MERCURY CONTRIBUTOR Heather Arndt Anderson's new book, Portland: A Food Biography, takes us on a tour of Stumptown's culinary history, from the geological events that made our soil perfect berry-growing territory, up through the birth of the modern microdistillery. This handy infographic gives a snapshot of what happened along the way—and where.
1. In the 1880s, Chinese immigrants farmed the wet hillsides of what is now Goose Hollow, and peddled their vegetables on the streets of downtown.
2. Opened in 1911, Ota Tofu company (located on SE 8th and Stark) is reportedly the oldest tofu company in America.
3. Preeminent cookbook author and celebrity chef James Beard grew up in his mother's boarding house on SE 23rd and Salmon. Their Chinese cook, Jue Let, taught Beard an appreciation for exotic flavors.
4. In the 1910s, the Oregon Vegetarian Society held its meetings in the parlor of Hotel Mallory (now Hotel deLuxe). The Spiritualist Society also held séances there.
5. Oyster parlors were once the rage in downtown Portland. Most of them, like Alisky's at SW 1st and Alder, also served ice cream and bonbons.
6. Before it was a maze of mansions and elm trees, Ladd's Addition had an array of truck gardens tended by Italian immigrants.
7. In 1842, Portland's first bootleggers built a still in the vicinity of SW Kelly and Curry. Made of molasses, the potent moonshine was known as "blue ruin."
8. On SW Front and Stark, Abner and Lynda Francis opened the first black-owned grocery store in 1856. The store stayed open for more than a century, despite Oregon's racist exclusionary laws.
9. The Meier and Frank building once housed the Georgian Room—where wealthy ladies (and James Beard), weary from shopping, could go out for tea and a light lunch.
10. On NW 1st and Davis, Henry Saxer opened the first brewery in the Pacific Northwest. Ten years later, Saxer was bought out by Henry Weinhard, who opened a new brewery on NW 11th and Couch.
11. The New Market and Theater on SW 1st and Ankeny (which currently houses the offices of the Mercury) was once a marble food bazaar bustling with vendors selling fresh produce, cordials and liquors, meat and fish, breads and pastries.
For more interesting gems about Portland's food history, pick up Heather Arndt Anderson's Portland: A Food Biography (Rowan and Littlefield's Big City Food Biographies).