Portland, Multnomah Co., Oregon

Portland, Multnomah Co., Oregon

The first Volga Germans, about seventeen families, arrived in Portland in 1881 after spending several years on the Kansas plains. Members of this vanguard included Conrad Appel, Phillip Fuchs, George Green, Henry Repp, and several Kleweno, Ochs, and Scheuermann families. They had first immigrated to Rush and Barton Counties in Kansas between 1875 and 1878. Most were from the colonies of Neu-Yagodnaya-Polyana, Schöntal, and Schönfeld, which were daughter colonies of Yagodnaya-Polyana and neighboring Pobochnaya. The group obtained special emigrant fares through the Union Pacific Railroad and Oregon Steam Navigation Company to travel to Portland where they had heard good farmland was available.

According to Richard Scheuerman in his book Palouse Country: A Land and Its People, the Volga Germans were disappointed to discover in Oregon that the best lands had already been taken and that the ground was available was unfit for cultivation. The frustrated immigrants turned to work at a local lumber mill and for the railroad, which was then grading the huge Albina fill in present Portland. In the spring of 1881, these Volga Germans learned that the railroad officials were offering to sell 150,000 acres of “the finest agricultural lands in the northwest,” east of the Cascades, which would be accessible by rail in 1882. When approached by the Volga Germans, the railroad officials saw their opportunity to implement their new plans for colonization of the Palouse country in Washington. Several representatives traveled to eastern Washington to inspect the available lands. They returned favorably impressed with the land’s fertility. The hilly topography reminded them of the Bergseite along the Volga.

Railroad magnate Henry Villard chose a retired brigadier general, Thomas R. Tannatt, who had commanded Union forces, to be the general agent of his new company, the Oregon Improvement Company, which was headquartered in Portland. Tannatt was the one who later arranged for colonization of the Palouse by the Volga Germans and other immigrants. These Volga German families that briefly settled in Portland were instrumental in the colonization and development of the Palouse country near the towns of Endicott, St. John, Dusty, and Colfax.

George Rath, in his book Emigration from Germany through Poland and Russia to the U.S.A., states that the oldest settlement of Evangelical Volga Germans in Oregon was in Portland. In 1882, colonists from Norka, who had at first settled in Iowa and Nebraska, came by train to San Francisco. These immigrants worked for the Union Pacific Railroad and were either brought to or terminated their employment in San Francisco. From there they sailed by ship to Portland where they were employed as day laborers in factories. In 1888-1890, after some years in which there were no new arrivals, Portland received another influx of Volga German colonists originally from Balzer and Frank. However, the majority of Portland's Volga German immigrants arrived between 1890-1905. Colonists Norka comprise the bulk of around 500 families in the existing settlement. They populated an entire ward in northeast Portland and were organized in a number or religious congregations. In 1892, a group of colonists from Catholic colonies along the Volga arrived in Portland from Topeka, Kansas.

Volga German Congregations: 

Ebenezer German Congregational Church
First German Baptist Church
Free Evangelical Brethren Church
German Evangelical Brethren Congregational Church
Mennonite Brethren Church
St. Agatha Catholic Church
St. Mary's / Immaculate Heart Catholic Church
St. Paul's Evangelical and Reformed Church
Second German Congregational Church
Trinity Lutheran Church
Zion Congregational Church

Volga German Families: 

The following Volga German families settled in and around Portland:

Albert from Norka
Albrecht from Norka
Alt from Norka
Amen from Frank
Arnbrister from Galka
Arndt from Norka
Aschenbrenner from Norka
Bastron from Frank
Bauer from Norka
Bernhardt from Frank
Biehn from Norka
Blatner from Kamenka
Blum / Bloom from Norka
Böckel from Kutter
Borgardt from Schwed
Brehm from Norka
Brenner from Norka
Bretthauer from Brunnental
Brill from Norka
Brun from Norka
Burbach from Norka
Deines from Norka
Denner from Franzosen
Derr from Norka
Dick from Norka
Dillman from Norka
Dinges from Norka
Dittloff from Semenovka
Döring from Norka
Dreher from Ober-Monjou
Ebel from Stephan
Eckhardt from Frank
Eichler from Dönhof
Eisel from Norka
Elsasser from Galka
Erdmann from Grimm
Feuerstein from Norka
Fink from Norka
Fischer from Schwab
Flohr from Merkel
Fritzler from Grimm
Frueauf from Norka
Fuchs from Norka
Gallinger from Hildmann
Geist from Kraft
Georg / Jörg from Norka
Gerlach from Norka
Giebelhaus from Norka
Glanz from Norka
Glass from Norka
Gobel from Norka
Grasmick from Balzer
Grün / Green from Norka
Greenwald from Brunnental
Hagelganz from Kutter
Hahn from Norka
Hamberger from Norka
Hardung / Hartung / Harding
Heinrich from Norka
Helzer from Norka
Herder from Beideck
Hergert from Brunnental
Henkel from Norka
Henrich from Hildmann
Hessler from Norka
Heuser / Heiser from Norka
Hildermann from Holstein
Hochnadel from Schuck
Hohnstein from Norka
Hopp from Frank
Horst from Norka
Huwa from Volmer
Ingenthron from Kamenka
Jacobi from Norka
Jäger / Yeager from Norka
Jost / Yost from Norka
Kaiser / Keiser from Norka
Kammerzell from Frank
Kaufmann from Schilling
Kechter from Walter
Klaus from Norka
Klein from Köhler
Knaus from Balzer
Knaus from Moor
Knippel from Norka
Kniss from Norka
Koch from Kolb
Koch from Müller
Koch from Norka
Kohler / Keller / Kehler / Kaylor from Norka
Komlofske from Husaren
Kreick from Huck
Kress from Schuck
Krieger from Norka
Kuhltau / Kilthau from Norka
Langmann from Reinwald
Lebsack from Frank
Lehl from Norka
Lehr from Norka
Lesser from Frank
Lind from Dönhof
Lofink from Norka
Loos from Norka
Lorenz from Näb
Mai from Kratzke
Maier from Dreispitz
Maul from Norka
Mehler from Eckheim
Mehling from Hussenbach
Melcher from Brunnental
Metzler from Dobrinka
Miller from Norka
Morasch from Yagodnaya-Polyana
Nagel from Norka
Neuman from Kutter
Nolde from Norka
Pauli from Norka
Pfenning from Norka
Popp from Norka
Reich from Norka
Reifschneider from Norka
Reispich / Reiswig from Norka
Rehn from Kolb
Rekart from Köhler
Relke from Holstein
Repp from Norka
Reuscher from Norka
Rieger from Kutter
Ross from Norka
Rothermel from Norka
Sauer from Norka
Schäfer from Grimm
Schäfer from Huck
Schäfer from Norka
Schanaman from Norka
Schechtel from Schuck
Scheidemann from Norka
Schibel from Messer
Schilling from Norka
Schleicher from Norka
Schleining from Norka
Schlitt from Norka
Schmer from Norka
Schneider from Norka
Schnell from Norka
Schossler from Walter
Schreiber from Norka
Schreiner from Kolb
Schwab from Hussenbach
Schwan from Franzosen
Schwartz from Norka
Schwindt from Norka
Seder from Norka
Sell from Frank
Sinner from Norka
Sittner from Huck
Spady from Norka
Spieker from Norka
Spreier from Dietel
Steinfeld from Holstein
Steinmetz from Hoffental
Steinpreis from Reinwald
Sterkel from Norka
Stricker from Rosenberg
Traudt from Norka
Trieber from Norka
Unrein from Ober-Monjou
Wacker / Walker from Norka
Wagner from Frank
Wagner from Kraft
Wasemüller from Rosenberg
Weber from Beideck
Weber from Norka
Weckesser from Anton
Weidenkeller from Norka
Weigandt from Norka
Weitz from Yagodnaya-Polyana
Weitzel from Norka
Weitzel from Frank
Wilhelm from Huck
Wilhelm from Kolb
Will from Norka
Wolf from Norka
Wunsch from Galka
Zilch from Norka


- The Volga Germans in Portland (Steve Schreiber)
- Scheuerman, Richard D. & Clifford E. Trafzer. The Volga Germans: Pioneers of the Northwest. Moscow, ID: University of Idaho Press, 1985.


- Lincoln Park Cemetery (findagrave.com)
- Mount Calvary Cemetery (findagrave.com)
- Multnomah Park Cemetery (findagrave.com)
- Rose City Cemetery (findagrave.com)
- Willamette National Cemetery (findagrave.com)

Pre-Volga Origin

Albina neighborhood of Portland showing the intersection at N. Vancouver Ave. & N. Russell St. in 1909.
Photo courtesy of Steve Schreiber.

Volga Colonies

Latitude: 49.861944
Longitude: 7.513056
Latitude: 50.595090
Longitude: 10.300612
Latitude: 50.348889
Longitude: 9.328611
Latitude: 50.260556
Longitude: 9.003611
Latitude: 49.851389
Longitude: 7.527222
Latitude: 50.465833
Longitude: 9.903333
Latitude: 50.445014
Longitude: 8.925147
Latitude: 50.433333
Longitude: 6.416667
Latitude: 55.191667
Longitude: 30.205556
Latitude: 50.343889
Longitude: 9.210556
Latitude: 50.243528
Longitude: 8.651750
Latitude: 48.934722
Longitude: 10.974444
Latitude: 49.292500
Longitude: 6.535000
Latitude: 49.350000
Longitude: 8.150000
Latitude: 49.563333
Longitude: 8.247500
Latitude: 50.851944
Longitude: 9.555000
Latitude: 49.871944
Longitude: 8.958610
Latitude: 48.693600
Longitude: 6.184600
Latitude: 54.333333
Longitude: 10.133333
Latitude: 50.327778
Longitude: 9.170000
Latitude: 50.330000
Longitude: 9.198333
Latitude: 50.187222
Longitude: 9.156111
Latitude: 50.183056
Longitude: 9.137778
Latitude: 50.161111
Longitude: 9.091389
Latitude: 48.734167
Longitude: 8.664444
Latitude: 49.318333
Longitude: 9.132500
Latitude: 50.242500
Longitude: 9.142222
Latitude: 50.386111
Longitude: 9.296944
Latitude: 50.386111
Longitude: 9.296944
Latitude: 50.199722
Longitude: 9.111389
Latitude: 50.333308
Longitude: 9.711272
Latitude: 50.314722
Longitude: 9.331389
Latitude: 50.303889
Longitude: 9.298333
Latitude: 50.314722
Longitude: 9.291944
Latitude: 50.312778
Longitude: 9.624167
Latitude: 50.616389
Longitude: 8.968889
Latitude: 49.607500
Longitude: 7.873889
Latitude: 49.421829
Longitude: 7.990619
Latitude: 50.385278
Longitude: 9.196944
Latitude: 49.820278
Longitude: 9.257222
Latitude: 50.310305
Longitude: 9.090287
Latitude: 49.058000
Longitude: 8.950800
Latitude: 50.393810
Longitude: 9.018135
Latitude: 50.019118
Longitude: 8.695494
Latitude: 49.824444
Longitude: 8.846458
Latitude: 49.842708
Longitude: 8.826458
Latitude: 50.258365
Longitude: 9.296395
Latitude: 49.842708
Longitude: 8.826458
Latitude: 49.103333
Longitude: 8.855000
Latitude: 49.842708
Longitude: 8.826458
Latitude: 50.425675
Longitude: 9.891911
Latitude: 49.472870
Longitude: 8.654302
Latitude: 50.310000
Longitude: 9.050833
Latitude: 49.786399
Longitude: 9.037049
Latitude: 50.338502
Longitude: 8.254690
Latitude: 50.947183
Longitude: 9.860890
Latitude: 50.947183
Longitude: 9.860890
Latitude: 49.343889
Longitude: 8.658056
Latitude: 49.800953
Longitude: 8.737844
Latitude: 49.714861
Longitude: 8.839583
Latitude: 49.831219
Longitude: 8.745007
Latitude: 50.576111
Longitude: 8.930278
Latitude: 50.652052
Longitude: 9.162438
Latitude: 50.924264
Longitude: 8.604262
Latitude: 50.387778
Longitude: 9.245359
Latitude: 50.095636
Longitude: 8.776084
Latitude: 49.066667
Longitude: 8.966667
Latitude: 49.714861
Longitude: 8.839583
Latitude: 49.813163
Longitude: 9.039460
Latitude: 50.946919
Longitude: 10.709288
Latitude: 50.273889
Longitude: 9.095000
Latitude: 50.592778
Longitude: 8.856389
Latitude: 50.412745
Longitude: 9.007876
Latitude: 50.218889
Longitude: 9.041667
Latitude: 49.709602
Longitude: 7.916762
Latitude: 49.100285
Longitude: 8.973628
Latitude: 49.656678
Longitude: 8.411279
Latitude: 49.634288
Longitude: 8.833207
Latitude: 49.573595
Longitude: 7.710573
Latitude: 49.800476
Longitude: 8.823767
Latitude: 49.684615
Longitude: 8.669778
Latitude: 50.450000
Longitude: 9.916667
Latitude: 49.800476
Longitude: 8.823767
Latitude: 50.450000
Longitude: 9.916667
Latitude: 50.241389
Longitude: 9.167500
Latitude: 50.650825
Longitude: 9.169679
Latitude: 50.450000
Longitude: 9.916667
Latitude: 49.845996
Longitude: 8.791401
Latitude: 48.854667
Longitude: 8.531333
Latitude: 50.362683
Longitude: 9.143540
Latitude: 50.202829
Longitude: 9.185764
Latitude: 50.202829
Longitude: 9.185764
Latitude: 50.454945
Longitude: 9.054878
Latitude: 49.650939
Longitude: 8.124040
Latitude: 50.254464
Longitude: 9.023556
Latitude: 50.286296
Longitude: 9.111384
Latitude: 50.286296
Longitude: 9.111384
Latitude: 50.485017
Longitude: 9.348837
Latitude: 50.294255
Longitude: 9.029714
Latitude: 50.286296
Longitude: 9.111384
Latitude: 50.286296
Longitude: 9.111384
Latitude: 50.254464
Longitude: 9.023556
Latitude: 50.294255
Longitude: 9.029714
Latitude: 50.287156
Longitude: 8.844207
Latitude: 50.502003
Longitude: 9.387028
Latitude: 49.167719
Longitude: 8.892526
Latitude: 50.189729
Longitude: 9.194250
Latitude: 49.808639
Longitude: 7.963158
Latitude: 50.233528
Longitude: 9.053444
Latitude: 50.287156
Longitude: 8.844207