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Brooklyn Historical Society

Statement of Purpose

The mission of the Brooklyn Historical Society is to preserve and promote the historic heritage of the Brooklyn Neighborhood.


Our mandate is:

  • Protecting Brooklyn’s historic character
  • Preserving the stories of Brooklyn and its built environment
  • Collecting, exhibiting, and conserving artifacts and archival materials relating to Brooklyn
  • Educating the residents of Brooklyn and the larger community on Brooklyn’s history
  • Promoting a sense of community through a shared historic identity

Our Current Objectives are:

  • Gaining recognition as a national historic district
  • Documenting the history of the Brooklyn Neighborhood
  • Collecting and making available the oral histories of the Brooklyn Neighborhood
  • Increasing membership in the Brooklyn Historical Society

The Brooklyn Historical Society is a group of mostly Brooklyn residents who are interested in the history of the Brooklyn neighborhood, one of the oldest neighborhoods in Portland. The group was started with the assistance and guidance of REACH Community Development as part of their Milwaukie Action Plan initiative.

Anyone with an interest in the history of Brooklyn is invited to join the BHS simply by attending meetings. We are in the process of applying for 501(c3) non-profit status, but we won’t let that change our informal style.

We maintain an archive of historic materials, including maps, photographs, oral interview audio and video tapes, in depth property and area research reports and other documentation. Contributions to the Brooklyn archives are always welcome – duplication can be arranged.

For more information please contact the Brooklyn Historical Society via:

Phone: (971) 222-9454
Mail: PO Box 42341, Portland, OR 97242
Email: bhs@brooklyn-neighborhood.org

Historic District Project

The BHS is dedicated to pursuing the discovery, documentation, and preservation of Brooklyn’s history. Specifically, we are presently working on nomination of the Brooklyn neighborhood for Historic District status. We have substantially completed the initial phase of the Historic District nomination process, that of performing a property-by-property survey of all businesses and residences in the target area. As of the beginning of 2004 we have filled out survey forms on nearly 900 properties, and have them all entered into a database. We are now working on photographing each property to complete the survey forms.

Brooklyn Roundhouse

Of particular interest to the Society is preservation of the Brooklyn Roundhouse. Brooklyn Yard, the northern terminus of Southern Pacific tracks in Oregon, has played a central role in Brooklyn’s history. The Roundhouse with its operating turntable, was one of very few remaining on the west coast. It was designed to accommodate the steam locomotives that represented the golden age of steam railroading. When Union Pacific expanded their operations at Brooklyn Yard, the roundhouse and turntable were disassembled and stored by the Oregon Rail Heritage Foundation. The massive steam locomotives, the SP&S #700, the SP #4449 and the OR&C #197 that once were in the roundhouse, were moved also and they can be viewed at the Oregon Rail Heritage Center, 2250 SE Water Ave., Portland, OR  97202.

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