Portland Cable Railway, 1891

The Portland Cable Railway Co. operated this cable car trestle as part of their overall Portland Heights line in the 1890s. The wooden trestle ran from the powershop at SW 18th & Mill (now under US26 just east of the tunnels) south up the hill to 18th & probably Jackson St. in Portland Heights. From there it traveled up 18th to Spring St. Power lines essentially trace the route today. The house at right center in this photo still exists; it’s the 1891 Alice Druhot house on SW Cable St., a block to the west of the trestle. Read more about the Portland Cable Railway Co. here. Thanks to VP fan Roxanne for the tip on this post.

(City of Portland Archives)

9 thoughts on “Portland Cable Railway, 1891

  1. The name of the building is escaping me, but it’s at SW Broadway & Washington (the indoor arcade building w/ Oregon Wines on Broadway, a coffee shop, shoe repair, etc…) – I seem to recall they had a few nice photos of this cable car line on display in a wall case just inside the Washington Street entrance.

    This one looks familiar, I wonder if it’s one of them? I’ll have to stop in there again next time I’m downtown. I remember a handful of good vintage photos being there…

  2. There is (at least there was in the early 70’s) a small section of track on a concrete block a few yards down the hill past where 18th ends. Since I don’t think anything has been developed in that area, I would imagine it is still there today.

  3. What I notice about this photo is that the streetcars seem to be tilted up on their sides a bit??What was the purpose?Am I seeing things..anyway great photos Love this site thanks for this opportunity to see the great Old times..Streetcar Operator from Toronto Canada

  4. New here today as site was passed to us from a friend in Wilsonville because he saw the postings of the 4th Avenue slums in Lair HIll. We live on the little slice of 4th Avenue between Barbur and Terwilliger just south of Duniway Park.

    My stepson used to own the Duhot house.

    How is everyone seeing details in these pictures? When we enlarge, the pixels break shots down too much. Any ideas?

    Just great to see these photos! I am 3rd generation Portland.

  5. Betsy,

    If you click on the photographs, you will be taken to a new page that contains the photo in higher resolution. Clicking on the photo in the new page usually increases the size further

  6. Hi All,

    I lived in the second house at the base of Cable St in college back in 1995, in a turn-of-the-century duplex (one up, one down). There were still track footings in the middle of the block (cement/steel) until they built condos in that same year on that spot. There was also still a cable car building abutted up to the hwy 26 overpass.

    On a side note, I had a ton of fun pulling old bottles and various other refuse out of the hillside behind our house, amongst the ivy. I assume people dumped trash from the curve above on montgomery, but it might have been just from our house – baby buggy parts, lamp pieces, nail varnish bottles, you name it, I found it… of course, I didn’t think about archaeology back then, but I was 20. : )

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