There is no Frigate like a Book,

       To take us Lands Away.

                                     Emily Dickinson

Portland in the 1880s

The transcontinental railroad is

coming to Portland--and so is murder.

I've written many nonfiction books (see "Biographies"), and I'm now trying my hand at historical fiction: murder and mayhem in Portland, Oregon in the 1880s.

                                                                              The image most people have today of Portland is completely different from the city in the early 1880s. While the railroad brought great wealth to a few, it also increased the divide between the city's aristocracy and its growing laboring-class members who worked in shipping and on the railroad. 

Corruption grew, con artists thrived, and the city became

deeply segregated by class and race. African Americans,

                                            Chinese,* and other groups faced discrimination and                                             exploitation, as did many of the Russian and Irish                                                   immigrants.

                                          ​

                                          

 

                                          One segment of Portland, The North End

(where significant portions of my novel are set), became notorious for its poverty, opium dens, and shanghaiing. Within a few years, The North End          would be nicknamed "Whitechapel" after the crime-ridden section of London where Jack the Ripper killed his victims. 

                      Watch this site for news about my WIP. In the meantime, follow my blog for quick and easy ideas about how to do historical research for your fiction.

*These two images courtesy of Oregon Historical Society Research Library,