"Portland had a
population of three or four hundred people who had settled near the river.
Back of the few small buildings which had been hastily thrown up stood a virgin
forest. In the one or two streets laid out, there were still the stumps of
great fir trees. The stock of goods with which Josiah and Henry Failing
were to begin business did not arrive until October. While waiting for
their arrival, the occupied themselves in building a store for their reception,
twenty-two feet front and fifty feet deep, on the lot in the southwest corner of
Front and Oak streets. This was replaced by a brick building in 1859 and
the original wooden structure was removed to the lot in the rear." (Gaston)
Much of the merchandise that they ordered from time to time was lost at sea but they persisted in building up a sturdy business patronized by an ever increasing cliental
From the notes of Harley Hallgren. Photo of Mr. Failing (OrHi #99140)
Josiah Failing was a business man with a solid reputation for integrity and common sense. On April 4, 1853 he was elected Mayor of Portland. He served until March 1854. He was known as the "Dean of Front Street" because of his advanced age (forty-seven). He was the driving force in the founding of Portland's public schools.
From the book "Portland", by Jewel Lansing.
Return to Church History 1851