By Doug Decker | Historian
The Concordia neighborhood is a quilt of underlying subdivisions, also known as plats filed by developers more than 100 years ago when they first laid out – and then carved out – streets and lots from the fields and forests that occupied these gentle slopes above the Columbia River.
My June column mentioned Foxchase, one of those plats. But there are many more, each one with its own history: Kennedy’s Addition, Ina Park, Lester Park, Town of Creighton, Heidelberg, Sunderland Acres, Concordia Green and the largest of all, Irvington Park.
Interesting, isn’t it, that the makers of our neighborhood wanted to name it after another neighborhood that already exists? That’s marketing for you.
The Irvington Park plat occupies the area from 25th to 33rd avenues, between Rosa Parks Way and Killingsworth Street, an area of about 175 acres. That’s big by northeast Portland plat standards.
When the Irvington Park plat was filed back in November 1890, the Irvington neighborhood we know today south of Fremont Street was already a going concern with wide streets, big houses and wealthy business people moving in and building up the area. Today we would say property values there were definitely skyrocketing.
The initial developer of Irvington Park here in Concordia in 1890, Edward Quackenbush, liked the vibe of the original Irvington – which he was not party to, by the way – and wanted to cash in on the coattails of its identity, something that other east Portland developers tried to do as well.
Check out the adjacent advertisement from The Oregonian July 10, 1907, that implies a connection with “Irvington Proper,” but also points out that prices in Irvington Park are way less expensive.
Other eastside developers did the same thing, which was annoying for the Irvington real estate people. But it worked.
With the help of the Alberta Streetcar, homeowners flocked to Irvington Park and the commercial district around Alberta Street boomed. A community club was organized, a club house and dancing venue was built near 30th Avenue and Ainsworth Street.
And something else happened: community spirit. Here’s a paragraph from The Oregonian July 25, 1915:
“There never was a finer feeling in a community than now exists in Irvington Park – and their community club has done it and its work will go on benefitting one and all and bringing them closer and closer together.”
Ask the Historian is a CNews standing feature that encourages readers to ask questions about the history of the neighborhood and its buildings. Is there something you’ve wondered about? Drop a line to CNewsEditor@ ConcordiaPDX.org and ask Doug Decker to do some digging.
Doug Decker initiated his blog AlamedaHistory.org in 2007 to collect and share knowledge about the life of old houses, buildings and neighborhoods in northeast Portland. His basic notion is that insight to the past adds new meaning to the present.