Research Guide: Multnomah County Poor Farm records
Multnomah County’s first home for poor residents was Hillside Farm. The facility opened in 1869 and was located in Portland’s West Hills. In 1910, community members inspected the building. They found it to be in deplorable condition. In 1911, the Multnomah County Poor Farm opened in Troutdale to replace Hillside Farm. The Poor Farm expanded to 345 acres of land tended by its residents. In the mid-20th century, farming operations waned. The institution’s name changed several times. By 1964, the facility was operating as the Edgefield Manor nursing home. The nursing home housed residents until it closed in 1982. The property remained vacant for several years. In 1990, local hospitality chain McMenamins purchased and restored the property. It now serves as an entertainment and lodging complex.
All Poor Farm records
- To see the complete list of all holdings in Multnomah County Archives related to the Multnomah County Poor Farm, visit the archives catalog page for Edgefield Manor records.
- To see digital records currently available online, visit the Edgefield Manor collection in the digital archives.
You can find Multnomah County Poor farm records in the digital archives using the following search terms. Or click on one of the links below to see the search results automatically.
Resident admissions register
The Multnomah County Poor Farm resident admissions register contains the names of individuals who were admitted to the Multnomah County Poor Farm from 1900-1962. Earlier records in this series also include the names of individuals admitted to Hillside Farm or the Multnomah County Hospital. There are eight volumes in the series, seven of which are available online.
Individual records may contain any or all of the following data: Date, name, nativity, disease, occupation, religion, domestic relation, address of relatives or friends, how long in Oregon, former residence, assignation (hospital or poor farm), date of admission, when discharged, cause of discharge, date of death, disposition of remains, grave number.
An index for the admissions register is available and is arranged alphabetically by surname.
If you are looking for the record of a particular individual:
- Click on the letter above that corresponds to the first letter of the individual’s surname – the index for that letter will open.
- Locate the listing for the individual. (Depending on the application you are using, you may be able to use its search functionality (CTRL + F).)
- Make a note of the Book # and Page # in the left two columns.
- From the list above, click on the link to the relevant Volume (Book #).
- When you are at the web page for the volume, select the folder that contains the “Single pages.”
- In the search box to “Search within…” the Folder, enter the Page # from the index.
See the expanded instructions with examples for additional assistance.
Want to find out more about the history of the Multnomah County Poor Farm? Check out the following resources to explore further:
- Nesbit, Sharon. Multnomah County Poor Farm (Edgefield). The Oregon Encyclopedia.
- Hills, Tim and Nesbit, Sharon. McMenamins Vintage Edgefield, A History of The Multnomah County Poor Farm. Portland: McMenamins, Inc, 2002.