Can You Answer This Question?
What were the two biggest markets Portland merchants supplied people with during the California Gold Rush?
Wheat and lumber.
During its first three decades, Portland depended on trade by water. Its first substantial growth came when the California Gold Rush created a huge market for Oregon wheat and lumber, much of it shipped from Portland by river and ocean to San Francisco. Willamette River steamboats brought farm products from the state’s agricultural heartland, while steamer links connected by portage railroads on the Columbia River allowed Portland merchants to supply miners in Idaho and Montana. The Oregon Steam Navigation Company, which had consolidated and monopolized the Columbia River trade by 1860, was the basis for several sizable fortunes.
Photo credit: Jenny Marvin