Madame Caroline Testout: The Rose that Made Portland Famous

Woman admiring Caroline Testout rose hedge NW 25th & Lovejoy

March 9 – June 17, 2018

  • Family-friendly
  • Free for Members
  • Researchers
  • Handicap Accessible Friendly

Location:
Oregon Historical Society
1200 SW Park Ave
Portland, Oregon 97205
Get Directions

Visitors were astonished by the rose-lined streets of Portland when they arrived for the Lewis & Clark Exposition in 1905. Rose mania was underway and Portland became internationally known as the Rose City. The year 1907 saw the beginning of the Rose Festival with hedges and home gardens providing millions of roses for floats, women's hats, and anything else that could be covered in roses.

Rose fervor was dying down by the 1920s, but dedicated citizens issued passionate pleas to keep the streets lined with roses and to keep Portland the Rose City. The following decades saw rose planting revivals, but the glorious era of rose-edged streets had passed.

This exhibit chronicles the story of Madame Caroline Testout, the pink rose that made Portland famous and turned Stumptown into the City of Roses.

 
1907 Portland Rose Show & Fiesta. Caroline Testout on the handbill
1907 Portland Rose Show & Fiesta. Caroline Testout on the handbill
1909 Rose Fiesta parade entry. Man on horse covered with Caroline Testout roses
1909 Rose Fiesta parade entry. Man on horse covered with Caroline Testout roses
1913 Prize Winners at the Portland Rose Show. Photograph by Electric Studio owned by Arthur B. Cross
1913 Prize Winners at the Portland Rose Show. Photograph by Electric Studio owned by Arthur B. Cross
1965 print of Caroline Testout rose by artist J. Kaplicka
1965 print of Caroline Testout rose by artist J. Kaplicka
Beautiful Oregon Rose, Official Sheet of the Rose Festival in 1921 and 1922. Caroline Testout on cover.
Beautiful Oregon Rose, Official Sheet of the Rose Festival in 1921 and 1922. Caroline Testout on cover.
Caroline Testout rose bed East Garden Block in Ladd's Addition, June 2017
Caroline Testout rose bed East Garden Block in Ladd's Addition, June 2017
Caroline Testout rose hedge and rose archway at NE 25th & Lovejoy. Cross & Dimmit real photo post card.
Caroline Testout rose hedge and rose archway at NE 25th & Lovejoy. Cross & Dimmit real photo post card.
Caroline Testout rose hedge growing along the curb in Portland, Oregon
Caroline Testout rose hedge growing along the curb in Portland, Oregon
Caroline Testout rose photograph by Rich Baer, Portland Rose Society
Caroline Testout rose photograph by Rich Baer, Portland Rose Society
Caroline Testout roses growing in Ladd's Addition East Garden Block, June 2017
Caroline Testout roses growing in Ladd's Addition East Garden Block, June 2017
Caroline Testout, Prize Rose at Portland Fiesta, 1907
Caroline Testout, Prize Rose at Portland Fiesta, 1907
Display of Caroline Testout roses at 1910 Portland Rose Show held at  Armory in NW Portland
Display of Caroline Testout roses at 1910 Portland Rose Show held at Armory in NW Portland
Oregon woman wearing hat   embelished with roses freshly picked from  adjacent rose bush
Oregon woman wearing hat embelished with roses freshly picked from adjacent rose bush
Portland Letter Carriers with mailbags full of Caroline Testout roses, circa 1909. Portland Studio
Portland Letter Carriers with mailbags full of Caroline Testout roses, circa 1909. Portland Studio
Portland Rose club car on the Union Pacific Portland Rose Train
Portland Rose club car on the Union Pacific Portland Rose Train
Rose and flower embelished hats were very fashionable during Rose Festival. Five Willamette Valley friends are wearing their finest hats.
Rose and flower embelished hats were very fashionable during Rose Festival. Five Willamette Valley friends are wearing their finest hats.
Two women with stylish large hats. Cal Calvert Studio at City Park, Washington Street entrance.
Two women with stylish large hats. Cal Calvert Studio at City Park, Washington Street entrance.
Woman admiring Caroline Testout rose hedge NW 25th & Lovejoy
Woman admiring Caroline Testout rose hedge NW 25th & Lovejoy
Woman posing with Caroline Testout roses. Multnomah Studio Portland, Ore.
Woman posing with Caroline Testout roses. Multnomah Studio Portland, Ore.