This Saturday and next bring opportunities to see not only some of Portland's most attractive historic homes, but also to trace the steps of a favorite son who gave voice to Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig and a litany of Looney Tunes characters.
First, tomorrow (July 23) brings the Mel Blanc walking tour, beginning at the Hollywood Theatre. Led by film historians Dennis Nyback and Bill Crawford, the tour will match key life events described in Mel Blanc’s autobiography (That's Not All Folks) with the Rose City locations where they occurred. Some of the buildings important in the life of Mel Blanc still stand. Where the building no longer stands, Dennis and Bill will describe what is gone, as with the Portland Hotel, Oregonian Tower, Orpheum Theater*) and explain what that location meant to the young artist. Nyback will start the tour with a short program of rare films at the Hollywood Theatre.
This tour is a great way for all Mel Blanc scholars and enthusiasts to integrate appreciation of his genius with everyday knowledge of the city. How much has changed? What has stayed the same? How did animation lightning strike twice at Lincoln High School, producing both Mel Blanc and Matt Groening?
Highlights will include Neighborhood House, where he learned to play the violin; Lincoln Hall, where he invented the Woody Woodpecker laugh; the Multnomah Hotel, where he was discovered; *Oregonian Tower*, where he first performed as a voice artist; and the *Steel Bridge*, where a tragic childhood accident took place which would inadvertently lead to his discovery of radio, whichhe loved for his entire life.
Mills House (image courtesy Architectural Heritage Center)
The second annual Heritage Homes Tour, set for July 30, showcases a fascinating potpourri of architectural styles and distinguished architects. Proceeds benefit the Architectural Heritage Center’s education programs, advocacy efforts, and collections stewardship.
The five homes offered on this tour span five decades of residential construction in Portland and represent a variety of styles and notable architects.
The Lewis H. and Elinor Mills House, built in 1916 in Portland’s Nob Hill neighborhood, was designed by Boston architect Charles Coolidge. Lumberman Mills was the son of banker Abbott L. Mills and Evelyn Scott Lewis, descendants of Captain John Couch. A wedding gift to Mills and his wife Elinor, the home displays all of the hallmarks of the Colonial Revival style.
The Samuel W. King House, built around 1900 in the King’s Hill neighborhood, was home to Portland’s first Superintendent of Public Schools and later co-founder of the successful Olds and King dry goods firm. The home is one of the earliest in the district in the Colonial Revival style.
The Heritage Homes Tour is presented by the Architectural Heritage Center.