History in The News
by Nancy Olson, co-author, Cedar Mill History
Around the turn of the century, a shoemaker named Florion Osterhammer
opened a cobbler’s shop on Cornell Road in Cedar Mill. Osterhammer,
a bachelor from Bavaria, was a small man with a soft voice, sandy complexion,
red hair and mustache. In the shop, which was also his home, he always wore
a big leather apron. To select personally the fine leather used in his work,
he drove an “Indian” motorbike with sidecar into Portland.
The shoemaker was recalled by many longtime residents as an expert
craftsman. All his shoes were hand sewn, and Clara Katterman Haskell
soles lasted a long time.” Many families wore shoes made by Osterhammer.
The shoemaker also made logging and work boots for laborers in the
area as well as repairing leather goods. Children from Cedar Mill
took their torn baseballs and mitts to the elderly cobbler to be
mended, and they were allowed to run the treadle machines while he worked.
In the evenings after five o’clock when the shop had closed, Osterhammer
regularly visited the General Store, near his home, where he frequently
purchased brot, (bread), eire (eggs), peaches. He also bought tobacco
and big cigars known as “stinkers” which he especially liked.
Willard Bauer recalled that the smell of the cigars lasted for weeks
on leather goods made or repaired by Osterhammer.
One evening while Osterhammer was visiting the General Store, a gunman
came in to hold up the place. The thief told the cobbler and storekeeper
Clyde May to raise their hands. May complied, but Osterhammer,
who customarily smoked his cigar with arms folded across his chest,
refused. After a few tense moments, the thwarted gunman repeated the command,
but again Osterhammer refused . The gunman took what cash he could
and fled up Cornell Road toward Portland where he was met by the local sheriff.
was regarded as a kindly figure in the community, often loaning
money to those who needed it. Though he lived alone and was quiet by nature,
he formed many friendships in Cedar Mill. George Foege and Dave Ediger, owners
of the Cedar Mill Garage often visited with him. One morning on March 3,
1930, the two went over to check on the old shoemaker and discovered Osterhammer
had died peacefully, hands folded, and neatly tucked in his bed. The 71 year
old cobbler was buried in Mt. Calvary Cemetery in Portland.