The Robinson Family and the Multnomah Paint Store
We get more questions about this building than any other in Multnomah. We also know less about it than any other building in Multnomah. Thanks to a visitor to our website, we now know more about its early history.
Julie Dieringer thought a picture of a car on our website looked like a picture she’d found while sorting through a relative’s old photos, and called us to see what we knew about the photo. Like many of the photos given to us by the estate of Ed Colvin, we knew nothing about the photo. Julie, however, did. We confirmed the photos were a match, and Julie came by the History Center with a bunch of photos from her relative’s collection.
Julie had the original copies of several photos on our website. It was one of those finds you cherish as an historian. A dozen or so original photographs from Multnomah’s early years, with subject notations on the back of the photos. We had copies of some of the photos, but Julie’s originals had so much detail lost in the copying.
The building started life as a paint store. If you look closely in the windows, you can see metal containers.
From 1912 to 1918 Julie’s Great Grandfather Solomon “Grant” Robinson (“Dad” Robinson to the family) worked in the paint store on the ground floor, and lived upstairs with his family: Wife Allicia (Allie) Doughton Robinson, and daughters Melba Robinson, Lorita (Rita, Julie’s grandmother)Robinson, and Lolita (Lita) Robinson.
Melba married Andrew McDuffie Vincent of Portland. He was a well-known Oregon artist and taught art at the U of O for many years.
Lorita married Karl Wenger of Salem. He was of Swiss decent and worked in banking in Salem Oregon.
Lolita married Leo Graber of Salem. His family were also Oregon pioneers like the Robinsons.
We don’t yet know who owned the paint store, or even its real name. If you have any more information on this building, please let us know.