Oaks & 1905 World's FairThe Lewis & Clark Exposition
While the Oaks was being built (1904 / 1905), a friendly rivalry developed between it and the Exposition. A race soon started to see if The Oaks could open before the Exposition. The Oaks won as it opened on May 30, 1905, a couple of days before the Exposition.
Although, the park wasn’t completely finished, the visitors didn’t seem to mind. The Oaks reminded several people of "Coney Island" or “Great White City” (an amusement park in Chicago, Illinois). They arrived by trolley, “The Oaks Flyer” (a boat), automobile and horse and buggy. It was a dress up affair.
On opening day, visitors were entertained by an Italian band, D’Urbanos Royal Italians. A granddaughter of one of the band members visited the museum June 1999. Through her, we found that this band stayed with The Oaks for several years. They played weekend afternoon concerts in the park and for skaters.
Below is a copy of one of the original plates (both sides) sold as a souvenir of the Exposition. It was purchased by a member of the Bollinger family while visiting the Exposition. Also shown is an Exposition post card that was sent to another member of the Bollinger family.
Although, The Oaks and Exposition were on opposite sides of the city, they shared the same visitors. When the Exposition closed (October 15, 1905), The Oaks purchased park benches, the whirl wind ride and light fixtures. There is at least one of the fixtures still at The Oaks and one of the light bulbs (which still works) is on display in the museum.
Over the years, The Oaks has come from a competitor to the Exposition to a nonprofit organization. Almost all of Robert Bollinger's assets were taken to create the nonprofit association to ensure that The Oaks would continue to be a place where families can play together.
This is onestyle of souvenir plate offered at the World's Fair.
Starting with the upper
left it reads: Capt. M. Lewis, Capt. Wm. Clark, Theodore Roosevelt, President 1905, The Forestry Building, Thomas Jefferson, President 1805;
Center: Lewis & Clark Centennial
Printed on the Bottom is: Souvenir of Lewis & Clark Centennial; Portland, Oregon 1905