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The Oregon Companion: An Historical Gazetteer of the Useful, the Curious, and the Arcane

By Richard H. Engeman

More than just a coffee-table trophy, The Oregon Companion opens a window onto a distinctly Oregonian version of the past, one that leads (however unexpectedly) into our uncanny Oregonian present.

Willamette Week

What's the connection between Ken Kesey and Nancy's Yogurt? How about the difference between a hoedad and a webfoot? What became of the Pixie Kitchen and the vanished Lambert Gardens? The Oregon Companion is an A–Z handbook of over 1000 people, places, and things. From Abernethy and beaver money to houseboats, railroads, and the Zigzag River, an intrepid public historian separates fact from fiction — with his sense of humor intact. Entries include towns and cities, counties, rivers, lakes, and mountains; people who have left a mark on Oregon; industries, products, crops, and natural resources. Includes more than 160 historical black and white photos. This entertaining and delightfully meticulous compendium is an essential reference for anyone curious about Oregon.

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Media reviews

"Engeman dusts off for us a cubbyhole of diversions and souvenirs that, taken together and viewed from a certain angle, create a pointillist portrait rather like a Chuck Close painting. ... If it will appear different to every reader who picks up The Oregon Companion, that's no flaw. It's just life in a random state."

—Bob Hicks, Oregonian

"This engaging, fact-filled reference book is useful both for newcomers and for forgetful natives."

—Eileen G. Fitzsimons, Portland Bee

"More than just a coffee-table trophy, The Oregon Companion opens a window onto a distinctly Oregonian version of the past, one that leads (however unexpectedly) into our uncanny Oregonian present."

—Caitlin McCarthy, Willamette Week

"Native Oregonians and new web foots alike will find fascinating facts about their state."

Boom Magazine

"A handy guide to keep in the car while traveling because of the enticing information of the different sights in Oregon."

—Nancy Tannler, Southeast Examiner

"Engeman has proved his mettle as a Pacific Northwest historian and archivist in this tremendous undertaking to coincide with Oregon's sesquicentennial."

—Bill Duncan, Roseburg News-Review

"With its succinct entries and well-restored photographs, The Oregon Companion reads more like a riveting narrative — tales of bankers sneaking into Japan on dinghies to teach English to Samurai warriors in the 1800s."

—Isaac Darnall, Portland Monthly

"A heck of a lot of fun to read, and it's full of photographs that aren't the usual suspects you see when you pick up a book about Oregon history."

—Randi Bjornstad, Eugene Register-Guard

"Once I started leafing through the chapters, I just couldn't put it down. ... Engeman's accessible writing style makes this book an engaging read for young and old alike."

—Renee Struthers-Hogge, East Oregonian

"The rare photographs alone make this book worth the purchase price and I found myself learning more about Oregon in one sitting than I can ever remember."

—Matt Love, PowellsBooks.Blog

"A heck of a lot of fun to read. ... full of photographs that aren't the usual suspects you see when you pick up a book about Oregon history."

—Randi Bjornstad, Eugene Register-Guard

About the author

Richard H. Engeman

Pacific Northwest historian and archivist Richard H. Engeman graduated from Reed College and holds graduate degrees from the University of Oregon and from the University of Washington. Formerly public historian of the Oregon Historical Society, he serves on the Portland Landmarks Commission and on the board of the Oregon Museums Association and the Oregon Century Farm and Ranch Program and is the principal of Oregon Rediviva, a historical writing and consulting firm.

Read more about Richard H. Engeman

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