A Flip of the Coin

Front Street buildings in Portland, 1852
The year is 1845. There is a new city in Oregon. It is by the Willamette River.



Wagon and horse on old Oregon Trail
People come from far away. They want to live there. They move to Oregon in wagons.



Pioneer woman with covered wagon
“What is the new city’s name?” the people ask.



Francis Pettygrove
Francis Pettygrove comes from Portland, Maine. He wants to name the new city Portland.



Asa Lovejoy
Asa Lovejoy comes from Boston, Massachusetts. He wants to name the new city Boston.



hand with thumb flipping coin
The men can’t decide. So they find a penny. They flip the coin three times.



Portland Penny - front
First, it is heads. “Portland!” says Francis.



Portland Penny - back
Second, it is tails. “Boston!” says Asa.



Portland Penny - front
Third, it is heads again. “Portland!” says Francis. “Portland” says Asa.



The name of the new city is Portland, Oregon.



The city looks very different today …



Oregon Historical Society entrance 2014
… but the penny is the same. You can see the penny at a museum in downtown Portland. It is at the Oregon Historical Society.



Comprehension Questions



Discussion Question
  • Work with a partner. Flip a coin 10 times. Count heads. Count tails.
  • Now flip 10 more times. Is it the same? Or is it different? Why?





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Portland People and Places Copyright © 2018 by Timothy Krause is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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