Tuesday, June 19, 2007

A 25 Cent Coin Toss: Portland is Officially Named

Many probably already know this bit of trivia, but for those that do not know how Portland was given its name, it wasn't some type of deep, soul-searching process. Basically it was done on a gamble. Portland won, but had it not, we would have been given the name of Boston. Here is how it all went down (taken from the wikipedia article):

The city of Portland, Oregon began as a spot known as "The Clearing," which was on the banks of the Willamette River about halfway between Oregon City and Fort Vancouver. In 1843, William Overton saw great commercial potential for this land, but lacked the funds required to file a land claim. He struck a bargain with his partner Asa Lovejoy of Boston, Massachusetts: for 25¢, Overton would share his claim to the 640-acre (2.6 km²) site.

Bored with clearing trees and building roads, Overton sold his half of the claim to Francis W. Pettygrove of Portland, Maine. When it came time to name their new town, Pettygrove and Lovejoy both had the same idea; to name it after his home town. They flipped a coin to decide, and Pettygrove won.

Add to Technorati Favorites

No comments: