There is no Frigate like a Book,
To take us Lands Away.
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.
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 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.