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The Western Star, of Milwaukie, after running a few months, was brought down to Portland and published under the name of The Oregon Weekly Times. The Methodist church, on the corner of Third and Taylor streets, was dedicated in the autumn of 1850; the Congregational church, on Second and Jefferson, in 1851; the Catholic church on Third and Stark, was begun in 1851, but not dedicated until February, 1852. A public occasion of much interest was the celebration of St. John’s day, in 1850, by the Masons. The people assembled at the Masonic Hall, which was still surrounded by logs and stumps, and there formed a procession, and preceded by the military band of Fort Vancouver, marched to the Methodist church, where was delivered an address by Rev. H. Lyman, followed by an oration by T. J. Dryer. Officers were then installed, Lieut. F. S. R. Russell, of the United States Army, acting as Worthy Grand Master. In the evening public dinner was served at the California House. In 1850 the Sons of Temperance were organized with much enthusiasm and large numbers.
In October, 1851, a meeting of very great importance was held. This was to ratify publicly the opening of the road to Tualatin Plains. General Coffin performed the ceremony of laying the first plank, and speeches were delivered in which the coming grandeur of the city was quite accurately predicted. Mr. Tilford, a lawyer and fluent speaker, made the oration, using among others the following expressions which elicited hearty applause: “This is the commencement of an era of commercial prosperity which will continue to increase until the iron horse takes the place of the plank road. There are persons now within the sound of my voice that will live to see the day when a main trunk railroad will be extended from sea to sea; from the Atlantic to the Pacific.”
Indeed, this road, which, however, has not to this day been planked, was the factor determining Portland as the site of the principal city. She became thereby most convenient to the farmers of Polk, Yamhill and Washington Counties, who would not haul their produce three to ten miles further to St. Johns or St. Helens. Although for many years very rough, and through woods so deep that the mud dried only by virtue of the longest droughts, it was nevertheless the most popular highway.