Fairmount Neighborhood History
Fairmount History Project Booklet:
Want to learn more about the history of our neighborhood? Did you know it was once the town of Fairmount, incorporated in 1892? Or that the “Fairmount Loop” electric streetcar circled through, connecting it to central Eugene from 1909 to 1927?
Check out the Fairmount History Project Booklet, produced in spring of 2011. It was created for the purpose of strengthening our sense of community and pride for all FNA residents by creating a repository of the history and personal narratives of our neighborhood. We were fortunate to have several residents who have lived here for over half a century and who serve as informal sources of local neighborhood history and memory. As time marches on, this local knowledge fades and would eventually be lost if not collected and documented. Conversations with these residents as well as other neighbors gave glimpses into some of the interesting stories of Fairmount’s pre-1902 existence as “Fairmount City” and our previous agricultural history as an orchard and dairy.
It is hoped that this project and resulting booklet will create a more formal and long-lasting place to share these memories and stories about community life in the Fairmount neighborhood.
Located in the southeastern part of the Fairmount neighborhood is Eugene’s oldest park: Hendricks Park. The 78 acre park was established in 1906. It is protected and maintained by the non-profit: Friends of Hendricks Park. Here is a link to their webpage so you can find out more about the park and the work this 501(c)3 does.
Tell us something fun or historical…
Maybe you have something fun or of historical importance regarding the neighborhood that you would like to share with us or have included on the website. We are interested in displaying more photos from the Fairmount neighborhood, especially historical ones, as well as sharing stories and history of the neighborhood. To share with us, Click here and you will be taken to our contact page where you can share with us.
- Determine your tax lot number. Resources: Last year’s tax assessor bill. Having both the tax lot number and physical address will help you when searching through documents at the County Deeds and Records office (see 3).
- Look on your sidewalk for a date and contractor names. In your yard, use a metal detector to uncover old coins and other artifacts. With my 1927 home, we found a long buried strong box that held a variety of liquors—perhaps this was the first owner’s stash during prohibition? Inside your house, look at walls and moldings for original materials and styles. Get your eye and brain in training to seek out small details for research project.
- Get friendly with County Deeds and Records. They may have the original building permit information, construction dates and costs as well as the names of the architect, contractors and/or the original owners. If you do not have a copy of your home’s abstract (typically in your home purchase packet), ask for a copy from Deeds and Records. The abstract records all deeds or legal transactions associated with your home, including the name of the home’s previous owners. Current fees are $3.75 per document plus $0.25 per page for copies. The form is accessible on the Lane County website.
- With information about previous owners in hand, look through the various directories or census records. Census reports have been issued every 10 years since 1840. Due to privacy concerns, the Census Bureau delays issuing complete records for 70 years. Another resource is the Eugene Public Library. The Library houses both alphabetical and reverse directories. The most useful for historic research will be the telephone directory (organized alphabetically) and the Polk Directory (listed both alphabetically and reverse). The Polk Directory for the City of Eugene, which begins in the late 1890s, is located on the library’s second floor in the non-circulating reference area. Call number REF 917.9531 EUGENE SUBU 2000 for the Polk Directories. The University of Oregon Knight Library also has multiple formats of historic resources. Here is a link to the University of Oregon’s library system.
- Look through newspaper archives. The Historic Oregon Newspapers project through the UO’s Oregon Digital Newspaper Program is an incredible resource! Look through the time period when your home was built (remember that street addresses and names may have changed over time). Look for mentions of construction projects, names of previous owners, sales and rental ads. You may even find an old photo! Resources: http://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/ . The Register Guard is not a part of the Historic Oregon Newspaper project. For the R-G use Google Historic Newspapers.
- The UO’s Map and Aerial Photography (MAP) Library has aerial photos dating as far back as the late 1920s. That section of the library also houses atlases and insurance maps. In particular, look for the Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps, which indicate lot size, outlines of buildings, heights, materials and any changes made to the lot or buildings (with approximate dates). Most of the maps and atlases are housed in public areas, but older and fragile maps require assistance for use. Resources: Map & Aerial Photography (MAP) Library, Knight Library, First Floor, 541-346-3051; firstname.lastname@example.org general documents center/help desk for MAPS library.
- Talk to your neighbors. Many long-term residents are willing to speak to the history of your home and the neighborhood in general. Invite people over for coffee and ask questions.
Visit the Lane County Historical Society and Museum to learn more about the history of all of Lane County!