Young Laurelhurst And The Spanish Flu
About a century ago, when Laurelhurst was but a sapling, a global pandemic came to Portland.
Much of what we are seeing today, from closing public gathering places to face masks, debates over business impact and personal liberty, is a repeat of what happened in 1918 on these same streets.
Alameda Old House History, one of the very best blogs on Northeast Portland neighborhood and architectural history, wrote an evocative article on Portland's experience with the 1918 pandemic.
OPB also has covered this history well.
For Laurelhurst, the 1918 pandemic was the cherry on the cake of the real estate slump that started with the First World War in 1914. Newspapers of the time show an increasing drumbeat of distress sales and foreclosures, and Laurelhurst lot prices dropped substantially from the heady prices of just a couple years previous.
In time, the slump passed, and with the 1920s, activity in the still-young Laurelhurst neighborhood was bustling again. In this article you can see how house building in Laurelhurst came to a near standstill in 1918/19, then soared to new heights by 1923.
Our current pandemic, and all that comes with it, will pass as well. Laurelhurst came through just fine in 1918, as you will today.