Thurman Street

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As printed originally in the Oregonian, October 28, 1921[1], origin of Thurman Street's name.

Men well informed in the history and the early citizenry of Portland are unable to recall the man for whom T street was renamed and the doubt which now exists regarding the name of Thurman street bids well to be permanent. The scheme was to rename those streets lettered in alphabetical order after pioneers and men who had played some part in the developing the city.

There is, no doubt, someone who remembers the Thurman for whom the street was named, or perhaps some written record of his life, but those who have made a point of familiarizing themselves with the city’s history are not aware of its existence.

The old city directories in the library of the Oregon Historical society throw little light on the name. The first directory, published in 1863, has a Nathan Thurman, running a saloon at 8 Taylor street, but in 1864 he had taken another occupation, so it is not likely that he had endeared himself through contributions to the conviviality of the community as a saloon-keeper to any extend that would warrant the honor of naming a street after him 30 years later.

Is is probably that Nathan Thurman died in 1868 as his name is dropped from the city directoy the following year. His wife, Cynthia Ann, and two sones, Ed, a printer, and G. W. Thurman, a telegraph operation, appear in the directly in 1872. The widow died in 1875 and Ed Thurman left the city in 1876. His brother remained in the city until 1885, when with daughter Kate, he disappeared and is known to have gone to California. Other men bearing the name of Thurman appeared during the ’80s but remained only a year or two.

This, so far as printed records are concerned, is the history of the name of Thurman in the annals of the city. Whether the street name honors the family is not known.

References