Portland’s 1905 World’s Fair

September 6, 2017


Drawing of the 1905 Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition on view in Pittock Mansion’s West Dressing Room. Click for larger view.


In the late 1800s and early 1900s, cities across the globe hosted elaborate “world’s fairs” to promote progress and showcase the industrial might, products, arts, and culture of their region and the world. In 1905, Portland held its own world’s fair, the Lewis & Clark Centennial Exposition–named in honor of the 100th anniversary of Lewis and Clark’s arrival in Oregon–to promote Portland to potential residents and businesses. The Exposition ran June through October and attracted 1.5 million visitors­–a huge number, considering Portland’s population was about 120,000 at the time.


Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition Grand Opening. Photo courtesy of the Morning Oregonian.


The full name of the Exposition was the “Lewis and Clark Centennial and American Pacific Exposition and Oriental Fair,” emphasizing Portland’s proximity to Asia and its wonders. In addition to exhibits from Japan, China, and India, European countries like Italy and France participated, as well as states from Oregon to Maine. Other exhibits highlighting advancements in agriculture, technology, and the arts educated visitors, while blimps, hot air balloon rides, “moving picture shows,” trained animals, and performances entertained them.


Left: Dancers from Kiralfy’s Carnival of Venice at the Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition. Photo courtesy of University of Washington Libraries. Right: A crowd marvels at a blimp. Photo courtesy of The Morning Oregonian.


Pittock Mansion overlooks the former Exposition site along the Willamette River in Northwest Portland. Exhibition organizers built grand-looking but temporary buildings around Guild’s Lake and on an artificial peninsula. After the Exposition, developers tore down most of the buildings and filled in Guild’s Lake. The area first became a railroad switching yard, then wartime housing, and in the 1950s, became the industrial district we know today.


The Foreign Exhibits Building. Photo courtesy of the Official Catalogue of the Lewis and Clark Centennial and American Pacific Exposition and Oriental Fair.


A handful of the Exposition’s buildings survived. The Fairmount Hotel still stands at its original location, while the American Inn was relocated closer to downtown. The National Cash Register Building was moved to the St. Johns neighborhood in North Portland and is now the McMenamins St. Johns Theater and Pub. The Forestry Building, dubbed “the world’s largest log cabin,” was a showcase for the timber industry until it burned down in 1964, leading to the construction of the World Forestry Center in Washington Park.


Left: The Forestry Building exterior. Photo courtesy of the City of Portland Archives. Right: Forestry Building interior during the Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition. Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress.


Captivated by the Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition? Check out our current exhibit, Untold Stories of Pittock Mansion Treasures, which includes souvenirs from the Exposition such as fair albums, postcards, drinking glass, plate, and commemorative medal.


Souvenirs from the Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition on view in our Untold Stories of Pittock Mansion Treasures exhibit.


Henry’s 1910 Letter from Europe

August 1, 2017

Henry’s handwritten letter to Georgiana and a photo of Henry in the Netherlands later on the same trip.

Henry Pittock was an avid traveler, visiting regional destinations like San Francisco and more exotic ones like Hawaii and Mexico. In 1910, Henry traveled to Europe, stopping in Switzerland, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, and England. Throughout his trip, Henry wrote his wife, Georgiana, vivid letters about his travels. This one from August 24, 1910, describes his visit to Switzerland:

Regina Hotel Jungfraublick

August 24, 1910

Dear Wife,

When I closed my letter at Lucerne John was hurrying me to a Sunday excursion on the Lake. We went on board one of the many pretty and swift excursion boats at 9 o’clock and were soon under way. The peaks rise up on every side of the lake, some sharp and high, and some partially covered with snow. On Rigi we could see a hotel and there is a railway to it, but for want of time we shall not go to it. Everywhere where the hills are not too steep there are cottages and hotels. The lower hills are wooded—mostly fir—while the mountains are rocky and bare. Almost two thirds the way we stopped for lunch, and then took carriage to see the roadway cut under arching rock and through tunnels.

William Tell’s Chapel circa 1890-1900. Photo courtesy of the United States Library of Congress.

On the way passed William Tell’s Chapel and the scene of the well-known apple story and his troubles with Gessler. At Fluelen—the end of the Lake (28 miles) we again took the boat for the return trip. Immediately on our return we went to see the Lion of Lucerne. This is the life size figure of a lion carved in the face of a cliff in the center of the city to commemorate the overthrow of the Swiss Republic by Napoleon and represents a lion wounded to death defending the coat of arms—a shield bearing a square cross. It is a fine piece of carving. Below is a clear pond stocked with gold and other fish and a small park surrounds it. I forgot to mention that in coming down the lake we passed a natural stone column rising from the water eighty feet on which was a long inscription by Schiller to the memory of William Tell in gilt. The boat went by so fast I did not have time to read it.

Lion of Lucerne circa 1890-1900. Photo courtesy of the United States Library of Congress.

Sunday night it stormed hard, and our trip to the glacier which is the source of the Rhone was not a pleasant one on Monday. Showers fell every little while, and the mountains were hidden by the clouds. Our route was by train almost to the mouth of St Gotthard tunnel, which you know penetrates the Alps to Italy. We left it at Goeschan [sic Goschenen], but in that distance had made two loops entirely under ground in the solid rock. From Goschan [sic Goschenen] we took a carriage and at night stopped at one of the many wayside hotels called F___(?). Notwithstanding the showers and clouds it was surprising to see how many sight-seers were plodding along on foot—men, women and children—some in raincoats, some with umbrellas, and many without either, but all seemed to enjoy it. Early on Tuesday morning we came to the glacier—close to the road it is a fine one, but insignificant when compared with Muir. It was the first one John had ever seen, so we spent some time there. He went over it about a mile, while I picked edelweiss and flowers near the edge. In my light shoes I could not continue far on the ice. The clouds now cleared away and we had a pleasant drive down the glacial stream and over the next mountain.

Historic photo of Sigmund-Thun-Gorge. Photo courtesy of Kaprun Museum.

We lunched at Handeck Falls, where the river Aare makes a tremendous plunge into a narrow and deep gorge and seemed to disappear. Following down the rather pretty valley our driver stopped before a curiosity shop in a garden, on the door of which was a poster “Entree 1 fr.” We asked an explanation, and was [sic] told half in English and French, that our driver wanted us to go through a gorge while he drove over the mountain. Well, it was worth the frank [sic] for we walked for a mile through a fissure in the mountain sometimes twenty feet wide and sometimes less than half that, and except in some short tunnels we did not put our feet on ground. A board walk about three feet wide was built the whole and bolted into the stone walls and under this the river swept in a torrent. The walls must be 2000 feet high. At the sortie was a shop containing some of the finest wood carving I have ever seen. Two companion pieces—mountaineers—took my fancy and should have purchased if my purse was not so light. They were 500 francs.

Jungfrau and Jungfraublick Hotel circa 1890-1900. Photo courtesy of the United States Library of Congress.

Our carriage having come we were soon at M___(?) where at 7pm. we took a train for Interlaken. The train however did not take us far but transferred us to a boat on Brienz Lake. It was now dark, but we were told this lake was connected with Thun Lake by the river Aare, and at the end of this lake was the town of Interlaken (10 miles) where we stopped for the night at the Hotel Regina. This morning we took the train for Jungfrau and though the distance is not great (we could see the mountain from the hotel) it took us a long time to reach it, the cog wheel engines being so slow. We had been told we could go to the summit by train and elevator, but found the work not finished. The train took us up almost 11000 feet to Eismeer Station. A great distance is in a tunnel cut in solid rock, and at different places lateral tunnels are cut so that you can look out. At the last station a large room is cut out for an eating house. All is lighted by electricity. I have mailed you a printed description, so shall not say more now. To-morrow we go back to Lucerne, and at once take train for Cologne. Our aim is to go by Rotterdam and Amsterdam and take steamer for London to reach there by Sept 1st. It may be that John will be obligated to go to Brussels again but hopes not. I have requested Mr. Geernicks to forward my mail to Amsterdam, and hope to get papers covering dates giving particulars of Mr. Scotts [sic] death. I received at Lucerne all the dates to Aug 5.



Pittock Mansion seeks Full-Time Development Director

July 14, 2017

Title: Development Director
Reports to: Executive Director
Direct Reports: 0.6 FTE (new position to be hired by the DD)
Salary: $63,000-$68,000. Pittock Mansion offers an excellent benefits package including Health, Dental, PTO, EAP, and retirement plan.
Type: Full-time/exempt
Mission Statement: To inspire understanding and stewardship of Portland history through Pittock Mansion, its collections, and programs.

In 1964, Pittock Mansion, one of Oregon’s most important historic homes, was going to be torn down and replaced by a subdivision. When Portlanders got wind of the plan they launched a grassroots campaign to save Pittock Mansion, and they succeeded. Repairs took 15 months and on June 4, 1965, a restored Pittock Mansion opened to the public. Having recently completed a public survey that informed improvements to the experience of visiting, we have become one of Portland’s premiere sights for residents and tourists alike. In recent years, we’ve gone from welcoming 72,000 visitors to over 110,000 visitors.

With 90% of revenue coming from admissions and the museum store, we are ready to take the leap from a membership program with hundreds of donors to a multi-faceted development program. If you are a builder with experience designing and executing successful annual fund campaigns, major donor programs, membership programs, grant strategies, and corporate sponsorship programs, we are eager to meet you. Bonus points if you have experience with planned giving and optimizing donor software. This is an exciting time of growth and evolution for Pittock Mansion, and a unique opportunity to start and grow a development department at a well-resourced organization.


  • Model a culture of collaboration, abundance, and gratitude with internal and external partners and supporters
  • Create, implement, and institutionalize a major donor program, corporate sponsorship program, planned giving program, and foundation grant strategy to strengthen and diversify organizational funding
  • Refine and grow membership and annual giving programs
  • Manage Corporate Membership program including occasional after-hours events
  • Evaluate program effectiveness and revise and adapt for continual improvements
  • Coach, encourage, and support Development Committee, Board of Directors, key staff, and volunteers in fundraising activities
  • Engage board and staff by orchestrating cultivation, stewardship, and requests for support from corporate, foundation, and individual donors
  • Supervise a .6 FTE Development Associate
  • Collaborate with marketing on the design and production of fundraising materials and communications
  • Liaise with the Development Committee and Board of Directors reporting on development activities and progress
  • Create innovative fundraising campaigns
  • Create and manage the Development Department revenue and expense budget
  • Maximize efficiency of fundraising and constituent relationship management software


  • A passion for history, culture, and preservation
  • Five years of high-level nonprofit development experience
  • BA, CFRE, or commensurate experience
  • Exceptional organizational, and managerial skills in an evolving environment
  • Demonstrated success managing and motivating staff and volunteers, fostering a positive work environment, and modeling best practices
  • A record of asking for and securing stretch gifts
  • A persuasive story teller, both written and oral
  • Ability to understand interdepartmental connectedness and foster a collaborative work environment
  • Consistent ability to take ideas from vision to implementation
  • CRM and fundraising software expertise
  • Able to work weekends, holidays, and special events as necessary

Qualified candidate must complete background check prior to offer of employment.

Please submit your resume, cover letter, and three references (including a reference from someone you have supervised if available) to jobs@pittockmansion.org with Development Director in the subject line. Thank you for taking the time to explore possibilities with us!

Pittock Mansion seeks Part-Time Visitor Services Representative

July 14, 2017

POSITION: Part-Time Visitor Services Representative
REPORTS TO: Associate Director
COMPENSATION: $13.80 per hour

Pittock Mansion is a house of historical significance and visual magnificence, offering a uniquely personal opportunity to peek into the past. Attracting over 100,000 visitors in the past year, Pittock Mansion is one of the top destinations in Oregon, and the perfect place to experience the story of Portland. We are seeking a Part-Time Visitor Services Representative to join our dynamic frontline team. If you enjoy working with the public and want to gain professional experience at a premier historic house museum, then we are interested in meeting you.


  • Providing professional-level customer service to visitors, members, volunteers, and staff
  • Dedication to creating a positive and educational experience for visitors in line with the Mansion’s mission
  • Accurate processing of admissions, memberships, and store sales
  • Process reservations for tours and evening events in addition to daily tracking of tour schedule
  • Perform all opening and closing duties as assigned, including securing all buildings and deactivating and activating alarms
  • Light cleaning and maintenance of both museum and public areas
  • Enforce Mansion policies and respond to visitors’ needs (e.g., operate the elevator)
  • Carry out other duties as assigned


  • High level of customer service and ability to interact with public, staff, and volunteers as a team member
  • Professional manner and appearance
  • Strong communication skills and attention to detail
  • Cash handling experience, preferably in a fast-paced environment
  • Ability to work weekends and occasional evenings
  • Dependable transportation
  • Ability to lift 30 lbs
  • Familiarity and understanding of Point of Sale systems and Microsoft Office programs especially Outlook and Excel

Qualified candidate must complete background check prior to offer of employment.

Please submit cover letter and résumé to jobs@pittockmansion.org. No phone calls, please.

Free Shuttle from W Burnside & NW Barnes Bus Stop

July 11, 2017

July 21 – Labor Day, take the FREE shuttle from the Trimet #20 bus* stop at W Burnside and NW Barnes (stop ID #687) to Pittock Mansion!

Shuttle pick-up and drop off is located at the gravel turnout at W Burnside and NW Barnes.

Shuttle runs every 30 minutes from 10am -5pm and is provided by a 12-passenger van marked with a sign identifying it as the shuttle to Pittock Mansion.

*Note: Some #20 buses end service before Pittock Mansion’s stop. Be sure the bus’s electronic sign says “to Beaverton TC” or ask the driver.

Please note shuttle vans are not wheelchair accessible. (TriMet offers some door-to-door neighborhood shuttle service through their Ride Connection program. Find out more at http://trimet.org/access/index.htm) Shuttle vans may have extra cargo space for strollers, but do not have children’s seats for transportation.

Shuttle is provided thanks to a partnership with America’s HUB World Tours.

hub logo


Sept. 5 – Dec. 31 10am – 4pm Daily
Nov. 17 – 19 CLOSED
Thanksgiving Day CLOSED
Christmas Day CLOSED
January CLOSED
Feb. – May 10am – 4pm Daily
June – Labor Day 10am – 5pm Daily



Members FREE
Adults $10.00
Seniors (65+) $9.00
Youth (ages 6–18) $7.00
Children under 6 FREE

Want to learn more about Pittock Mansion?

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