Still in operation — the 1910 power plant built by the Oregon Iron & Steel Company on Oswego Creek.


April 24, 1910, Oregonian p10

POWER PLANT MENACED — Mystery in Leak at Big Lake Reservoir at Oswego

Early last week water began rushing into the power plant of the Oregon Iron & Steel Company at Oswego, now under construction, and investigation revealed the fact that the waters from the big lake reservoir were escaping in some way. The flow was so heavy as to put a stop to all work but was not great enough to cause the reservoir to empty rapidly. In order to resume operations, it was found necessary speedily to empty the reservoir and for that reason a large opening was dynamited in the side and from this the waters are rushing rapidly so that within a week it will be empty.

Not until then will it be possible to determine the cause of the flow into the steel plant. It is possible that some obstruction has been wedged into the gates in the bottom of the reservoir, so that they could not be entirely closed, although there are rumors that the dam had been maliciously dynamited and wrecked. The flooding of the new plant has caused no serious damage to machinery but it has put a stop to all work.


Water pours over break in the dam.  Covered bridge stands in front of the dam.  Courtesy Lake Oswego Public Library.

July 25, 1910, Oregonian

PIONEER IRON MAN DIES — BOUDINOT SEELEY PREDECESSOR OF STEEL KINGS — Successful Manufacturer of Days Before Civil War Passes Away In Portland

Boudinot Seeley, who died in this city Saturday night, was one of the pioneer captains of industry in the great coal and iron regions of Ohio. Long before the world had ever heard of Andrew Carnegie, H. C. Frick or any of the modern steel and iron kings, or before the Lake ore region had been discovered, Mr. Seeley was making charcoal iron and shipping it down the Ohio River to St. Louis and other early manufacturing centers.

Boudinot Seeley was born on a farm in Ohio in 1822. He left the farm and located himself at Buckhorn Furnace, Ohio, in 1843, and became one of the first successful pig iron manufacturers in the Ohio Valley. He was so successful in that industry that he retired with a fortune in 1869. Before and during the Civil War he took an active part in politics and was the personal friend and associate of such noted abolitionists as the late Gideon Wells, Joshua Giddings, Ben Wade: Salmon P. Chase and other famous leaders of the day.

While Mr. Seeley was engaged in the iron trade his eldest son, L. B. Seeley, and E. W. Crichton were learning the business with him. When the Oswego Iron Works were running at full blast in the early ‘70s L. B. Seeley came to Portland and took charge of the works. He was followed a year later by Mr. Crichton. Soon afterward Captain U. B. Scott, who had been engaged in manufacturing axes at Ironton, Ohio, and had been an intimate friend of the Seeleys, came to Oregon, and became associated with the Seeleys and Crichton in the steamboat business. In building and operating the steamers, Ohio, Fleetwood, Telephone, Flyer and other famous craft, these men man much transportation history in the Pacific Northwest.

Boudinot Seeley came to Oregon in 1893 to visit his children and look over the investments made in this new country. He was accompanied by his wife and intended to stay a month, but they decided to make it their home here. They celebrated their golden wedding at Flavel, Or., in 1898 with all of their six children present. Mrs. Seeley died in 1904, and since that time Mr. Seeley had made his home with his daughter, Mrs. Anna Bernard.

The surviving children are Mrs. A. H. Tuttle, wife of Professor Tuttle, of the University of Virginia; L. B. Seeley and Mrs. Anna Bernard, of this city; Uri Seeley, of Seattle; E. A. Seeley, of the City of Mexico, and Orville W. Seeley of Austinberg, O. Ever since his arrival in Oregon Mr. Seeley has taken an active interest in the development of the country. The funeral will be held at the Crematorium at 3 o’clock today.


Pipe foundry workers. Courtesy of Lake Oswego Public Library.

Jan. 10, 1912, Oregonian

MEN JOBLESS BY FIRE AT OSWEGO — Loss, Placed at over $60,000, Suffered by Oregon Iron & Steel Company. — SALVAGE WORK HAMPERED — Watchman Discovers Blaze Early in Morning, But Is Delayed in Securing Assistance to Check Sweeping Flames.

Seventy men were thrown out of employment and damage estimated by officials at between $60,000 and $70.000 was done when at an early hour yesterday morning the pipe manufacturing plant of the Oregon Iron & Steel Company, at Oswego, was practically destroyed by fire.

About half of the plant was saved, but the principal buildings, including the main plant, the machine shop and the engine-room, were totally destroyed. All day yesterday and late last night men worked with two streams of hose in an effort to save about 100 tons of coke which continued to burn. The officials of the company say they are not yet prepared to make an announcement as to reconstruction.

“The saddest feature of the fire,” said Alexander S. Pattullo, superintendent and manager of the plant, “is the fact that such a large number of men, most of them with homes and families, are thrown out of employment.

“Most of them are employes of long standing. One man told me that the factory had been his bread and butter for 23 years.”

The only man at the shop at the time the fire started was the night-watchman. According to his story, it was between 2 and 3 o’clock in the morning when he first saw the flames in the machine shop, which had then gained considerable headway. He attempted to ring the town fire bell, but it was clogged with ice and would not respond. He then aroused workmen and the residents in the neighborhood and with streams of water secured from two mains, one the city’s and the other the company’s private line, the fire was fought. The City of Oswego has no fire department.

By chopping away connecting timbers between different buildings and by heroic work with the available water, a large number of buildings were saved. The buildings destroyed were of the main pipe shop, 250×80 feet; the two-story machine shop, 50×20 feet with a cokehouse surmounting it; the hay-rope manufacturing house, 20×20 feet; the hay storage house, 50×20 feet, and the engine-room, 25×25 feet. Remaining are the office, another hay storage building, a cotton storage building, the pipe cleaning shed, the testing plant, the vat for dipping the pipe and the blacksmith shop.

The Oregon Iron & Steel Company was organized 23 years ago, when the present plant was put up at Oswego. Yesterday’s fire was the first in the company’s history. The company is capitalized at $1,500,000. W. M. Ladd is its president.

The value of the plant itself was about $150,000, and about half of this was represented by the loss. The fact that all the pipe and pig iron were saved reduced the loss considerably.

The plant covered about two acres, and had a capacity of 600,000 tons of iron pipe a year. The company has now a contract from the city for 38,000 tons of pipe, all of which was to have been delivered by November, and it was engaged in turning out the order at the time of the fire. Superintendent Pattullo appeared before the Water Board yesterday afternoon and asked permission to fill the order by shipping the pipe from the East by water and delivering it on the docks, instead of in carloads, as stipulated in the contract, the delivery to be made at the original price. The subject was taken under advisement.

Phil Grossmayer, of Pettis, Grossmayer & Co., said last night that the insurance on the plant was $29,550, distributed among several companies. The cause of the fire in unknown.


Jan. 4, 1913, Oregonian p9

OSWEGO FIRM LOW BIDDER — Offer of $201,828 Made on Materials For Water Department

Bids for a year’s supply of materials for the Water Department were opened Thursday by the members of the Board and it is believed that the contract for furnishing pipe will go to the Oregon Iron & Steel Works, located at Oswego, near Portland. Its bid was for $104,828 and is lowest on its face. All were referred to a committee.

The Phoenix Iron Works, of Portland, is low bidder on pipe fittings, being $11,925. …


#690, Lillian Bickner, Canoe on Lake
Oswego Lake.  Courtesy of Lake Oswego Public Library.

Jan. 26, 1913, Oregonian p14

LAKE IS RENAMED — ‘Oswego” Succeeds “Sucker” as Title of Beauty Spot — BEAUTIFYING PLANS AFOOT– Project Is to Make Picturesque Body of Water Approachable by Motor Road With Boulevard Completely Encircling It

By a decision handed down this past week by the United States Geographical Survey at Washington, the unlovely name of “Sucker” will from now on officially be discountenanced as a name for the beautiful lake in the vicinity of Oswego. The official name hereafter will be “Oswego Lake.” This information was received this week by the Oregon Iron & Steel Company, which owns a large part of the property bordering the lake.

For many years the lake has been known as “Sucker” Lake, although not a few attempts have been made in the past few years to discard the name and substitute either Tualatin or Oswego. The official sanction of the change of name is being warmly welcomed by the citizens of Oswego, both because of its greater euphony and because it locates the lake, which is half a mile west of that little city.

Extensive plans are being made to improve the approach to the lake, and during the next few months much of the choice residence property will be placed on the market. Three and a half miles long and half a mile wide, with picturesque wooded bands and well-stocked with fish, the lake is a popular rendezvous for picnic parties, but because of its comparative inaccessibility has not been widely known to Portlanders. The present plan is to make it approachable by motor through extensive road building and a boulevard completely girdling it will eventually be built.

The lake is the only one in this state of any size in a radius of from 20 to 30 miles of Portland, and it is believed that by making it possible to reach it by carriage or motor it will become immensely popular as a resort for boating and fishing, and also for permanent residence property. The Southern Pacific, which is now being electrified, borders it on the north side and the river road from Portland is one of the prettiest seven-mile runs in the country.

A California visitor recently tried to buy the entire property bordering the lake, declaring that if it were as near San Francisco it would sell for $1000 a front foot. His aim was to build a Summer hotel or wayside inn on the rocky bluff at one side and create a popular Summer resort.


May 11, 1913, Oregonian p5

AGENCY DEAL CLOSED — ATCHISON & ALLEN TAKE OVER BIG HOLDINGS. — Property of Oregon Iron & Steel Company at Oswego Lake to Be Placed on Market at Once

The Oregon Iron & Steel Company, among the largest single owners of land adjacent to Portland, closed negotiations last week with Atchison & Allen, members of the Portland Realty Board, for the exclusive handling of the company’s land involving more than 10,000 acres situated in Multnomah, Clackamas and Washington counties. Through this deal, Atchison & Allen become the exclusive selling agents of Oswego townsite and all of the Oswego Lake property.

The first section of the lake property to be placed on the market will be known as Lake View Villas. This property is situated at the west end of Oswego Lake and lies on both sides of the Portland, Eugene & Eastern electric line. During the past year extensive development work has been done on this tract, the underbrush has been removed, vistas opened up to provide unobstructed views of the lake, roads graded, sidewalks laid and trees planted along the lake road.

A road to be known as Lake View drive is being built from the town of Oswego to Lake View Villas. This drive, which is now about three miles long, will extend eventually entirely around the lake. Most of the grading already has been completed and work will be started at once in putting the road in shape for automobiles. It will be one of the most scenic drives near Portland.

Among other improvements will be the installation of a water system, with water piped to each building site. Electric light service will be supplied from the Oswego plant.

“Few people are aware that we have within 30 minutes’ ride from the city, the only large lake in the northwestern part of the state,” said Mr. Atchison yesterday. “The opening up of this beauty spot as suburban lake property will be appreciated by all persons who come from the lake districts of the East as well as by our native Oregonians.

“In order to handle the large holdings of the Oregon Iron & Steel Company, our firm, which heretofore has been a partnership, will be incorporated at once as the Atchison-Allen Company. A new manager will be in charge of the general realty department. Both Mr. Allen and myself will give our time to the management of the holdings which range in size from town lots in Oswego, to 500 acres in body, including in all, more than 10,000 acres.”


EW Crichton
Ernest W. Crichton

June 16, 1913, Oregonian p14

E. W. CRICHTON DEAD — Veteran Steamboat Man Victim Of Peritonitis — RIVER SERVICE PROMINENT — Widow and Five Children Survive Man Who Was Long Active in Various Enterprises — Funeral Date Not Yet Set

After an illness of 10 days, Ernest Whitcomb Crichton, a veteran steamboat man of Oregon, died last night at his home, 280 East Seventeenth street, North. The cause of death was peritonitis. Mr. Crichton was born at Buckhorn Furnace, Lawrence county, Ohio, in 1850 and came to Oregon in 1875, taking a position with the old Oregon Iron Company, with headquarters at Oswego. In 1877 he went into the steamboat business with Captain U. R. Scott, S. H. Brown, Z. J. Hatch and L. B. Seeley, having charge of the steamers “Ohio” and “City of Salem.”

In 1878 he and S. H. Brown, C. R. Donohoe and L. B. Seeley purchased the blast furnace property at Oswego. He served as general manager for this concern and later as general manager of the Oregon Iron & Steel Company, with which the original company merged. He remained in this capacity until 1891, when he resigned and came to Portland as secretary and treasurer of the Columbia River & Puget Sound Navigation Company, familiarly known as the “White Collar Line.” The company controlled the steamers Telephone and Bailey Gatzert, on the Columbia and the Flyer and Fleetwood, on Puget Sound, until 1911, when these interests were sold by the company.

Since then Mr. Crichton had been secretary and treasurer of the Flavel Land & Development Company, controlling property at the mouth of the Columbia River.

He is survived by a widow, one daughter and four sons. The sons are James W. and Ernest W. Crichton, of Portland; William I. Crichton, of the Dalles, and Charles D. Crichton of Mapleton. The daughter is Ruby A. Crichton, of Portland.

The funeral arrangements have not been completed.


Feb. 11, 1915, Oregonian p4

A. S. Pattullo, of the Oregon Iron & Steel Company of Oswego, said his company recently lost a $56,000 contract because its bid was only $200 higher than that of the successful bidder. If it had obtained the contract $15,000 of the money would have gone to Oregon labor.


Feb. 19, 1915, Oregonian p15

LOCAL FIRM LOW BIDDER — Tenders Made for Large Supply of Pipe for Water Bureau

Bids were opened yesterday by Municipal Purchasing Agent Wood for 4250 tons of cast iron pipe of various sizes and 50 tons of special castings for use in the Water Bureau during the present years.

Three concerns made tenders to supply the entire amount of pipe and fittings. There are United States Cast Iron Pipe & Foundry Company, $125,290; R. D. Wood & Co., $137,480; Crane Company, $151,750. Three bids were received for the order excepting 2320 tons of 30-inch pipe. These bids are Oregon Iron & Steel Company, $50,185; American Cast Iron Pipe Company, $59,685. The Warren Foundry & Machine Company submitted a bid but sent no certified check, so the bid was not considered. The Oregon Iron & Steel Company, a local concern, is the low bidder for all the pipe excepting the 30-inch mains. It is probably that the local concern will be favored by Commissioner Daly, to whom all bids were submitted.


April 5, 1915, Oregonian p9

[Excerpt from an article titled “Banker Thinks Strain is No Cause for Worry”]

The Oregon Iron & Steel Company’s plant at Oswego has resumed operations with a full crew. The reopening was made possible through the company’s receiving an order to supply a considerable portion of Portland’s water pipe. The plant’s output now is about 700 tons of pipe a month.


Jan 9. 1916, Oregonian p12  [Excerpt]


Two hundred acres of land located along the banks of the Willamette River about six miles south of Portland are being platted by the Oregon Iron & Steel Works as Dunthorpe, a new residential suburb. Elliott Corbett and H. L. Corbett already have erected homes in the new suburb which lies partly in Multnomah County and partly in Clackamas County.


March 30, 1916, Oregonian p13

CONTRACTS LET AT HOME — Portland Company Will supply Water Pipe and Materials

Manufacture of the castiron pipe for use in the city Water Bureau during the year will be by the Portland pipe plant, the Oregon Iron & Steel Company. The City Council yesterday awarded a contract to that company for the entire supply for the city. The company submitted the lowest bid for the supplies.

To the company was awarded the contract for furnishing 300 tons of six-inch castiron pipe and 350 tons of 12-inch castiron pipe for $33.95 a ton or $22,647.50 for the entire amount. Also the company will furnish 20,000 pounds of special castings at .290 a pound or $380 for all. The Wood Ewing Iron Works got the contract for 300 castiron gates and covers for $717 and 109 rectangular covers for $263. M. L. Kline got the contract for furnishing 100 six-inch gate valves for $1125. All bids for lead were rejected, the Water Bureau having resorted to the use of concrete in joint in place of lead.


April 2, 1916, Oregonian p10

Steel Plants to Resume Work

Officers of the Oregon Iron & Steel Company have announced that their Oswego plant will be reopened within two or three weeks after being closed nearly a year. Several large contracts are now pending, it is said, and probably 60 men will be put to work when operations are resumed.


#660 Oswego Bridge, Sucker Creek
Wood dam and covered bridge at the outlet to Oswego Lake.  Courtesy of the Lake Oswego Public Library.

May 12, 1916, Oregon City Enterprise p6

OSWEGO DAM HAS BEEN SOURCE MUCH TROUBLE — Original dam was built by A. A. Durham in 1850—Damage being repaired

OSWEGO, May 11. – (Special)—The first dam was built across the mouth of Oswego Lake in 1850, by A. A. Durham, who erected a sawmill near the site the same year.

Mr. Durham made quite a success in the lumber business the first year, but later lost heavily in that business, his dam being carried away by water. He rebuilt the same immediately, continuing in the lumber business until about 1865, at which time he sold to J. C. Trullinger who platted the town of Oswego in 1866.

Trullinger sold water rights to the Oregon Iron Company for the purpose of running an iron smelter at the outlet of the lake, on the bank of the Willamette river.

He later sold the remainder of the water rights and land to Joseph Kellogg, who erected a new dam, which washed out before he had the opportunity to put the finishing touches on it.

When his dam gave way, the little steamer was at the head of the lake on its regular run to meet the steamer Onward, which plied the waters of the canal and Tualatin river.

The captain, a brother of Kellogg’s, was making a run for the dam to tie up, not being aware that it had given way. He was hailed just in time to save the lives of all on board, from going in the shute to the river.

All of the Kellogg holdings were finally turned over to the Oregon Iron Company, who built a new dam in place of the one washed out.

This company transferred to the Oswego Iron Company, which had more or less bad luck, with the dam on account of high water from the Tualitin river.

The Oswego Iron Company later transferred to the Oregon Iron & Steel Company, which also had trouble the same as the former companies.

The present dam, still owned by the Oregon Iron & Steel Company, will be repaired within the two weeks from date, when the lake will be returned to its former beauty. One end of the dam was washed out about two months ago by high water flowing in from the Tualitin river.


July 18, 1916, Oregonian p9

PIPE COMPANY WANTS TIME.—The Oregon Iron & Steel Company yesterday asked for an extension of time for final delivery of pipe ordered by the city. The contract originally called for complete delivery by June 31, but, owing to the fact that so much of the pipe has been rejected by city inspectors, an extension until July 31 is asked. Commissioner Daly recommended to the Council that the extension be granted.


June 23, 1917, Oregonian p16

OSWEGO AGAIN TO SMELT IRON ORE — Plant and Site Sold to William Piggott — FURNACES TO GLOW IN 60 DAYS — Much Manganese Ore is Mined In Southern Oregon — SHIP PLANTS TO BE AIDED — $100,000 to Be Spent in Improving Plant Idle Since 1894, When Price Fell Too Low for Profit

The old blast furnace and smelter plant of the Oregon Iron & Steel Company, occupying five acres of land along the Willamette River at Oswego, were purchased outright yesterday by William Piggott, of Seattle, head of the Pacific Coast Company interests in this section, with the prospect that it will be placed in shape within about 60 days for the manufacture of pig iron.

This development is of great significance to the shipbuilding industry of Portland and environs, as the making of pig iron is the very basis of the steel industry.

Manganese Ore Mined in State

At the present time Pueblo, Colo., is the only city west of Duluth and Chicago which is manufacturing pig iron, and as a result of this situation great quantities of manganese ore, mined in Southern Oregon, have been sent all the way to Chicago to be smeltered [sic].

There are a number of steel roller mills on the Pacific Coast—at Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento, Seattle and Vancouver, B. C.—and the Pacific Coast Steel Company recently purchased 10 acres of land along the Willamette River below Portland, at Willbridge, where a roller mill will undoubtedly be erected ultimately to handle the pig iron to be turned out at the Oswego plant.

Plant Modern Throughout

The big blast furnace at Oswego, which at the time of its construction was the only plant of its kind on the entire Pacific Coast, has not been operated since 1894, when the discovery of the Mesaba range ore in Minnesota reduced the price of pig iron so much that the Oswego furnace could not be operated at a profit.

The plant is of modern construction throughout, and was built at a cost of about #300,000. Mr. Pigott said last night that perhaps $100,000 would be spent in improvements before the plant is placed in operation, and that the renovations and installations would probably require about 60 days.

W. M. Ladd, president of the Oregon Iron & Steel Company, and A. S. Patullo, general superintendent, were laying plans recently to tear the Oswego plant down in order to sell the iron in its construction at the prevailing high prices. About that time Mr. Pigott came along looking for a plant site and looked the property over, with the result that a deal for the purchase of the entire holding was concluded yesterday.

Mr. Ladd is understood to have sold the property at a reasonable figure with the understanding that the plant would be operated in the Portland territory and benefit the newly created shipbuilding industry.

West for West Is Motto

“My motto is that the cities of the Pacific Coast have the men and the money to do things by themselves and that it is time to forget the idea that we must wait for Easterners to come out West and develop the Pacific Coast,” said Mr. Pigott at the Hotel Portland last night.

“There are great fields of iron along the coast of Chile, and I anticipate that when we have plenty of ships to handle our Coast trade we of the Pacific Northwest will be able to ship our lumber to Chile and receive iron ore in return at such a low figure that we can lay the product down here as cheaply if not more cheaply than the Pittsburg costs and prices.

Iron Price Now High

“The soaring price of pig iron due to war conditions gives us a remarkable opportunity to demonstrate once and for all whether or not we are in a position to manufacture pig iron on the Pacific Coast. The price in Chicago is now quoted at $50 a ton and has been down as low as $11.

“My plans for the development of the Oswego property depend primarily on the willingness of the railroad companies to give us fair rates that will enable us to reach the markets.

“The operation of a pig iron plant near Portland will mean more to Portland and its new shipbuilding industry than a large number of roller mills. Pig iron is the basic article from which all varieties of steel flow. There are a number of roller mills on the coast now, but they have to depend upon scrap iron for their supply and are therefore limited closely.

New Owner Experienced Man

“If we demonstrate that we can make pig iron at a commercial cost in the Pacific Northwest plate and steel mills and all of the auxiliary enterprises will spring up automatically. The cities of the Pacific Northwest are now proving what they can do with their own men and money in the shipbuilding channels, and I feel absolutely confident that we can accomplish similar success in the pig iron trade.”

Mr. Pigott is known the country over as an expert blast furnace man, having grained many years’ experience in the East. Although it is understood that he made yesterday’s purchase on his own responsibility, it is taken for granted it will be acquired subsequently by his company, the Pacific Coast Steel Company, which is the largest iron and steel concern on the entire Pacific Coast.

Plant Capacity 125 Tons Daily

The Pacific Coast Steel Company was incorporated in California in 1911 as a consolidation of the company of the same name with the Portland Roller Mills and the Seattle Steel Company. It produces bar steel, reinforcement bars, angles, channels, etc., the capacity being quoted in current records as 75,000 tons per annum. The assets of the company on January 1, 1916, were given as $3,396,752.

The blast furnace at Oswego is able to turn out 125 tons of pig iron every 24 hours. There is also an 800-horsepower engine with boiler capacity twice as much as the engine requires. The stack is ten feet in diameter and 160 feet high. The blast was built regardless of cost with the idea of developing the ore in the vicinity of the plant. There are five or six brick buildings on the property which have been idle since the plant closed down in 1894. Some iron deposits west of Oswego were opened up, but the pits have been caving in for years.

Source of Supply Uncertain

Mr. Pigott was uncertain last night where he would go for the ore to supply the Oswego plant, but he dwelt particularly upon the possibility of getting cheap ore from South America. It is known that his company has agents out in the Mexican and south American fields and it is presumed that the company officials know where they can lay their hands on a sufficient supply.

Mr. Pigott mentioned, however, that there are considerable quantities of ore in the Pacific Northwest and indicated that the local materials would be given a thorough test.

LOCAL CAPITAL BUILT PLANT — Inability to Get Suitable Ore Cheaply Cause of Suspension

The Oswego furnace was started nearly 30 years ago by a group of enterprising Portland people who wanted to promote the iron industry in this territory. Among the principals in the enterprise were S. G. Reed, S. G. Smith, W. S. Ladd and Martin Winch, all now dead, and L. B. Seeley, who still lives in Portland.

After operating with varied success for a period of years the plant closed in 1894. Inability to get a satisfactory grade of iron ore and the growing competition of the Minnesota ore ranges combined to bring the plant’s activity to an end. Ever since then the place has been idle.

The Ladd state succeeded to the interests held by the late W. S. Ladd, and the heirs of Mr. Smith, Mr. Reed and Mr. Winch retain their respective interests.

The institution is incorporated under the name of the Oregon Iron & Steel Company. In addition to the plant itself the company owns other real estate in the immediate vicinity.


June 24, 1917, Oregonian p26

OSWEGO DEAL INTERESTS — William Pigott, Official of Pacific Coast Steel Company, Announces About $100,000 Will Be Spent on Plant Within 60 Days

The sale of the old blast furnace of the Oregon Iron & Steel Company, including five acres of land and several brick buildings located along the river at Oswego was of prime importance, although it is to bear more directly on the shipbuilding industry than on the realty market. William Pigott, one of the executive officials of the Pacific Coast Steel Company, who consummated the purchase, announces that about $100,000 will be spent on the plant within the next 60 days to prepare it for the manufacture of pig iron.

The Oswego plant cost originally about $300,000 and though it has not been operated since 1894, is regarded as entirely modern. W. M. Ladd, president of the Oregon Iron & Steel Company, is said to have agreed to make the sale to Mr. Pigott at a low figure in order to insure the development of an industry which will mean a great deal to Portland as a shipbuilding center.


Sept. 15, 1917, Oregonian p10

Owing to the fact that ore is of such poor grade that it does not pay to smelt it, the blast furnace at Oswego has been blown out for the present.


Oct. 26, 1917, Oregon City Enterprise

The new steel city, Irondale, Wash., has taken several Oswegoites in the last few days. Mrs. C. N. Haines and family left Wednesday to join Mr. Haines, who has been in Irondale for a month. Mr. Haines is employed in the iron smelter. Joe Thomas, Chas. Quigley and Alfred Johnson left recently for Irondale, where they will be employed in the smelter.

[The Irondale Furnace at Port Townsend, Washington was built by the Puget Sound Iron Company in 1881 and operated for six years. It was later purchased by the Pacific Coast Steel Company and operated for just eight months between 1917 and 1918.]


Charles R. Donohoe
Charles R. Donohoe.  Courtesy of Norm Donohue.

May 20, 1918, Oregonian p7

CHARLES R. DONOHOE DEAD — Former Well-Known Portlander Passes Away in Los Angeles.

Charles R. Donohoe, for many years prominently identified with the development of the iron foundry business at Oswego, and later in the steamboat business in Portland and on Puget Sound, is dead at Los Angeles, Cal., at the age of 73. Mr. Donohoe’s death was telegraphed to L. B. Seeley, of Portland, yesterday. Mr. Seeley, with the late E. W. Crichton, and the late H. S. Brown and Captain U. B. Scott, was active with Mr. Donohoe in establishing the iron business in Oswego in 1878. Later they built up the Columbia River & Puget Sound Steamship Line, better known as the White Collar Line. For 12 years Mr. Donohoe was purser on the steamer Telephone.

Mr. Donohoe grew up in Ohio, coming to Oregon in 1878. Besides his widow he leaves three children, Dr. Seeley Donohoe, in China; Mrs. C. A. Reed, of Hood River, and Dr. Roy Donohoe of Tillamook. Mrs. E. W. Crichton is a sister-in-law.


May 22, 1918, Oregonian p7


Charles Robert Donohoe, who died last Saturday in Los Angeles, was one of the men interested in the development of the iron industry at Oswego and in river steamboating more than a quarter of a century ago. Mr. Donohoe, with L. B. Seeley and several others, organized the foundry and later engaged in the White Collar steamship line. Mr. Donohoe was 73 years old, having been born in Ohio December 4, 1844. Mrs. E. W. Crichton, of Portland, is a sister-in-law.


May 24, 1918, Oregonian p1

STEEL COMPANY TO PUT UP BIG PLANT — $500,000 to Be Spent on Portland Industry — 500 MEN WILL BE EMPLOYED — Open-Heath Furnace and Rolling Mill to Rise Soon — SITE ON LINNTON ROAD — Pacific Coast Steel Company Announces It will Construct Plant on 11-Acre Tract and Finish It by First of Next Year

Establishment of a $500,000 open hearth furnace and rolling mills, as an important adjunct to the industrial growth of Portland, was announced yesterday by representatives of the Pacific Coast Steel Company, who are now in the city surveying the site and perfecting plans for immediate construction.

The plant will be constructed on an 11-acre tract on Linnton Road, near Willbridge, about three miles from the city proper, and with transportation afforded by the North Bank Railway. It is to be completed by the first of the year, and when in full operation will have a payroll of 500 men, most of them highly-paid, skilled workmen.

Site To Be Prepared

Announcement to this effect was made yesterday by T. S. Clingan, manager of the Pacific Coast Steel Company, and C. P. Burgess, superintendent of the company’s northern properties, both of Seattle. W. C. Eshleman, the company’s engineer, until recently in charge of construction work at Seattle, is now preparing the site for immediate construction operations.

Demand for the furnace and rolling mill at this point grew from the company’s heavily increasing business with local shipyards, both steel and wooden, which have previously been supplied from similar plants of the company at San Francisco and Seattle. In addition the Pacific Coast Steel Company operates a blast furnace plant at Irondale, Wash.

Plant Deemed Necessary

It was the same company which purchased the Oswego blast furnace a year ago from the Oregon Iron & Steel Company. Though Mr. Clingan indicated yesterday that the Oswego property might not be placed in immediate operation, it is anticipated that the growth of the business at Willbridge will sooner or later bring it into active service for the local mill.

“We are now supplying shipyards of Portland with angles, channels, steel and iron bars,” said Mr. Clingan, “from our mills at San Francisco and Seattle. Scrap-iron from Portland has been shipped to these two points and re-shipped to Portland in the finished product.

Growth is Expected

“The wisdom of establishing a plant at Portland is apparent, for the reason that it will serve to eliminate two freight rates while serving the local market. We anticipate a steady growth in the business, with constant additions in equipment, as this has been our experience elsewhere.

“But for the time being, at least, the entire output of the local plant will be used by Portland industries and in supplying the tributary territory. There is no question about the permanency of an enterprise of this character, nor will it be adversely affected at the termination of the war.”

Mr. Clingan said that the rolling mills required for the local plant are already on hand, and that no delays will be met with on that score. The open hearth furnaces and mills are to be duplicates of those in the company’s other plants, affording absolute standardizing of work and further elimination of delay.

Plant to Be Large

The capacity of the plant will be 4,000 tons per month, and the raw material will be provided from scrap iron and the product of the Irondale blast furnace. Should the Oswego blast furnace be placed in operation, as is probably in the future, the plant would derive its entire supply of material locally.

Officials of the company, which has maintained sales offices in this city, 608 Northwestern Bank building, for some time, are W. M. Wilson, president of Seattle; William Pigott, first vice-president, of Seattle, and R. E. McLaughlin, second vice-president, of Los Angeles, all of whom have long been prominently identified with the steel industry of the Pacific Coast.

Construction of the Portland plant will be under the supervision of Mr. Clingan and Mr. Burgess, who will spend most of their time in this city until the enterprise is in running order.

Mr. Burgess recently arrived from St. Louis, to join the organization as superintendent, for the express purpose of aiding in the establishment and operation of the Portland property.


Aug. 6, 1919, Oregonian p8

LOCAL FIRM’S BID LOWEST — Figures on Iron Pipe Under Those of Eastern Makers.

Oregon-made goods received a new rating yesterday, in the city all when bids for cast-iron pipe for the water bureau were opened, and it was found that the Oregon Iron & Steel company offered the lowest bid. The local firm bid in competition with three eastern firms. Heretofore Oregon firms have usually submitted the highest bids in competition with eastern firms, and only occasionally was the city council in a position to place contracts here by means of the 5 per cent differential allowed under the city charter for Oregon-made products.

The order was for 500 tons of 6, 8 and 12-inch cast-iron pipe, and the Oregon bidder submitted a price of $70 per ton. The next lowest bidder was the United States Cast-Iron Pipe & Foundry company of Burlington, N. J., with a price of $70.55, f.o.b. Portland. The next two lowest bids were submitted by the American Cast-Iron Pipe company of Birmingham, Ala., with a price of $73.80, and R. D. Wood & Co. of Philadelphia, with a price of $82.50 f.o.b. Portland.