Damascus is a tiny community southeast of Portland, Oregon. It was originally settled in the 1850′s, becoming a city in 1867 with it’s own post office. Unfortunately while other suburbs of Portland developed, Damascus did not and in1904, their post office was closed.
But that didn’t hold back the citizens of the area who hosted one of the largest gatherings to celebrate Oregon’s centennial in 1959. It was so popular, that the celebration lasted 3 years until 1962 when it became the Little World’s Fair.
The main attraction of the celebration was the Centennial Peace Candle. 21′ tall and 3′ across, the candle was made locally out of chicken wire and cut up oil drums. Area children collected more than 20 tons of colored candle wax was which was melted down and ladled into the giant mold.
The candle was lit on June 14, 1959 and burned for 100 days. In 1962, in honor of the Little World Fair, the candle was replaced with a new one made of steel and concrete. With the exception of a couple of buildings, the candle is the only thing that remains of the Little World’s Fair.
For more information on the candle and the history of Damascus, check out PdxHistory.com.