Hon. Frank C. Baker’s generous gift to Portland charities.

1907 US $ 5.00 note/U.S. Mint

When reading old newspapers we often come across value of estates, the cost of goods for sale, etc.  It is interesting to know what the value of these amounts are in today’s dollar.  The Consumer Price Index began in 1914 and many calculators begin with this date.  There are some calculators that begin much earlier, while the criteria vary for these calculators, they will give you a feel for the value in today’s dollars. Below is the link to the calculator I used for this article on Hon. Frank C. Baker’s will value.


Eugene Morning Register – January 10, 1907, page 2, col. 2.

“Hon. Frank C. Baker*, who died in Portland recently left an estate valued at $ 250,000 [5.8 million in 2009 $]. The will leaves $ 2500 [$ 58,900] each to the Portland Baby’s home, Boys and Girls Aid society, the Children’s Home, Florence Crittenton Refuge Home, Patton Home for the aged, the Y.M.C.A. Y.W.C.A. and the Salvation Army.  There is also set aside $ 15,000 – 25,000 [$ 353,000-589,000] for a monument to the memory of Oregon pioneers and $ 1500 [$ 35,300] each for 8 drinking fountains also $ 50,000 [$ 1,180,000] for beautifying the parks.  The balance of his fortune goes to his wife and relatives.”

* Hon. Frank C. Baker was a prominent politician in Oregon and the State Printer for two terms.  He also organized the typographical union. 

When I first read this article I thought of the bubbling fountains that are on the streets of downtown Portland and if these were the drinking fountains that Frank Baker donated.  In searching this further the fountains I was thinking of, were actually the donated by Simon Benson.  Benson a Portland lumber baron and philanthropist donated money for the bubbling fountains.  He was a “teetotaler” and hoped alcohol consumption would drop if fresh water was available on the street.  He was correct – beer consumption did drop by a reported 20%.

So were Hon. Frank Baker’s drinking fountains ever constructed and are they still in existence today, I do not know.



About gtoftdahl

Researching in Oregon Newspapers
This entry was posted in Eugene Morning Register, Portland History, Research helps and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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