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Cedar Mill News
Volume 3, Issue 11


November 2005

History in The News
The Shoemaker
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 remembered “his 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.

Osterhammer 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.



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The Cedar Mill News
Published monthly by the Cedar Mill Business Association, Inc.,
P.O. Box 91177
Portland, OR 97291-0177

Publisher/Editor:Virginia Bruce
12110 NW West Rd
Portland, OR 97229