Monday, September 25, 2017

Kennedy School History Pub

From Poor Farm to Global Attraction: The History of Portland’s International Rose Test Garden

Kennedy School

6 p.m. doors, 7 p.m. event


All ages welcome

Presented by: Kira Lesley and Harry A. Landers, McMenamins History, Oregon Historical Society and Holy Names Heritage Center

About From Poor Farm to Global Attraction: The History of Portland’s International Rose Test Garden

From Poor Farm to Global Attraction: The History of Portland’s International Rose Test Garden

Marking its centennial this year, Portland's International Rose Test Garden is the oldest continuously operating public garden of its kind in the United States. The garden includes 650 varietals of roses and draws more than a half-million visitors each year. Harry A. Landers has worked as the Rose Garden Curator for three decades, giving him unique perspective on the little-known history of one of the best rose gardens in the world.

Before the garden was built, Multnomah County's Poor Farm resided for forty years in what is today Washington Park. In the opening decade of the twentieth century, explosive growth resulted in the farm's displacement to Troutdale. In the boosters' vision of Portland as a prosperous, healthy, and middle-class city of homeowners, there would be no room for last century's poor farm. Kira Lesley's talk - "Making Room for Roses: Portland's Early-Twentieth Century Development and the 1911 Relocation of the Multnomah County Poor Farm" - will explore this history.

About the Speakers:

Harry A. Landers great up on a farm in North Dakota and earned his degree in horticulture from the University of North Dakota. He first visited the Rose Gardens in 1984, when he declared he would work there someday. He is now the only full-time employee of the gardens, which are also tended by part-time assistants in the summer and volunteers who work throughout the year. Kira Lesley is a Master's student in Public History at Portland State, where she studies U.S. social and environmental history. Her thesis focuses on the 1911 relocation of the Multnomah County Poor Farm. Besides history, her other passion is music, and she is a singer-songwriter, as well as a singer in a Round Trip, a psychedelic rock and folk rock cover band. She was born and raised in Northeast Portland and attended St. Mary's Academy, where she was a Rose Festival Ambassador (which is a term they used instead of "princess" for about ten years).

Photo Caption:

Multnomah County poor farm on Canyon Rd, before 1909 move to Troutdale. In 1928, the grounds were assigned to Hoyt Arboretum.

Photo Credit:

Oregon Historical Society, bb010959

About Kennedy School History Pub

Kennedy School History Pub

These monthly, free events are open to everyone interested in Oregon and Pacific Northwest history. Co-sponsored by like-minded historical and civic organizations, we bring you experts, scholars, first-person experiencers and historians who expound on topics from Lewis and Clark to shipwrecks, hop growing to women pioneers and far, far beyond. It's like being back in the classroom - except this time you get to settle into comfortable seats and enjoy a drink or two with dinner while you listen and learn.

This event is eligible for a History Pub Stamp