Portland is called the “Rose City” or “City of Roses” largely because of the efforts (currently unrecognized) of attorney, historian and amateur rosegrower Frederick V. Holman (1852-1927). The city’s website states: “Charles Paul Keyser (Portland Parks Superintendent 1917-1950) stated that Portland was ‘christened the City of Roses by visitors to an Episcopal Church convention which was held in the city in 1888 when the Portland Rose Society was formed.’” However, documentary evidence of an 1888 citation is lacking. In 1899, the Oregonian newspaper mentioned a rose show given by the floral section of the State Horticultural Association, and told Portlanders to “show to the strangers that this is indeed a city of roses.”
Frederick V. Holman, who served as president of the Portland Rose Society and the Oregon Historical Society, lectured Portlanders in 1901, 1902 and 1903 that they should begin planting roses so that Portland could become the “Rose City” for the 1905 Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition. The book, Portland, Oregon, the Rose City, was published in 1905, as well as “The Rose City” two-step. An annual Rose Festival began in 1907.
The City Council made the “City of Roses” nickname official in 2003.
Wikipedia: Nicknames of Portland, Oregon
City of Roses
The official, and also most common, nickname for Portland is The City of Roses or Rose City. The first known reference to Portland as “The City of Roses” was made by visitors to an 1888 Episcopal Church convention. The nickname grew in popularity after the 1905 Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition where Mayor Harry Lane suggested that the city needed a “festival of roses.” The first Portland Rose Festival was held two years later and remains the city’s major annual festival a century later. There are many other cities and towns known as Rose City or The City of Roses.
The nickname is often attributed to Leo Samuel, who founded the Oregon Life Insurance Company in 1906 (known today as Standard Insurance Company). Samuel, who moved to Portland in 1871, grew roses outside his home. He placed a pair of shears outside his garden so people could snip a rose from his garden to take for themselves. This encouraged other people and businesses to plant their own roses outside their homes and business. Today, roses are still planted outside the Standard Insurance Company’s home office building in downtown Portland.
This nickname likely inspired the name for the four-year-old female Asian elephant who arrived in 1953, Rosy. The first elephant ever to live in Oregon, she remained the matriarch of the Oregon Zoo’s herd and gave birth to six calves before her death in 1993. On August 31, 1994, her daughter Me-Tu became the first elephant in North America to have twins. On August 23, 2008, her granddaughter Rose-Tu (the surviving twin) gave birth to Samudra, the first third-generation elephant born in the United States.
On June 18, 2003, the city council unanimously approved a resolution adopting “City of Roses” as the city’s official nickname.
Portland Online—Auditor’s Office
“The City of Roses”
Most residents of Portland, if asked, would name the rose as the Portland city flower, and consider “The City of Roses” as an official city name. Many would be surprised to know that not until 2003 did the City Council pass a Resolution making it official.
Charles Paul Keyser (Portland Parks Superintendent 1917-1950) stated that Portland was “christened the City of Roses by visitors to an Episcopal Church convention which was held in the city in 1888 when the Portland Rose Society was formed. In 1889 Portland’s first annual Rose Show was held and from 1904 through 1906 the Portland Rose Society sponsored a Fiesta along with its annual rose show.
In a 1905 address at the Lewis and Clark Exposition, Mayor Harry Lane suggested that Portland needed a “festival of roses.” Two years later, in 1907, the first Rose Festival was held.
On June 18, 2003, the City Council passed Resolution 36150 adopting the City of Roses as the city’s official nickname with a unanimous vote.
30 June 1899, Morning Oregonian, pg. 5, col. 4:
ROSES FOR THE VISITORS.
PORTLAND WILL SHOW ITS FINEST FLOWERS.
Not Only Cultivated Beauties, but the Best Wild Flowers to be Exhibited.
One of the most attractive features of the programme for the entertainment of the National Editorial Association next week will be the rose show, given by the floral section of the State Horticultural Association.
Every one in Portland should be enthusiastic in this floral display and do everything possible to insure its success and show to the strangers that this is indeed a city of roses.
6 December 1901, Morning Oregonian, pg. 5, col. 2:
MAKE PORTLAND THE “ROSE CITY.”
Next Sunday’s Oregonian will contain an article by Mr. Frederick V. Holman, the well-known lawyer and amateur rosegrower, suggesting that every Portlander who has a home should plant roses in anticipation of the Lewis and Clark Centennial Celebration. Ha names a score of varieties, specially adapted to Portland’s climate, which are certain to bloom profusely from May to December—the probably period of the proposed fair. Mr. Holman is no theorist in the matter of growing roses, therefore his advice has practical value. The planting could be done next Spring, so that the young bushes shall have three years’ growth by the time the centennial comes around.
14 December 1901,Morning Oregonian, pg. 7, col. 3:
PORTLAND AS A ROSE CITY.
Lovers of the Beautiful Flower Organize for Action.
The meeting of lovers of roses, which was called for last night to organize a rose club, was one of the best attended of any of a purely public spirited meeting that has been held in Portland for many days. F. V. Holman’s office proved entirely too small for the comfort of the large number present, over two-thirds of whom were ladies.
9 March 1902, Sunday Oregonian (Portland, OR), Society, pg. 5, col. 2:
ROSE CLUB’S PUBLIC MEETING. (...) No admission will be charged, and all persons interested in makingPortland a “rose city” are urged to attend.
Pg. 20, col. 1:
A novel idea was carried out in the dinner cards. Portland being represented as a “city of roses,” each card bearing an appropriate verse.
14 March 1902, Morning Oregonian (Portland, OR), pg. 10, col. 2:
TO MAKE A ROSE CITY.
Novel Idea for Lewis and Clark Fair Gains Strength.
The Unitarian chapel was crowded last evening with a gathering of representative people who turned out to hear the lecture of William S. Sibson, entitled, “Selection, Planting, Cultivation and Management of the Rose for Exhibition.” The lecture was delivered under the auspices of the Portland Rose Club, and was once of the best ever heard in the city.
Mr. Sibson began by relating his methods of preparing roses for exhibition, and told, in general, of his methods of cultivation. The different varieties of roses were discussed at some length, particular attention beinggiven to those that thrive in this climate. The care of the rosebush during the Autumn and Winter months was minutely described.
In conclusion, Mr. Sibson said: “I am in hearty sympathy with the suggestion of my friend and fellow amateur, Mr. F. V. Holman, to make Portland a ‘City of Roses,’ and if our people will take up with the idea it can be done. I may say that, to a great extent, our city already deserves this title, as all will admite who have visited its residence districts in Summer and seen its many gardens graced with beautiful specimens of the rose. But to consummate this idea properly, it is not only in the yards and gardens of our fine residences that the rose should be found. It is also the poor man’s flower, and should be grown by all our people. There is no home so humble but what can be improved, beautified and endeared to its occupant, by roses.”
OCLC WorldCat record
Portland, Oregon, the rose city.
Publisher: Cincinnati, O., Tom Jones, ©1905.
Edition/Format: Book : English
OCLC WorldCat record
The Rose City: march: two step
Author: Edward M Courtienne-Dworzak; Ore. Eng. Co. Oregon Engraving Co. (engraver); University of Oregon. Libraries. Historic Sheet Music Collection.
Publisher: Portland, Or. Ed. M. Courtienne-Dworzak and the Fischer Music Co. 1905.
Edition/Format: Downloadable musical score : English
OCLC WorldCat record
Rose City Park : shaded lots indicate sales to March 18.
Author: Alvin S Hawk
Publisher: Portland, Ore. : A.S. Hawk Co., 
Edition/Format: Map : English
OCLC WorldCat record
Portland, Oregon “The city of roses.”
Author: George L Hutchins
Publisher: [Portland, Ore., Walker & Weinstein Bros., 190-]
Edition/Format: Book : English
Portland, Oregon, its history and builders: in connection with the antecedent explorations, discoveries, and movements of the pioneers that selected the site for the great city of the Pacific (Volume 1)
By Joseph Gaston
Chicago, IL: S.J. Clarke Pub. Co.
Portland was named “The rose city” by Mr. Frank E. Beach, president of the North Western Insurance Company. It was made “the rose city” by the indefatigable labors of Mr. Frederick V. Holman, an enthusiastic rose culturist, who talked, taught and wrote all about the culture of roses for years while he practiced law and wrote history.
“The rose festival” was proposed by Mr. E. W. Rowe, who was also the first president of the Rose Festival Association’ and was made the great success that it is by Mr. George L. Hutchin, who has always been the general manager of the festival, and by Mr. Ralph W. Hoyt, now president of the Rose Festival Association, and who has devoted his time and money freely to the work of raising funds and generally promoting the success ofthe grand annual festival.
OCLC WorldCat record
Portland, Oregon; the city of roses.
Author: Oregon-Washington Railroad and Navigation Company.
Publisher: Portland, Ore. 
Series: Pub., no. 45
Edition/Format: Book : English : 2. ed
7 July 1927, Morning Oregonian, pg. 5, col. 1:
ENDS LONG CAREER
Frederick V. Holman Passes Away at Home Here.
ROSE CITY HIS TRIBUTE
Flower Fancier, Lawyer, Writer, Credited With Name Which Made City Famous.
He would have been 75 years old on August 29.
(...) (Col. 2—ed.)
Because of his connection with rose culture, in which he had been engaged as an amateur for many years, Mr. Holman was well known. He won the amateur gold medal in the exhibition of roses at the Lewis and Clark exposition held in Portland, and also at the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific exposition inSeattle, and won many first prizes at Portland annual rose shows. He aroused local interest in rose growing by his numerous contributions on the subject to local publications, and also by the publciation of a pamphlet. He also was one of the organizers of the Portland Rose society, or which he served as president for several years. He gave Portland the name of the Rose City. His home for 60 years was 500 Taylor street, corner Lownsdale.
8 July 1927, Morning Oregonian, pg. 11, col. 6:
HOLMAN FUNERAL TODAY
Roses from Mr. Holman’s own garden at the family residence, 500 Taylor street, will sahre a place on the casket with the choices blooms of Portland rose culturists, nearly all of them were well acquainted with the man who gave Portland the (Col. 7—ed.) title of “The Rose City.” The Taylor-street garden, long known as one of the show places of the city, contains rare and beautiful rose specimens from all over the world. The Hadley rose, Mr. Holman’s personal favorite, will have prominent place among the floral tributes.
Oregon (Beaver State Dictionary) • (0) Comments • Thursday, June 14, 2012 • Permalink