Portland Roars in the 1920s – Our Home History
The dawn of 1920 saw Portland 258,000 citizens strong and along with gaining 50,000 more souls, the next ten years would prove to be an unparallelled decade of expansion for the City of Roses. 1926 marked the construction of the Burnside, Vista and Ross Island Bridges to complement the Sellwood Bridge, which was previously the only Willamette River crossing for miles in either direction. That same year, Portland achieved the progressive honor of having more cars per capita than Chicago or New York, widening her streets to accommodate the bustling traffic. Combined with the already thriving street cars, Portlanders were on the move!
This freshly-embraced mobility promoted an unprecedented population migration from rural areas, and this youthful generation was nothing if not modern. In addition to embracing technological advancements like the refrigerator and vacuum cleaners now with disposable bags, these new homeowners and their contemporary sensibilities gave birth to the American Craftsman.
In the aftermath of World War I, the Victorian construction style (and lifestyle) was in sharp decline. The thriving middle-class abandoned the foregoing generationâs Old World flourishes in favor of uncluttered practicality. Ceilings were lowered, porches simplified and accommodations for a domestic serving staff vanished in the light of new homemaking amenities.
Armed with these advanced appliances, the Craftsman-era housewife shaped the footprint of the home. She had been transformed into a one woman army responsible for all the housework in addition to raising the children. Kitchens were integrated into the main home, built with open eyelines to the living spaces and the back yard. While the Victorian lifestyle demanded a separation between food preparation and dining, the Craftsman introduced the breakfast nook and with it a communal place for the family to gather while the housewives of the day practiced their multitasking art.
Built to endure, Portland is still populated by these beautiful, practical, hardy homes. Whether updated with todayâs amenities or retaining all their classic features, Portlandâs craftsman constructions stand as distinct reminders of an exciting chapter of our history.