A Bit of History in the City of Roses

Yesterday I was delighted to attend the dedication of two heritage roses planted at Pioneer Courthouse in Portland, Oregon.  It was a lovely ceremony and a unique opportunity to tour a National Historic Landmark.  If you have a moment, I’d love to share a bit of Oregon history with you.  (Yes, I am a proud native Oregonian.)

First, the Roses

When pioneers came to Oregon in the mid 1800s via the Oregon Trail or around the Horn, they brought with them their beloved roses.  The celebration Thursday commemorated the planting of two heritage Moss roses on courthouse grounds.  The heritage roses are a project of the Northwest Rose Historians:

Northwest Rose Historians is an unstructured group of rosarians dedicated to preserving our region’s oldest blooms dating from early settlement days of the Oregon Territory through the first decades of the 20th century. What began as restoration of the Pioneer Rose Garden in Lone Fir Cemetery in Portland, Oregon, has blossomed into a passion for saving and honoring heritage roses scattered about the Northwest that are on the verge of being lost for all time.

Northwest Rose Historians re-introduces heritage roses into public spaces that are centers of the communities in which these roses were first planted. Linking living history to present day reinforces community identity and ‘sense of place’ while entrusting old roses to future generations.

Central to our preservation work is bringing awareness to heritage roses and the unique cultural relationship they share with people of the Northwest.
Roses are integral to Oregon’s history, with special ties to Portland.  America’s first rose society was founded here in 1889.  And of course we are known internationally by our nickname, The City of Roses.  It is very fitting that the Northwest Rose Historians have created the Northwest Heritage Rose Registry here.  Kudos!  I am very proud of my friend Laura.  Please visit the Northwest Rose Historians Web site to learn more.  For photographs of the ceremony, check out my Flickr Photostream.
Now the Courthouse!
The Pioneer Courthouse was the perfect spot to plant the Moss roses.  If you haven’t been inside since the restoration, it’s well worth the trip.  Completed in 1875, the Pioneer Courthouse is the second oldest federal building west of the Mississippi.  The Italinate architecture and interior finishes are something to behold.  Long-time home to the downtown branch of the US Post Office, the courthouse currently serves as the Portland office of the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals.  The building is open to self-guided walking tours.  As a special treat, Circuit Judge Diarmuid F. O’Scannlain was kind enough to open his chambers for viewing during the rose ceremony.  See all the pics here.

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