Portland: Stumptown

So, by now, readers of my blog will know how Portland became known as the City of Roses, but that is only one of the names attributed to Portland. Another one is Stumptown. How did it get that name?

Well, it all goes back to the founding of the city in 1845. At that time the land was owned by Francis William Pettygrove and Asa Lovejoy. I am presuming that you all know that it was a coin toss that decided on the name of the soon to be city. Lovejoy was from Boston and Pettygrove from Portland, Maine. They each wanted to name their new city from their hometowns. Of course Pettygrove won.

Now Pettygrove and Lovejoy were quite shrewd businessmen and they knew that corner lots usually attracted the highest prices. In addition, land dedicated to streets meant lost sales and additional expenses to laid out the initial grid. So they created Portland with smaller blocks than was typical and smaller streets. The area for the town was covered with trees at the time, and the narrow than normal streets meant that fewer stumps had to be pulled in order to level them. But they did not pull the stumps from the lots that were for sale – and thus it was known as Stumptown.

That very same coin was used to determine which of two proposed parks would hold each of the founders name. Lovejoy became the namesake for the Lovejoy Fountain Plaza and the other for Pettygrove Park – just a few blocks away from each other.

Brought to you by Brian Bailey

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2 thoughts on “Portland: Stumptown

  • August 8, 2011 at 9:34 PM

    Hey, Brian!

    Isn’t it ‘Stumptown’ like the local coffee chain and the small summer music festival in NW Portland?


    • August 9, 2011 at 7:06 AM

      Thanks Gary – you are 100% correct and appropriate changes have been made.


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