Flat Stanley wanted me to be sure to tell you up front that you can see the first episode of his fall fun at my other blog, Mama and Me from PDX.
A couple of weeks ago, Flat Stanley took a Saturday ride with "Miss Edna," Duncan and me in the Buick. We didn't have a specific destination, just out for a ride through downtown, looking for interesting spots to visit. By the time we had made it to the PSU campus--Portland State University--I despaired of ever finding a parking spot. That's when one beside a campus high rise appeared before my very eyes, like magic! Well, what really happened was I saw a car's brake lights flash as the driver put his foot on the brake right before starting the motor. Flat Stanley yelled, "Yippee!" as I parked the car.
"Miss Edna" and Duncan waited in the car while Flat Stanley and I walked a little while on the campus of Oregon's only public state university located in a major metropolitan city. More students are enrolled at PSU than in any university in the state. You can read all about the school here.
Flat Stanley liked the leaves here in the South Park Blocks, an area twelve blocks long that goes from I-405 north to SW Salmon. I found this about the South Park Blocks at Portland's Parks and Recreation Web site: a cathedral of trees with a simple floor of grass. That's a wonderful description of the narrow park, but in the autumn after the leaves start to fall, you could change it to a floor of leaves. Flat Stanley pointed out that when the leaves have been raked and put into big bags--or however the City of Portland gets rid them--then the floor of grass would show up again. He's right, too! Both of us wonder what happens to all of the leaves once they're collected. Maybe we'll go back sometime and see some sort of clue. If you know, you could tell us by leaving a Comment.
Next Flat Stanley cried, "What's that?" and took off diagonally toward the street and an old house on the corner. He climbed up for a closer look.
I explained that these quadruple water fountains are known as Benson Bubblers. Flat Stanley laughed at that!
Here's the story of how the water fountains came to exist and how they got that name, according to the City of Portland's Web site :
In 1912, Simon Benson, lumberman and civic leader, commissioned 20 drinking fountains with a $10,000 gift. He wanted to offer loggers something cold on the streets to quench their thirst. Benson once said that after the fountains were installed, saloon sales decreased 40%. The first Benson was installed at SW Fifth and Washington.
A. E. Doyle, architect of the Multnomah County Library and the Meier & Frank Building, designed the graceful bronze four-bowls.
By 1917, the City had installed 40 fountains - known as Benson Bubblers - throughout downtown. There are now 52 Benson Bubblers (four-bowl fountains). The fountains have timers so they flow freely from 5 am to 10 pm daily.
In 2005 the Portland Water Bureau installed small flow-restricting devices in the Benson bubblers to reduce the amount of water that each fountain uses. The devices do not affect the physical appearance of the fountains, but they reduce the amount of water the fountains use by 47 percent while maintaining adequate flow and pressure for drinking. The fountains use less than 1/10 of 1 percent of Portland's daily water demand.
On another Web site I found another legend about what made Benson donate the money for the water fountains--he saw a little girl crying at a parade because she was thirsty. Flat Stanley thinks maybe a girl thought up that legend. What do you think? You can tell Flat Stanley what you think--just leave a Comment for him.
When I read out loud the sign to the right of the steps up to the porch, we learned that this particular Benson Bubbler stands in front the Simon Benson House, now the home of the PSU Alumni Association and the campus Visitor Center--it was closed, doggone it.
After we got back to the apartment, we Googled and found out that the Queen Anne style house had been built by Benson in 1900 at the corner of SW 11th and Clay. Flat Stanley and I wish we had been there January 16, 2000, when the house was moved two blocks west and three blocks south to its current address, 1803 SW Park. That would have been cool! We decided it probably took a long time to move a whole house at once. We would have taken a folding lawn chair so we could sit back and enjoy the action. Slow and steady action, but that wins the race--remember the tortoise and the hare? Or is it the turtle and the rabbit these days? At my age, I prefer the tortoise and the hare.
You can see a picture of the whole house and read more about it here. There's a nifty photo and information about Simon Benson here. He also built the Benson Hotel in 1912--"Miss Edna" and I stayed there in the summer and at Christmas in 2004. I told Flat Stanley that I need to remember to take him to the lobby at Christmas so that he can see the gingerbread village and the great big Christmas tree. He agreed!