There is no Frigate like a Book,

       To take us Lands Away.

                                     Emily Dickinson

Portland in the 1880s

The transcontinental railroad linked to Portland in 1883, bringing

prosperity, racial tensions--and murder.

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

                                                                              Portland, Oregon in the early 1880s

was a city in turmoil. 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 novels 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--and soon I'll have a blog for quick and easy ideas about how to do historical research for your own fiction.

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