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Mild-mannered Portland was once one of the toughest ports of the Pacific. In the 1890s, it was the "shanghaiing" - kidnapping a man and selling him into bondage - capital of the world. After passing-out at one of the many taverns lining Portland's waterfront, prisoners were held in a series of underground tunnels. Although historians have questioned the veracity of these claims, the tunnels remain a source of intrigue. The Shanghai Tunnels are open for tours every week, so be sure to get the right date and time to explore this nugget of Portland's dark history.
A stunning nexus of history and politics, the stately Pioneer Courthouse stipples the heart of downtown Portland. Built in the 1860s, this courthouse was Portland's first restoration project. Having been home to the United States Courts since 1875, the courthouse shelters polished, well-preserved interiors, whereas its glorious cupola windows afford picturesque views of the Pioneer Courthouse Square and Portland's charming cityscape. A massive locus of historians, lawyers and judges, Pioneer Courthouse is awash in lovely Italianate style, complete with doorways and structured roofing. A testament to the city's federal past and present, the Pioneer Courthouse is, indefinitely, one of the city's crown jewels.
Tucked smack in the middle of Portland's downtown area, this 19th-century church is a wonderful example of Venetian Gothic architecture. Speakers, concerts and of course, church services are all offered here, but the grounds and interior can be viewed weekdays. The stonework is something to see, especially the magnificent tower and checkerboard-patterned walls. First Congregational Church is located near the Pioneer Courthouse Square and the Portland Art Museum.
Henry Pittock, founder of Portland's Oregonian newspaper, built this spectacular mansion in 1914 and lived there until his death in 1919. This stately mansion was created in the style of a French Renaissance chateau and boasts three floors plus an incredible view of the city. The mansion is now a museum and showcases local history through artifacts and exhibits. Guests can tour the mansion and even book space for private functions.
Stroll through a forest of old and majestic trees, play frisbee on the expansive grassy fields or just sit back and watch the wildlife from a comfortable bench. Park visitors should pack a lunch and picnic under one of the shady trees. In addition to a man-made lake, you will also find a large children's play area, more than 30 acres (12.14 hectares) of grass and trails, tennis, volleyball and basketball courts, restrooms and more. Laurelhurst Park has graced the City of Roses since 1911.