During our recent research adventures on Alberta Street, we bumped into some stories about the perceived corrupting influence of pool halls, and the advocacy of local mothers. We were wandering around in newspapers from the 19-teens as we sought insights about Ford’s Pool Hall at NE 17th and Alberta. As it turns out, there were several pool halls along with all the other businesses on Alberta and local mothers were not happy about it.
We know the Fords got out of the pool hall business entirely in 1917. Maybe they saw the writing on the wall.
Classified ad from the Oregon Journal, June 28, 1917. George and Sylvia Ford were selling their pool hall business.
By the early 1920s, mothers of the Alberta area were concerned and brought their protests to City Hall.
From The Oregonian, January 27, 1921. The building at 212 Alberta has been demolished.
From The Oregonian, February 12, 1921. This pool hall was in located at 2038 NE Alberta, the building now occupied by Little Big Burger. Think about that the next time you drop by for a chèvre burger and fries…
Reading these two news stories, it’s hard to know what is most striking, the patronizing nature of the officials toward the obviously concerned mothers making the complaint, the admirable boldness of the women bringing their concerns directly into City Hall, or the notion that spending time in a pool hall would lead to the corruption of youth.