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The Columbia River: A Trail to Trade
Volume Two Number Nine

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Oregon Trail 1880

Oregon Steam Navigation Company
A few words concerning this old and powerful corporation which has become a thing of the past.

PORTLAND, April 3 -- A few days ago the formal transfer of the property of the Oregon Steam Navigation Co. (O.S.N.) was made to the Oregon Railway and Navigation Company (O.R.N.) and notices of the movements of the company's steamers appear under the new name in this morning's paper. The officers heretofore employed will remain in their places, and the traveling public will find no other change except in the name.

The O.S.N. Co. has been an institution with which all the people of the Northwest are familiar. A history of its organization and progress will fill a large chapter in the history of this part of the country. It had a small beginning, but under able management it grew into one of the most powerful corporations in the land. It had its struggles and bore its share in the advancement of the country from a state of wilderness to a higher civilization. It has often been abused as a grasping monopoly, a close-fisted corporation, etc, but the men controlling went steadily forward, and though they have grown wealthy by it, they have given the means of wealth and comfort to thousands of others, made lands accessible that were useless without means of transportation; invested their money in the state and done their share toward securing prosperity and progress to the country.

No company in the United States of the same age with as much business has made more progress, had less litigation or been so free from accident to those employed. It has been managed to make money for the stockholders, but at the same time aimed to give its patrons the best possible accommodations and to its employes full remuneration for their labor. When better boats or better facilities for travel or transportation in any respect were demanded by its business the money to make the improvements was disbursed without stint and their fine line of steamers are excelled in their appointments on but few rivers of the United States. The present might be considered an appropriate time to say something of the men who organized and built up the enormous business, but their names are familiar to all and their work speaks for them.

The new company has the wishes of the public for its success and they aim to keep the efficiency of their means of commerce and travel up to the old standard. The Daily Oregonian, 1880


The story above is from the front page of this edition. Included in this hard copy is original art (a cartoon in the style of the old illustrators) by Portland artist and owner of Artistic Signs, Rick Fell. We found Fell in 1991 when we had him draw our masthead banner which graces the top of every one of our newspapers and is found here on our web site as a graphic. Other stories include one about the Northern Pacific Railroad land grants and Transportation Business Notes about Villard buying the Oregon Steam Navigation Company.

Continue the Oregon Trail saga!

Read our Number Ten of the series, Oregon Trail 1883 Trains Roll Emigrants Westward


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Bridget E. Smith, editor & publisher

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Historical Gazette
Published in Portland, Oregon
© 1991-