History of The Lane
We have been collecting stories from families that lived on "the Lane" in years past, and have two we'd like to share with you. These are great stories that are a great look back at the history of Portland's Christmas Street.
The Bloodgood FamilyIn the winter of 1955, a new family arrived on the Lane. Harold and Josephine (Jo) Bloodgood moved into 825 SE Peacock Lane. They brought with them two children. Jerry, almost 15, and Jimmy, age 2½. They moved from a house at the NE corner of SE 31st Avenue and SE Taylor Street, in Portland.
Harold Wesley Bloodgood was born on January 15, 1916 in Hooper, Nebraska. He was the first of four boys born to Howard and Lydia Bloodgood. Howard was a blacksmith, so the Bloodgood family moved as demand for his trade moved. Sometimes they lived in sod houses in the great American plain. Harold always considered Louisville, Nebraska as his hometown, as that is where he graduated from high school.
Life for a young man was difficult during the Depression. Taking advantage of opportunity, Harold enrolled in the Civilian Conservation Corp (CCC). He came west with the Corp in1933. He was on his way by train from South Dakota to San Francisco when he received new orders to report to Camp Tyee, near Roseburg, Oregon. It was at Camp Tyee, at a dance, that Harold met an alluring, young, local girl from Elkton, Oregon. Her name was Josephine Haines.
Josephine Irene Haines was the first child of James Edward (Ned) and Rosa (Rose) Haines. The Haines family were original pioneers to the Oregon Territory. Ned continued farming the original homestead near Elkton. At the start of her senior year, Josephine met an intriguing young man at a local dance. He was from a land far away. Nebraska!
Harold asked Ned for permission to marry Josephine. Ned agreed, but stipulated that Josephine must graduate from high school first.
Harold longed to return to the mid-west to be with his family. So, after Josephine graduated from high school, Harold and Jo took the train back to Omaha. On June 11, 1934, they were married by a Justice of the Peace in Cass County Nebraska. They had no money. Harold's uncle, Homer Sylvester, was the Cass County Sheriff. He allowed Harold and Jo to spend their first night as husband and wife in the Cass County jail.
Nebraska was no replacement for Oregon and soon Josephine became homesick. In November 1934 the young couple set off in their 1928 Model A Ford back to Oregon. Along the way the picked up hitchhikers to help pay the way. Wyoming was particularly exciting, as it was the true "Wild West" full of cowboys enjoying life as only cowboys can.
Later they encountered car trouble. Harold tried to fix the problem himself and wound up with blood poisoning. After a brief helping from the local doctor, they were back on their way.
They finally made it to Oregon only to find themselves in a "silver thaw" in the Columbia Gorge. As luck would have it and with some deft driving, they made it all the way to Portland. Harold immediately signed up with the local Bakers Union.
Harold's first job opportunity was in Vernonia, Oregon baking for logging crews, but the job only lasted a couple of months. A new job opened up in Reedsport, Oregon and so they headed off to the central Oregon coast. In Reedsport, life was tough for the newlyweds. They lived in a very small trailer just out of town. But it was in Reedsport that they met their lifelong friends, Lloyd and Marge Richardson and Harold met his lifelong passion-fishing.
After a year in Reedsport, it was back to Portland and they both picked up jobs in bakeries. Harold worked for a baker named Rudy Burgholtz and Jo wound up working at the counter of Cottage Bakery at 3334 SE Belmont Street.
The winter of 1940 brought a new addition to Harold and Jo. Gerald Roger Bloodgood entered the world on March 15. At that time they rented part of a house at 17th and SE Morrison. The owners were Walt and his sister Ruth Disney.
Meanwhile, the owner of the bakery Jo worked at was an elderly man named ??? who passed away in the fall of 1940. Harold and Jo then bought the bakery for $1,500. As they would recall, the conditions of the sale included a reversion of the property to the sellers if the buyers failed in any payment. The sellers expected the young couple to fail. In the winter of 1941 Harold and Jo reopened Cottage Bakery as the new owners. They remained in business and pillars of the community for the next 40 years.
During the early years of their bakery, the family lived in the upstairs of the bakery. Included in the family were Harold's parents, who had moved out from Nebraska, and Jo's sister, Vera, a recent valedictorian, graduate from Elkton High. Harold's parents later moved to a house just down the alley from the bakery on SE 33rd Avenue. Vera took a job with Bell Telephone and moved to Missoula, Montana.
In 1947, Harold and Jo had saved enough money and a bought a house on Pacific Street in the Laurelhurst area. The house proved to be too far from the bakery for a family with only one car. After a year, they moved to the house at SE 31st and Taylor. And in this house, on June 23rd, 1952 James Harold Bloodgood was born.
Now we are back to the beginning of life at 825 SE Peacock Lane.
Jerry attended Sunnyside Elementary School and graduated from Benson High School in 1957. He attended Oregon State College, graduating in 1962 with a degree in electrical engineering and was named most Outstanding, Distinguished Officer of his Air Force R.O.T.C. class.
Also in May of 1962, Jerry married Nancy Stuermer of Albany, Oregon. They would have three children, John (1963), Tim (1964) and Debra (1969).
After college, Jerry spent his boot camp days at Fairchild Air Force Base in Spokane, Washington and then headed to navigator school in Waco, Texas. He later went to electronics warfare officer training at Mather Air Force Base in Sacramento, California. He then assigned to Beale Air Force Base (Marysville, California) where he was and Electronics Warfare Officer in the Strategic Air Command and flew on "Krome Dome.
In 1967, Jerry left the Air Force and took a job as an electrical engineer with CalTrans in their Marysville, California (District 2) office. While at Caltrans, Jerry was part of a joint effort by the states of California and New York to develop a new, computer based, traffic signal controller with an "open" software architecture. This would become the model for traffic signal controllers. It is called the 170 Controller.
In 1979, Jerry and two of his colleagues from the from the 170 development team left CalTrans to form their own software firm dealing specifically with the 170 Controller. In 1981, Jerry and John Itagaki broke away from the third member and created BI (Bloodgood-Itagaki)-TRAN Systems, Inc. and were located in Sacramento, California. Over the next 20 years BI-TRAN would become a worldwide leader in traffic control systems, installing BI-TRAN systems around the world and becoming the industry standard.
In 2002, BI-TRAN was purchased by a traffic engineering hardware manufacturing firm. Jerry continued working for this firm until he retired in 2005.
Jim attended Sunnyside Elementary School until the third grade. Up to this time, Harold and Jo had received special consideration for Jim to attend this school due to its proximity to Cottage Bakery. However, in 1961, this special consideration was no longer granted by the school district and Jim attended Glencoe Elementary School from then on. He later graduated from Benson High School in 1970. From there he went to Oregon State University, graduating in 1975 with a degree in General Science.
The country was in a depression in 1975 and Jim wound up working for the family at Cottage Bakery. In the spring on 1976 he returned to Oregon State to study Civil Engineering Technology. After a year, he again left Oregon State.
In 1977, Jim took a job as a draftsman with a small, civil engineering firm in Lake Oswego, Oregon. While with this firm, Jim met many life long friends and learned surveying, civil design, and construction management. Also during this period, the young members of the firm established a monthly poker game that continues to this day.
In the fall of 1979, Jim, at the suggestion of his brother, applied for a job with the city of Sacramento in the Traffic Engineering Division, of the Department of Public Works and got the job. He moved to Sacramento early 1980. In the middle of 1983, Jim was appointed City Traffic Engineer for Sacramento. During this period, Jim worked on many exciting projects including a visit from the Queen of England, development and construction of the light rail system (RT Transit) in Sacramento, and the relocation of the KINGS professional basketball team from Kansas City to Sacramento.
In 1989, Jim left the City of Sacramento and opened a Sacramento office of Kittelson & Associates; a Portland based traffic engineering firm. In 1992, Jim left this firm to do his own consulting. 1993 he was hired by Snohomish County, Washington as County Traffic Engineer. He remains employed by the county in this capacity and lives in Mukilteo, Washington with his wife, Galina, and son, Leonid.
Harold and Jo continued to operate Cottage Bakery until 1980. Age, smoking, and too many years to too much hard, physical work finally caught up with Harold. He retired at the age of 68 years old. For the next few years Harold and Jo traveled the world until Harold passed away in Anchorage, Alaska in 1984 while on a cruise to honor his and Jo's 50th wedding anniversary.
After Harold's passing, Jo continued to live in the house. She was always an active participant in the goings on of the lane. In 1993 she was in Maui with some friends at her time-share condo when she suffered a heart attack. She refused to be treated in Hawaii and demanded to return to her home in Oregon. She had successful, triple by-pass surgery at OHSU the day after Thanksgiving, 1993. She recovered incredibly.
After her surgery, Jerry and Jim would try to convince their mother she should move to a retirement center but she would always refuse saying she belonged on the Lane. And, she kept busy. She was an active member of the Portland Art Guild, the Portland Women's Club, the Daughter's of the American Revolution, Toastmistresses, and the Amaranths.
In January of 2005, Josephine was not feeling well. She decided it was time to move to a senior housing facility. She took an apartment at the Courtyard on SE 60th Avenue and Division Street. The first night in her new home, she called for help. It turns out, she had suffered another heart attack. She was taken to OHSU. She stabilized but suffered another, intestinal setback that required emergency surgery. She survived again. It was a 3-month effort but she returned to the Courtyards. She lived very happily for the next year at the Courtyards.
In mid February 2006, Jo was having lunch with a friend at Elmer's when, and we are not sure of this, she either fell and broke her hip, or her hip broke and she fell. Nevertheless, she was back at OHSU. This time, she would not recover. Josephine Bloodgood passed away on February 27, 2006.
The Bloodgoods have a 50 year legacy on Peacock Lane and the spirit lives on in the their children and the friends they made there.
So, that is a brief history of 825 SE Peacock Lane and lots of history was made in that house.