No doubt you’ve noticed the elegant bronze water fountains in many locations downtown, and perhaps you even know that they are called Benson Bubblers. So what’s the deal behind these iconic pieces of Portland history that still flow reliably today? Let us tell you the true tale!
There once was a guy named Simon Benson who was born in Norway and immigrated to Wisconsin with his family when he was 16. In 1880 he moved to Portland with his wife and children and proceeded to take over the Pacific Northwest timber industry by storm. In fact, as a lumber baron he became so wealthy that he was officially one of Oregon’s first millionaires. What did he do with his money? He used it to help others and make the world a better place.
In 1912, to try to prevent his workers from becoming drunk at lunchtime in the saloons, Benson gave the city of Portland $10,000 to create 20 water fountains. Read more »»»