Very few people in Hillsboro, Oregon are not thinking about growth these days. It has been astronomical and mindboggling these past few years. Even in the middle of this pandemic, the roads are choked with gravel trucks, pipe and lumber haulers, and all sorts of people coming to build the city. Industrial is swallowing up North Hillsboro even as residential developments in South Hillsboro rise to the sky!
Hard to imagine that NE Grant Street in what we think of as downtown was the North edge of town. Well in 1931 it was and thanks to longtime resident Tammy Burgard and her family we can see it in black and white. These precious frames of cellulose hold a magical truth- Hillsboro really was a little town. Having said that look at these cars and houses. Her family and those in these photos all look pretty happy and it was the very midpoint of the Great Depression. Good for them that they were holding up so well. Maybe this film was meant to show their strength and pride in our town at a time when all had completely fallen apart. In fact, many Hillsboro families were wiped out completely and left by 1931. The City of Hillsboro had a population of 3,039 in 1931. That is only 3% of our current population.
There are some parallels to what is happening now. COVID-19 is taking many businesses to the brink and over the edge too. Families are stretched thin and frazzled and Winter has just started. This election has been a soul crusher for both sides of the aisle and it seems at times the sky has fallen. Take heart, my friends- look at these citizens of our fine town who faced down a much worse scenario and made it. We will make it too.
Maybe this film is coming back around some 90 years later to remind us of how far we have come and how far we can go. In 2110, 90 years from now, someone like me will be writing a story about the people of Hillsboro, Oregon, and watching someone’s YouTube film and making some similar observations perhaps. Let’s just hope there is someone like Tammy Brugard posting some film like this!
Thank you Tammy for the great look back!