Saturday, October 5, 2019

Edward Quackenbush - Successful Financier and Community Leader, Portland, Oregon

Edward Quackenbush was a successful financier and community leader in Portland, Oregon during the second half of the 1800's, but in his youth he lived an exciting and varied life. Edward arrived in Portland as a well-educated New Yorker, who studied political history, composition, philosophy, English, and advanced math before dropping out of school at the age of 15. Before Portland he lived in Iowa with his brother Alfred and campaigned for Abraham Lincoln and was a member of the Lincoln Wide Awakes, a paramilitary campaign organization affiliated with the Republican Party during the United States presidential election of 1860. With the outbreak of the Civil War, Edward tried to enlist at age 21 but was denied due to a heart condition. He worked at various times as a cowboy, cashier, and bookkeeper. He arrived in Portland in 1865, got a job as a bookkeeper and worked in the hardwood lumber business. As a young man, Edward was a member of the newly organized Portland Pioneer Base Ball Club (June 2, 1866), the first baseball team formed in the state of Oregon. During the second season (1867) the Pioneers infield had Edward playing shortstop (he also played relief catcher and pitcher). In their second game of the season the Pioneers played against the Clackamas Base Ball Club of Oregon City and defeated them 78-37. Quackenbush, Steele, Cook, DeHuff and Shepard all hitting home runs in the game. Through hard work, the right social contacts, and shrewed investment, Edward became the wise investor and community leader Portland came to know. His business interests were varied and made him quite successful. They were:

• Knapp, Burrell & Company. Sold agricultural implements.

• Ladd & Tilton Bank. The largest cast iron bank on the west coast.

• Sibson, Quackenbush and Company. A shipping, commission, insurance firm, and investments company.

• Oregon Steam Navigation Company. Steamships that ran between San Francisco, Portland, and Seattle.

• Oregon Railway & Navigation Company (OR&N). It was was a railroad that operated a rail network of 1,143 miles (1,839 km) of track running east from Portland to northeastern Oregon, northeastern Washington, and northern Idaho. The railroad operated from 1896 as a consolidation of several smaller railroads.

OR&N was initially operated as an independent carrier, but Union Pacific (UP) purchased a majority stake of the line in 1898. The line became a subsidiary of UP titled the Oregon–Washington Railroad and Navigation Company in 1910. In 1936, Union Pacific formally absorbed the system, which became UP's gateway to the Pacific Northwest.

• Pacific Telephone & Telegraph Company. He helped found the company.

• Board of Trade.

• Chamber of Commerce

In 1889 Edward platted (mapped a plan) a subdivision neighborhood in the north and northeast
sections of Portland called Piedmont. The Piedmont subdivision was promoted in an early flyer as "The Emerald, Portland's Evergreen Suburb, Devoted Exclusively to Dwellings, A Place of Homes." It was also touted as "The Emerald Neighborhood" because of all the evergreens in the area. The original subdivision, now known as "Historic Piedmont," includes parts of the Humboldt and King neighborhoods, as well as the modern Piedmont neighborhood south of Rosa Parks Way. Edward Quackenbush, the founder of Piedmont, also banned bars. Social Interests:

Glee Club.

• Young Men's Christian Association YMCA The Portland, Oregon YMCA was established on March 31, 1868 by EdwardQuackenbush and William Wadhams. The initial focus of the organization was Evangelical Christianity and Bible instruction with Sunday school classes, lectures, library and reading rooms being provided. After the turn of the century, the Portland branch of the organization expanded to offer a technical training school for young men as well. Edward was the first president of the Portland YMCA.

• Portland's Seamen's Friend Society. By the 1870s Portland, Oregon was an emerging seaport, with Astoria taking on the cargoes when the rivers were too low for vessels to load, or load fully in
Portland. Seaman’s Friend Chaplains were assigned to both ports: the Rev. R.S. Stubbs in Portland , and the Rev. Johnston McCormac in Astoria. In Portland a group of religious city fathers: Henry Corbett, William S. Ladd, Simeon Reed, John McCracken, Edward Quackenbush, and James Laidlaw formed a chapter of the society, with the aim of building a Bethel, and a facility with boardinghouse, dining hall, and library. The chief aim was to remove the poor sailors from the clutches of the ruthless boarding masters, Jim Turk being the major problem at the time (shanghaiier, swindler, drunkard, millionaire). The first structure, a chapel, reading room, kitchen, and chaplain’s quarters was a wood frame building on the corner of 3rd and Davis. In 1882, at the same location, the society built their vision, a building with sleeping rooms, and all the other accommodations. They christened the place the “Mariner’s Home,” and dreamed about putting the evil crimps out of business. The structure remains to this day.

• Oregon Anti-Saloon League.

Edward was notable enough that the Special Collections and University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries has a collection of correspondence belonging to him. Most of the letters are from his brother, Alfred, who was a farm implement and hardware dealer in Lewiston, Idaho. A few letters from various church officials in Oregon concern Presbyterian Church matters. Alfred Quackenbush's letters are usually on business news of opportunities, requests for supplies, or requests for credit. He seems to have had an eye for real estate opportunities as well as for implement sales.

The handstamps on the 10 and 4 cent stamps differ. See the last letters in the name Quackenbush. These stamps were likely used on equity transactions of some kind.

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