Multnomah Stadium, 1930

This place has been known as Multnomah Stadium, Civic Stadium, PGE Park, and now Jeld-Wen Field. Though much has changed in 80-plus years, if you stand at SW 18th and Yamhill today this scene is somehow still familiar.

(City of Portland Archives)

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17 Responses to “Multnomah Stadium, 1930”

  1. Jim Says:

    Actually Dan, I believe this photo was taken from a vantage point between Morrison and Yamhill. If you stand at 18th and Alder, you get a nice view of the original Firemen’s (Campbell) Memorial though.

  2. Dan Davis Says:

    Jim – You are correct of course. The photo originally was titled “20th & Morrison” which I knew was wrong. I renamed the photo correctly but something misfired in my brain that made me write “Alder.” I’ve corrected the text. Thanks for noticing!

  3. Another Dan Says:

    I remember the old sloped roof, before the remodel, was a lot of fun at baseball games. Foul balls hit over the roof would often be returned to the stands, but you’d better be paying attention lest you get cracked on the dome from an incoming baseball!

    PS: It’ll always be “Civic Stadium” to me…I loathe corporate-named stadia.

  4. Jim Says:

    Yay, I was right about something!

    Partly on-topic: I just finished Traci Prince’s new “Goose Hollow” book. The book includes, in detail, the evolution of Civic Stadium (yeah, I’m with ya Another Dan) from the tannery and Chinese vegetable gardens, to Multnomah Field to today. Traci also includes a great picture of the Stelwyn Apartments, Chuck. It’s available at Powells.

  5. Edmund Says:

    It will always be Civic Stadium to me too. I’ll never forget my Grandpa and Dad taking me to the stadium for the first time in the very early ’60s to watch Satchel Paige pitch in an exhibition game. What a great time!
    @Jim- I thoroughly enjoyed “Portland’s Goose Hollow”. I bought it as soon as I heard about it. It’s packed full of great old pictures of the Hollow; many of which I had never seen before. Included are several partial views of the Henry Green mansion and the Forbes house.

  6. Brian Says:

    Yep, I remember the old sloped roof too, just barely! I think they replaced it some time in the early 80’s with the current one which removed about half the number of columns for less obstructed views. Anyone remember the old press-box? I vaguely remember it looking rather precariously perched (to a little kid at least) on the down-slope of the roof.

    My earliest memory of the stadium (with the old roof) was Dad taking me to an original Timbers game in the late 70’s. The Timbers beat the hated Seattle Sounders in an old NASL-style shootout (for those who follow soccer, it wasn’t the current penalty kicks used to break ties for tournament matches — it was more like a hockey-style penalty shot where the shooter would start about 35 yards out and dribble the ball in for a single shot and the goal tender could come out to challenge him).

    Also in the late 70’s I remember going to see Louis Tiant pitch for the Portland Beavers. He had already had a famously successful major-league career by then (though I was too young to know or appreciate that — I just knew he was famous and it was a big deal that he was pitching for Portland) Though he was on the down-side of that career, he was hoping to get one more shot at the bigs.

    And then, post roof-change, in the mid-80’s I remember seeing the first home game for the first-and-only season of the USFL’s Portland Breakers That day they beat the favored LA Express who were quarterbacked by Steve Young(!), who would, of course, go on to a pretty good NFL career including winning the Super Bowl with the 49’ers.

    Ok, ok, that’s it. Sorry for the long post to all you non-sports fans out there!

  7. Todd Says:

    So are the tannery vats really buried there? That’s what I want to know.

  8. Edmund Says:

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the Tanner Creek vats are still there. They made good infill, so there was probably no reason to move or dismantle them. Ground penetrating radar could probably tell.

  9. jon Says:

    i understand athletic events have been held on this very site since the 1890s, doubt there are very many other US stadiums that can beat that even on the east coast

  10. Another Dan Says:

    Good memories, Brian!!! My favorites are Portland Mavericks games, and watching Willie Stargell pump a homer into the MAC bleachers. What a shot! And PSU football back in the Mouse Davis/June Jones/Neil Lomax era was pretty exciting to watch, too!

    My dad ran track and played band at Jefferson HS back in the mid-forties. He ran many a race here, and marched in the Rose Festival parades which began at the stadium in those days. I’m sorry to have seen baseball go, but I’m glad the old girl is still serving new generations of Portland sports fans!

  11. Tracy Prince Says:

    Hi All,
    Thanks for the terrific comments on my book “Portland’s Goose Hollow”! I had a blast researching it. I was never able to definitively answer whether or not the tannery vats in the Tanner Creek Gulch are still buried under the stadium. So I wrote that it was perhaps an urban legend, though one repeated by a century of Portland history books. I asked folks involved in the recent stadium remodel, but they found no evidence.
    @ jon Says: yes, in the early 1890s the Multnomah Amateur Athletic Club rented the land in the gulch behind the Exposition Building for tennis matches, football games, and track meets.
    Take Care (love the site!)
    Tracy Prince

  12. Tracy Prince Says:

    Info on the tannery vats–
    from Fred Lockley’s History of the Columbia River Valley from The Dalles to the Sea vol.I 1928

    (This is Amos King’s son, being interviewed by Lockley, talking about his father.)

    “He had a machine that looked like a cider mill, in which he ground up hemlock bark. He built wooden tanks large enough to hold a steer’s hide when spread out. He had enough vats to cover an acre of ground. In those days you had to have a good many
    vats because the hides, to be properly tanned, had to stay in the ooze from the hemlock bark from six months to a year. Nowadays, by chemical and mechanical processes, they tan a hide in twenty-four hours. If you will dig down in the football field of the Multnomah Club, you will find those old tanks as good as ever. When they filled in that place to make a football field, they didn’t bother to take the tanning vats away they just hauled in the earth and buried them.” (pgs. 513-514)

  13. Edmund Says:

    Thanks for the update Tracy! It does make a lot of sense that they would leave those vats where they were as useful landfill. I wonder if it was Nahum, or Edward King who was interviewed at that time.

  14. Tracy Prince Says:

    Hi Edmund,
    Fred Lockley got this info from an interview with Nahum (N.A.) King who lived on Salmon Street at the time.

  15. bob hale Says:

    Vaughn St. ball park???????????in N.W. Portland where the west coast league played…..was that before the time of the Multnomah club?? I seem to remember watching a baseball league game there in the late ’20’s for early ’30’s and outside of my older sister having a swimming membership at the Multnomah Club I was unaware of it or their stadium. Am I possibly slipping??

  16. john72ss Says:

    beautiful little baseball park! now its a ruined travisty for a foreign sport! 55 years of baseball played there now gone!

  17. john72ss Says:

    i was there too for the stargel blast, if i remember right the ball was still going up when it landed!

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