David-Paul B. Hedberg https://instagram.com/outdoorhistory
Imagine all the sounds these trees have witnessed. As you stand under these Black Walnuts in front of Lincoln High School you’ll likely hear the roar of the nearby I-405 freeway, the laughter of students, and the wisping brakes of school-buses. However, in the 1870s, when these trees were planted, you would have only heard the clip-clop of horse hoofs and singing birds. You see, these trees marked the entrance to the mansion of Jacob and Caroline Kamm. The Kamm’s lived on the edge of Portland in a large estate full of extensive gardens, orchards, vineyards, and stables. A country home on the edge of Portland. The Kamm estate backed up into Tanner Creek Gulch, which was the home to many Chinese vegetable peddlers and laborers. Jacob Kamm made a fortune in steam transportation, and no doubt benefited from the local Chinese laborers living in his backyard. Over the years the city grew and consumed the Kamm estate. By the 1950s, the Kamm house was relocated and Lincoln High School built in its place. The three trees in front of the school are now the only tangible link back to when this neighborhood was far more country than city. It also makes you wonder, if trees could talk what stories would they tell?
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Lower image courtesy of City of Portland Archives A2004-002.3180