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What City's Name Was Determined by a Coin Flip?

Updated May 17, 2024
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Portland, Oregon's name was determined by a coin flip.

Portland is the largest city in Oregon with a population of about 600,000 as of 2013. The city was named in 1845. Asa Lovejoy and Francis Pettygrove had to make the decision as they both owned the area. They had their hometowns in mind for potential names. Lovejoy was from Boston, Massachusetts, while Pettygrove was from Portland, Maine.

Finally, a coin toss decided whether Oregon's largest city would be named Portland or Boston. Lovejoy and Pettygrove tossed a coin three times and Pettygrove won two times out of three. The Oregon Historical Society Museum displays the coin believed to have been used.

More about Portland:

  • The first post office in Portland opened in 1849.
  • The Rose Festival is an annual festival held in Portland every year. The first Rose Festival was in 1907.
  • Before he became famous, Clark Gable worked at Meier & Frank, a famous store in Portland. Meier & Frank was founded in 1857 and Macy's purchased Meier & Frank in 2006.
UnitedStatesNow is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

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