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10 pieces of history in Portland, OR

Explore Portland’s past and discover your new go-to story to share with friends and visitors.

A modern, pale-colored room with two stone sarcophagi.

Within the exclusive crypt at Wilhelm’s Portland Memorial lie the entombed remains of a lumber baron and his wife.

Calling all history buffs. We rounded up 10 of our favorite history articles at PDXtoday — from iconic spots to local teams. It’s time to unwind while we rewind through Portland’s past.

  • International Rose Test Garden | The roots of this beloved space are intertwined with World War I.
  • Rae Room tomb | The century-old final resting place of some Portland VIPs opens to the public once a year on Memorial Day.
  • The Vesterlide sinks a steamboat | The events of March 31, 1917, took an abrupt turn for the worst.
  • Cast-iron buildings | Examples of a once-popular style of architecture were once plentiful in the City of Roses.
  • Waterfront cherry trees | Stunning in spring, these 100 trees commemorate the incarceration of Japanese and Japanese Americans during World War II.
  • The Lewis and Clark Exposition | Palatial-but-short-lived buildings were constructed for Portland’s first and only world’s fair, which drew more than 1.5 million visitors.
  • Illuminated martini glass | The holiday season isn’t officially underway until this sign lights up the West Hills.
  • Buried Civil War-era gold | X marks the spot — but no one has been able to figure out where “X” is.
  • Shanghai Tunnels | Seedy tales from the past are connected to the silent catacombs beneath the streets of Old Town Chinatown.
  • Portlandia statue | Portland’s patron “Copper Goddess” is the second-largest copper repoussĂ© statue in the US.

Know a local history topic we should dive into next? Get in touch with us.