Southwest Mystery Location, circa 1890

Somewhere in Southwest Portland, circa 1890, these women and children were enjoying a snowy day. Can anyone pinpoint the location of this image?


Girls in the snow in SW Portland, circa 1890: A2004-002.1087

Girls in the snow in SW Portland, circa 1890: A2004-002.1087


View this image in Efiles by clicking here.

FOUND: SW 10th Ave. just south of Market

22 thoughts on “Southwest Mystery Location, circa 1890

  1. The snow really obscures the detail of the photo. The young ladies must all be sisters. They look so similar, almost like quadruplets.

  2. I would need an 1890 map of Portland to work on my guesses. Park blocks, either end would work. I know my husband’s grandmother was born on NW 3rd/Couch in 1888, so that area definitely had homes and is relatively flat. Map anyone?

  3. This looks like the side yard, east of the A.W. Ocobock mansion, which was on NE Holladay and 3rd. I know this picture is identified as being in SW Portland, and The Holladay Addition was in East Portland, which was unincorporated until 1891, but the terrain, tree placement, and the design of the background fence fit very well. Besides; how many times have we found a pic in the archives that turned out to be in an entirely different city, hehe. Too bad I have no pics of the house next door to the east to compare the balcony details. Here’s a link to a picture on of the Ocobock house. Notice the downward slant of the fence down the embankment.

  4. Jane, do you have a library card? You can use your library card to connect to research databases online including Sanborn Fire Map collections. There is an online Sanborn map for Portland circa 1889, among others, and you can download almost the entire city, block by block in view-able and printable PDF files. East Portland and Albina are available too.

  5. This previous post:

    shows the south parks blocks, and in the center of the picture there is a fence with the same sort of 3/4 height rail and a similar downward slant on the end, also a tree in the right position and the house on the other side of the fence seems to have a matching porch and decorative woodwork to what we see in this snow photo. But it is all very far away. If you gather your bearings from the Old Church, I think the potential photo site is ~ SW 10th and Market?

  6. They do seem to be the same girls. The fence pic Lefty links to could be a candidate, but there seems to be a tree missing close to that balcony on the house next door. Such fences were ubiquitous, then and now.

  7. @Dave Brunker: They all do look similar, but not only different days, I’d suggest different years. The youngest definitely looks a year older at least and the second youngest looks to be a bit older as well (and just to avoid confusion, if the photos are a year apart, in your lineup above the second two girls are posted older to younger, while the first one is younger to older).

    Obviously it gets harder to tell a one or two year difference the older they get. Given they that are wearing similar clothes (with only the oldest apparently able to wear the same jacket) and the youngest is posed on a sled, I’d imagine they were taking a similarly posed photo to put alongside their earlier family snow photo.

  8. If the two similar looking homes behind them were constructed between 1882-1890 on the NE corner of 10Th and Market. Then I think “Lefty” is right. The fast growing trees and the rest of the rooflines all add up to them standing on the west side of 10th between Market and Mill.

  9. I did some research last night and reached the same conclusion. I’m fairly confident that this is the Joseph S. Keller house at 10th and Market. The address was 402 Market and then later 343 10th Street.

    I believe the woman pictured is his daughter-in-law, Anna Keller, her three sisters and their children.

    You can see the house in this 1883 I.G. Davidson panorama:

    Here’s a detail of the house:

    You can see that it’s the exact same fence shown in the background of this photo. Note the slope at the end and the placement of the reinforcement beam.

    The buildings behind them have not yet been constructed in the Davidson photo, but you can see them in this photo taken later in 1905:,CgIhfL5,abcfJq3#2

    Here’s the 1908-09 Sanborn maps which reflect the buildings seen in the above photo:

  10. Joseph Sebastian Keller was born in Aut Wertheime, Baden, Germany in 1834. He began operating a butchers shop at First and Madison Streets in the 1860s.

    He must have been fairly successful, as he built this fine house just off the Park Blocks towards the edge of town sometime before 1878 as evidenced in this photo:

    He was also later a member of the Portland City Council on two occasions.

    In 1908, his son, John George Keller was married to Anna Elizabeth Davis, formerly of Eugene and at this time she presumably moved into the family home at the corner of Market and 10th.

    George was a traveling salesman for the Crown Mills. He had been a star football player at the MAC in his youth and was also instrumental in founding and managing the Portland Ice Hippodrome home of the Portland Rosebuds hockey team.

    In 1910, Joseph passed away just a month after a family celebration of his 76th birthday at the house on Tenth.

    A year later, the Oregonian ran a feature on one of Portland’s first (or possibly first) female drivers along with a photo of her in her Rambler automobile:

    The Keller’s sold house in 1921 and it changed owners a few times before finally being demolished in 1927 and replace by the Stratford Apartments which today are used as student housing for PSU.

    George passed away at the age of 51 in 1934 and Anna Elizabeth Keller passed away in 1951. She and George had no children of their own:

    Today the family lies buried in the West Hills at Mount Calvary Cemetery:

  11. Wow, nice find Lefty — that really wasn’t much to go on so pretty impressive. And good job with the additional and background info felixstrange.

  12. Bully! and other 1890-era exclamations.

    But that was utter luck. My search consisted of typing “park blocks” into the VP search engine, and when I saw the familiar looking fence in that photo, I thought, “maybe that’s it?”

    It took all of 4 minutes.

    felixstrange spent several hours, I’m certain. Because I have also gone chasing through archives looking for hints and threads that might connect. I tip my derby to you, sir!

  13. The Photo was taken in the Habighorst yard at 10th & Mill around 1890. Aunt Clara Prem, Ethel on the sled, Kate, Nellie, Mother, Laura, and Edna Habighorst.

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