that illustrate how the stories of ordinary people can be extraordinary, https://lnkd.in/b2TPasr The series, Forty Portraits in Forty Years, which has been shown around the world over the past four decades, will be on view at the Museum of Modern Art, coinciding with the museum’s publication of the book “The Brown Sisters: Forty Years” in November.
Nicholas Nixon started taking pictures of four sisters in 1975 and ended up marrying one of them and taking pictures of them annually. Nicholas shared that over the years they have grown closer to him and they are more comfortable in front of the camera, even determining how they will pose more recently. What intrigues me about these pictures is a gnawing curiosity to hear the stories of their lives as they have moved gracefully into their golden years. I would love to know what adventures they've enjoyed, and what challenges they’ve overcome in all those years"
Three years after Nixon started his project, I took my first Oral History from my grandfather because he was repeating his story at every family gathering to the point of distraction for everyone and his own inner distress that he may be forgotten. Being my first project and not equipped with a proper transcription machine it was a challenge to transcribe his stories from tape recordings to paper. The smile on his face when I handed him his “book” was worth all the effort we had both put into the project together. I treasure those hours we spent and the special bond we developed to create his treasure.
I was hooked on the process and have been doing Oral Histories ever since. My project became a passion and developed it into a business If you know someone with stories to save for posterity, or who might want to share the stories of their own beautiful photos, please encourage them to connect with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Best wishes for a great 2015!
Connie Shipley Personal Historian cjshipley, LLC