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British names in view

For years I lived in the town of Newberg, Oregon. There were a number of British influences that popped out at me as I established my practice in this small town in rural Yamhill County.

These were not always what they seemed to be. I remember looking for a house I could buy and being told on one occasion that I was going to be shown a “two-door”. It was only later I realised I was being shown a “Tudor”, though not one you or I would recognise.

But Newberg was full of British names. The university in the town was called George Fox, after the English founder of the Quakers, or Friends. A secondary school was named CS Lewis, the British author of the Chronicles of Narnia and much else. The public library was called the Carnegie Library because it was endowed by the British-born industrialist.

Friends lived on a residential street named Haworth, after the home of the Brontes. The two mountains visible from the town had been named by officers sailing with George Vancouver and surveying the Pacific Coast in 1792. Mt Hood was named after British admiral Samuel Hood, and Mt St Helens was named after the British diplomat, Alleyne Fitzherbert, 1st Baron St Helens. (Mt St Helens’s 1980 eruption was seen by millions. The previous eruption was seen by only a few native Americans and British fur traders, and was described in the Edinburgh New Philosophical Journal in 1835.)

It was mildly comforting to have these British names in view.

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