Portland YWCA Buildings

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Early Efforts

Mid-Century Growth

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Building Buildings: Early Efforts

Research by Nancy Hungerford-Levine and Patricia A. Schechter

Taylor Street, 1934

YWCA Dorm Room

 

      Of the Portland YWCA's pre-World War I accomplishments, the construction of the Taylor Street building at SW Broadway in 1908 was outstanding. The product of a joint fundraising effort between the YWCA and the YMCA, the two organizations shared a city block and even a "party wall" for fire protection between their two edifices. The early leadership scored another success with the donation of land in 1918 from Mrs. Jacob Kamm, a founding board member, for the construction of a boarding residence at SW Main and 14th Avenue. All of these early efforts benefited from the leadership of Jessie Honeyman, founder and first president of the board of directors of the Portland YWCA.

 

         
Laying Cornerstone of Taylor
Street Building
 
Taylor Parlour

 

       Honeyman's own words capture her ambition and work ethic: "A
Jessie Honeyman
task without vision is drudgery. A vision without a task is a dream. A vision with a task is victory."[1] Born Jessie Millar in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1852, she grew up to become a successful teacher. In 1876 she married Walter James Honeyman of Dundee, and the two came to Oregon in 1883. The Honeymans raised four sons and two daughters in Portland and ran a successful business. By the turn of the century, Honeyman had connected with other prosperous matrons living in and around downtown Portland through women's clubs, both religious and secular. Her leadership of the early YWCA board was complemented by her presidency of the Travelers' Aid Society during the Lewis and Clark Exposition of 1905, a position that well suited her to coordinate protective and benevolent efforts for women in the city. The highpoint of Honeyman's YWCA career was the construction of the Taylor Street building.

       Most Oregonians know the name Honeyman through the downtown hardware store that bears the name or are familiar with the Jessie M. Honeyman Memorial State Park, 555 acres located south of Florence, Oregon. The park was dedicated to honor work Honeyman completed later in life, coordinated through Oregon's Garden Clubs and Oregon Roadside Council's beautification programs. She died in 1948 at the age of 93.

1. Quoted in Ernestine Moffitt, "Jessie M. Honeyman: Woman of Spirit," Northwest Magazine, 5 August 1979, p. 31.
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