Dancing down memory lane, a Father’s Day frozen in time

by Kay Helbling

The beautiful Pittock Mansion seems an appropriate place to celebrate the last 150 years of Oregon architecture. As a part of the state’s sesquicentennial celebration, they are exhibiting some of Oregon’s familiar structures–as well as those not-so-well-known. More than 30 works were juried for their beauty, utility, or ingenuity and hang in the Mansion’s 23 rooms.

The Pittock Mansion in its own right is an architecural marvel. As a piece of Oregon history it’s a favorite stop for many tourists who visit Portland. The beauty of the structure is enhanced by the grounds and the panoramic view of the city. On a clear summer day, six mountain peaks can be seen, including the majestic Mt. Hood.

It was on just such a day that I took a tour of the mansion with my father. After walking through her rooms, we stepped out onto the wide porch that surrounds the structure. We began talking about all the wonderful parties they must have had at this amazing home. At that moment, we took a step back into history. My dad took me in his arms and we danced a slow waltz, following the porch around the structure then down the steps and across the lawn.

Over twenty years ago, the architectural genius of the Pittock Mansion provided the place for our last Waltz. He never made it back to Oregon, but with that one dance he gave his daughter a wonderful memory to cherish every Father’s Day since.

For those of you who may not waltz, but want to take in a piece of Oregon history, there isn’t  much time. The display began in February as a part of Oregon’s birthday celebration but closes on June 30. It’s a good place to make a few memories of your own.


Kay was an insurance adjuster and executive for 15 years, a small business owner and a teacher for 10. But, her most fulfilling work has been as a mother of her two boys. She is now looking forward to an empty nest with her best friend—her husband.

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