In our neighborhood full of wonderful old homes, we often wonder who the actual builder was that put his design and energy into these buildings. Many of the skilled men who actually built our homes also lived inside Eliot. Some of them were masters at the design as well as the carpentry. John F. Wilson was one of these men who left their building legacy behind for us. But unlike most builders of the day, he remained inside our neighborhood for six more decades even though he switched residence in several houses.
Hill Block 1910
The Hill Block Building was built by Charles H. Hill, Albina’s first mayor. Located at the corner of Russell and Williams it was at the center of the business district for Albina.
Roy E. Roos, author of many neighborhood history articles over the last 9 years, is putting together a book on the history of Albina. The old town of Albina was inside today’s Eliot, Boise & King neighborhoods. There has only been a limited amount of history documented about the early days of Albina and there have only been a few old photographs found at the Oregon Historic Society. He previously authored the book “The History & Development of Portland’s Irvington Neighborhood” in 1997 and is targeting publishing his latest book in 2007.
Written by Carol Kennedy
The Eliot neighborhood, located in northeast Portland, Oregon, is locally significant as the original town site, of the City of Albina. Of the many communities that ultimately merged to form the present City of Portland, the City of Albina occupies a distinct niche in the city’s history. No other township contributed as greatly as did Albina to defining Portland’s present-day boundaries. The union of the City of Albina and the City of Portland in 1891 also added to the City of Portland’s sociocultural history by later fostering a diverse working class, immigrant, and minority community.(1)
Today’s Wonder Ballroom was built by The Ancient Order of Hibernians, a group committed to immigration reform, civil rights for those of Irish descent and the preservation of the old Irish culture. Designed by the architecture firm of Jacobberger & Smith, the hall was completed on schedule and the first meeting was held in the new building on September 10, 1914.
The following is an excerpt from Portland’s Adopted Eliot Neighborhood Plan 1993 pages 9 – 11.
The following discussion is from several sources. “History of the Albina Community,” a document produced by the 1990 Comprehensive Planning Workshop graduate students at Portland State University (PSU) formed the basis for this discussion. The workshop is a core requirement in PSU’s Master of Urban Planning Program. The students have graciously allowed the Albina Community Plan staff to use their work product in this planning effort. The Portland Bureau of Planning published the entire history report in 1990. It is available to those interested by contacting the Bureau. An article on Thomas Lamb Eliot by Stew Rogers that appeared in the November 1991 issue of the newsletter of the Eliot Neighborhood Association provided another source. In addition, a paper by Susan G. Hartnett “From Albina to Eliot: The Transformation of a 1887 City to 1991 Inner City Neighborhood” provided additional valuable information incorporated here.
Like the Eliot Neighborhood in general the church at the corner of Ivy Street and Rodney Avenue has a long and rich history.
In 1890 the Trinity German Evangelical Lutheran Church of Albina was founded by the German missionary Reverend Edward Doering. The first church building, including a school in the daylight basement, was on the corner of Williams and San Antonio (now NE Graham St) in 1892.