Chapter  II
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[return to chapter I]

Chapter II

The Prophecy.

Taking a note book from her bag, and adjusting her spectacles, the old lady began her remarkable relation of events to come ere the 21st century shall have rolled around.”

“Of course,” she began, "I may not be able to tell you all that is in store for future generations, but I will say enough to interest everybody and to warn everybody who will care to heed my admonitions.

“The era of quick transit has already arrived and people love to travel fast, and opportunity will be given all who care to adopt this pastime. Very soon the locomotive and trolley car will be altogether too slow for travel and aerial voyages, both for pleasure and business will ensue. The force used for this purpose will be varied and may be electricity, gasoline, compressed air, or perhaps still another potent agent, at present undeveloped, which will usurp the place of all others, be cheaper, safer and more reliable than any known energy. The cars will be made entirely of steel bands and so constructed that but little damage may be apprehended from a collision with another flying machine. A parachute, arranged to work automatically will be the chief protector of this winged machine and this part of the apparatus will be so constructed as to render an accident almost an impossibility. Indeed, these carriers will be so made that a party soaring in the air at a height of 500 feet will look down and express a feeling of sympathy for those who must brave the dangers besetting life on the surface of this mundane sphere.

“These air carriers will be simple, and a good bright boy can manufacture his own vehicle to take him to and from school and at a less expense per day than is now paid for street car fare, and at a lesser risk to life and limb. The grocer will make his deliveries by his air machine. The butcher boy will abandon his automobile and bring his meat deliveries by the way the bird flies. As there can be no tracks laid in the air, no one will be pestering the City Commission for a franchise to run his company's cars over a certain strata of air, but there will be cars for hire, just the same, and there will be, no doubt, long trains operated in the air not much unlike the system at present in vogue on the surface. The death dealing automobile will be a thing of the past and even the merry motor cycle will have gone the way of the equine. Railroads and railroad stocks will suffer and the roads will languish and die. Aerial locomotion will usurp the place of the steamer and the steamship, since it will be prove to be quicker, safer and less expensive. Country homes will be easy of access and, consequently, more popular, and the suburbs will be peopled by an ever increasing number. There is no end to the advantages which the flying machine possesses over the present modes of locomotion and it is merely a question of solving the problem of entire safety, economy and simplicity of construction and operation, all of which will have been surmounted in A. D. 1999.

“Although the aerial navigation is itself an important feature of future progress, it is not at all the most prominent of innovations. I will tell you of the new era of building.

“Portland in 1913 was considered a beautiful city, but how much more beautiful does it look in 1999. I will endeavor to give you a little idea.

“The wooden houses have become a thing of the past and strong, warm concrete dwellings are the order of the day. These abodes although immensely superior to the dwellings of 1913 are less in cost and more adaptable for homes. Every working man has his own flying machine and his own home and should be happy and comfortable. The city is compact and the business houses are lofty and well constructed, safety to occupants being the chief care.

“Owing to the fact that there are few, if any, automobiles or other rapid methods of travel to take up the streets of our city, there was an order issued by the City Commissioners removing the hard surface pavements and authorizing the Commissioner of Public Service to sow the streets in rye grass and Kentucky blue grass, so that the city of Portland is one perpetual system of parks, where the youngster may play to his heart's content. Just imagine what a beautiful city we have and how our past day metropolis would pale into insignificance beside the picture I have drawn. Roses are planted in the streets and we are really and truly the 'Rose City.'

At this juncture the old lady paused to consult some notes which she read to herself, presently beginning again, this time with a new topic:

“Emigration flocked to Oregon after the opening of the Panama canal and settled under the new conditions many of these newcomers settled in and around Portland. The great territory of Alaska has been pretty thoroughly prospected and our city is the chief market for that great and wonderful country. Our population equals or surpasses that of Greater New York in 1913 and there is work for everyone. Portland embraces the entire county of Multnomah and a portion of other adjacent counties and extends in an unbroken line from Oregon City on the South to the delta of the Columbia river on the North, East to the foot of Mt. Hood and West to Hillsboro. There are no more bridges across the Willamette river, tubes 75 feet wide at every other street taking the place of the bridges. These tubes are about a mile in length and start from Broadway on the West side and extend to Grand avenue on the East. Public docks extend from St. Johns to Milwaukie and cover both sides of the river, which is dredged the entire length of the dockage.

“Many of the hills back of the city, including Portland Heights, Kings Heights and Willamette Heights are leveled, only Council Crest with its historic traditions being allowed to remain. This gives a vast area to West Portland, which is really vital to its business supremacy. Columbia Slough was reclaimed and most of the manufacturing industries are carried on at that point. St. Johns was again taken into the fold and made happy.”

Again the old lady consulted her notes, making a selection for a new topic, smilingly began:

“The old Commission form of government inaugurated in 1913 proved a success in every way. The first Mayor under the Commission, H. Russell Albee, with his quartette of capable assistants, Messrs. Wm. H. Daly, W. M. Brewster, R. G. Dieck and C. A. Bigelow set the pace for their under officials who tried to emulate their superiors' good work, the public reaping splendid results therefrom. Each succeeding administration endeavored to excel the former's record and Portland has been well governed for the past 86 years. Auditor Barbur, too, gave the city the fruits of his ripe experience in municipal matters and was rewarded by being elected again and again. When the city swallowed up the county of Multnomah, additional commissioners were necessary to take care of the increased business, and so popular did this system of government become with the people that a State commission form of government was agitated and finally adopted. The Governor and his Cabinet, composed of 12 commissioners were moved to Portland which became the state capitol. The State Commission had the power to enact laws and possessed all the functions of a state legislature, meeting each day to pass upon matters which might come up for discussion or adjustment. The Governor serving in 1913, Oswald West declined the honor of running on a state commission basis and that privilege fell to Robert Stevens who safely guided the bark of Oregon through the breakers.

“The long list of state officials embraces many names familiar to the public in the earlier part of this century, notably, the names of Sewall, Malarkey, Coffey, Word, Selling, Lane, Chamberlain, Gatens, Bourne, Nebergall, Lightner, Lombard, Rushlight and many others whose names were highly esteemed in Portland's early history.

“The city, county and state buildings embrace five continuous blocks beginning at Jefferson Street running north, taking in Madison, Main, Salmon, Taylor, and Yamhill Streets, each building being ten stories high and connected at each third story with its companion on the opposite side of the street for a distance of five blocks, making it practically one solid building five blocks long and each building ten stories high.

“There are fifteen judges of the circuit court, seven of whom are women. The sheriff and treasurer are women and there are several women serving as bailiffs.

“The name of Abigail Scott Duniway is held in much reverence by these women officials, who attribute to her the honor of being the promoter of woman suffrage in Oregon.

“Any innovations have been made in the laws of Oregon during the last 50 years, a number of them being framed and mothered by women State Commissioners and signed by Oregon's women governors. One of these acts makes it lawful for a woman to retain her own name, if she so desires after her marriage and not making it compulsory for her to take her husband's name, so that if Miss Montmorenci marries Bill Smith, she is not necessarily compelled to assume her husband's name of Smith, but can be known as 'Mrs. Helen Smith-Montmorenci.' This act has been the occasion of a number of our high-toned girls with four syllable names marrying men of plebeian extraction, so the law works well.

“The morals of the city have wonderfully improved. There is less roystering, riotousness and lawlessness than existed earlier in the century. There is no longer a Home of Detention for boys and girls, Florence Crittenden Home, a county or city jail, or a state penitentiary, all of these institutions being done away with as they were found unnecessary, expensive and not able to deal with the situation in hand. Instead, a more Christ-like form of dealing with the so-called lawless element has been inaugurated and the fruits became immediately apparent. Alleged criminals were talked to like brothers and treated like brothers, the hard spot in the hearts of each melting, when, indeed, they did become like brothers. Men on the rock pile were taken by the hand by good and true men and women and made to feel that life had something in it besides crime, and all became ready and anxious to better their conditions and their morals and the Brotherhood of Man became established on earth in its truest significance.

“And so it was in handling the social evil. None were so vile but would like to leave their sins; and a revolution for the good was started which has ever since continued. And this is the reason we have no homes for criminals, for we have no more criminals. Isn't that lovely?” and the dear old lady smiled.

Continuing, she said, “the art of 'moving picture' shows has given place to the science of 'motion picture' shows. We will say that a rendition of 'Shylock' is given in New York on Monday. The following Monday, the very same performance can be produced in Portland, with a counterpart of the actors' figures, voices, stage setting, even to the minutest particular, and it would be difficult for one seeing both performances to tell which was the original and which the copy.

“Owing to the little need for an elaborate education, children are not compelled to go higher than the sixth grade, the rest of their education being made up by practical experience later in life. This, however, does not extend to those seeking professional lives who are at liberty to use their time as they choose.

“Fourth of July, 1999, was celebrated in a way that the men and women of former days would marvel at. The air was filled with vehicles of all kinds and descriptions. They all invaded the air from the little tad of four years of age, who is riding in space at a height of five feet just within reach of his parent's arms, to the more daring air rider who soars the skies, at an elevation of 10,000 feet. There were no fireworks but here was plenty of visiting above ground and music from 50,000 phonographs was listened to. One mighty band was playing national airs, and although more than a century and a half has elapsed since the anthem was written, the 'Star Spangled Banner' was received in the unusual way. There are some new national hymns, but the olden ones seem to be the most popular.

“The Rose Festival was celebrated two weeks prior to this event. The celebration was unique and embraced a pageant in the air, the electric parade being the feature of the day. A genuine shower of roses let fall at a given signal from tens of thousands of airships filled the air with delightful perfume and the spectators with enthusiasm. The performance was given three days in succession. A reminiscent figure of the third day's parade was a picture made in flowers and exhibited at a height of 1,000 feet above the ground showing a picture of the first president of the Rose Festival, who was none other than our dear old friend, Ralph W. Hoyt.

“What might appear to the people of 1913 as very extraordinary, is the manner in which the streets of the city are sprinkled. A huge air bag with a rubber hose attachment is allowed to rise to a height of about 1,000 feet and water from the Willamette river is pumped up into it by the good old fire boat, David Campbell, which is still doing business.

“Attached to the air bag is a regular sprinkling machine and as fast as the David Campbell pumps the water into the bag it is allowed to fall on the city, the air bag, of course, frequently shifting its position to give all parts of the city an equal show for a rain storm. This process is used whenever there is a drought in Multnomah county, which, thank the Lord, is a seldom occurrence.

“Journalism has kept apace with the times and the Oregonian is still doing business at the old stand but it now occupies the entire block. The names of Scott and Pittock are synonymous with that of the Oregonian.

“The Journal has taken its place among the foremost papers of the day and it, too, covers a whole block on its present site. It is a monument to the energy and business sagacity of Mr. C. S. Jackson.

“The Daily News proved a paying venture and is among the city's institutions.

“The Sunday Mercury has long since ceased publication on Sunday, becoming a thriving morning paper.

“The Evening Telegram grew so fast that it was compelled to move to more commodious quarters and occupies that building once known as the Portland Hotel, which ceased to be a hostelry in 1953. The Telegram utilizes the entire building which is proof sufficient of its prosperity.

“The Guide, a little sheet devoted to general information for the public is still published by a gentleman, named Stuart, and gives out correct data as in years gone by.

“Much of the good in Socialism has been incorporated in the politics of the state, and the objectionable part of the doctrines were eschewed. The best ideas of all parties now enter into politics, which goes to show that there was good in all.

“One-half of the police force are women, who dress in uniform and there is a day shift and a night shift of these women police, and the idea works well.

“Owing to sanitary conditions somewhat, but rather to a change of mind and morals, there is comparatively little sickness now prevailing in Oregon. Ever since the year 1933, when the State of Oregon passed a bill making it a criminal offense for anyone to recommend or prescribe deleterious drugs in the cure of diseases, the number of doctors using medicines have fallen off and drug stores are no longer run under that name, and the health of young and old has wonderfully improved. The science of curing broken limbs still continuous to be practiced but these surgeons acknowledge that drugs and medicines have lost their potency as a curative agent.

“Men and women dress very differently from former days.

“The tube skirt is surely a thing of the past and pictures of a 1913 belle dressed in a 'tube' is put on the moving pictures when it is particularly desirous to raise some merriment, even if it be done at the expense of one's great grandmother.

“The ladies dress is more of an Oriental style which is very becoming and which allows them more individuality of design.

“The men and boys have gone back to the old Knickerbocker style of dress and they look very natty in their new attire.

“One never sees a horse any more and that species of animal is well nigh extinct. To be sure, there are some to be found at the city parks and they are as much fondled and caressed by the youthful visitor there as was the pet lamb that Mary took to school. The horses' day as a beast of burden is over, thank God.

“There are but few of the old stock of Indians left and these are very proud. Much is being made of them by the whites, who look up to them as being the 'First families of America.' Their numbers are few and there is an effort being exerted to preserve and propagate what is left of them.

“There is a sprinkle of Chinese and Japanese in the city but the little people have long since passed the stage of 'undesirables.' They, too, have had a change of heart and have stopped all their objectionable ways and have become as good citizens as those of the 'most favored nation.'

“The Chinamen, more particularly have fallen in to the customs of the white neighbors and a much better feeling is manifest on both sides, which knocks the dreaded bugaboo about the 'yellow peril.' Both Japanese and Chinese affect the American style of dress, even to the knee pants. Just fancy that!"
 

[proceed to chapter III]