7 thoughts on “Peninsula Park, 1935

  1. From the Oregonian, April 4, 1935, p. 4
    “YOUNG OREGONIANS’ MEMBERSHIP APPLICATION: All boys and girls in the Pacific northwest are eligible to membership in either the junior division (6 to 12 years of age, inclusive) or the senior division (13 to 16 years of age, inclusive) of the Young Oregonians. Just fill in the blank below…. All boys and girls in the Pacific Northwest are eligible to membership… [in the] Young Oregonians. Just fill in the blank below. Check the activities in which you would be interested….you will receive an attractive pin and membership certificate.”

    Over thirty selections are presented on the accompanying application form. Among them are Boat modeling, camera club, stamp collecting, accordion band, harmonica band, and orchestra.” Lots to choose from! Perhaps today’s photo shows some of these members?

  2. I know it’s not but it looks like something from the Our Gang comedies (Little Rascals). Doesn’t that looks like Froggy up front? Good times. A shame that kids are not occupied like this any longer. What can we do today??

  3. There were very few black people in Portland in 1935. The same is true of Mexicans and other people from Latin America. The numbers of African-Americans would increase with World War II. There were Japanese and Japanese Americans in Portland, many living in Albina, not far from the park, but it is pretty hard to tell facial features of the backs of heads, or the distant faces of these children.

  4. I doubt that Portland in 1935 could have been much more racially inclusive than this, even if it had wanted to be.

  5. In 1935 there were less than 2000 blacks in Portland. Few if any lived near Peninsula Park. (And, after decades of KKK activity in Oregon, I doubt they wanted to be included.) The entire country is in the midst of Jim Crow laws and institutionalized segregation. Also, women had only been allowed to vote for 15 years.

    When I was the age of the children in this photo, in the 1970’s, the Peninsula Park neighborhood was much more diverse, and a favorite place for kids of all colors to play, swim, hoop, and participate in Portland Park and Rec summer programs, and the city and public schools were actively promoting inclusion.

    To learn more, try starting here, a great article by Dr. Darrell Millner, PSU’s head of Black Studies. I just happened to bump into him at Mt. Tabor the other day, and it was great honor of mine to thank him for all the information he’s given us about Oregon’s black history via Oregon Encyclopedia, OPB’s Oregon Experience television series, and many more ways.


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