Marquam Hill, 1920

This 1920 photo looks west towards Marquam Hill over what will become Duniway Park. Several of the houses along the upper road, SW Broadway Drive, are still there, while everything along the bottom street, SW 6th/Terwilliger Blvd, is gone (compare with this photo). I believe the nearest building on the far right (with the arched window) sits in the northwest corner of the future Duniway Park. We’ve seen photos of the work to fill this gully here and here. Lair Hill is probably on the left foreground.

(City of Portland Archives)

18 thoughts on “Marquam Hill, 1920

  1. Your images are always real nice. What resolution do you scan them at? Do you archive them as JPEGs? What compression do you use?

  2. Ben – The photos from the City of Portland Archives generally come in PDF format. I convert them to .JPG using the default settings (Format Options is essentially the only Photoshop option I can change and I use Baseline Optimized). I alter the image in no way other than to occasionally adjust the brightness or contrast. I also sometimes reduce the largest dimension to 4000 pixels for the sake of download efficiency, and they are generally at 600 dpi.

  3. Of the pair of houses together on Broadway Drive, the one on the right is the Constanzo house at 811 SW Broadway Dr. It and the house to the left are both still there.

  4. I also think the large house with the double porch sort of in the :center”of the Broadway Dr. section is still there, tho it has added a little side porch hanging off the upper floor on the south side and a chimney on the south side of the smaller front section. And it is actually at the foot of what is now Hoffmann?

  5. I love the photo, but this is not actually looking towards Marquam Hill, right? Marquam Hill is the hill starting on the left hand side of the photo, the hill we are looking at is the hill to the north of Marquam Hill (I do not know the name).

  6. Well spotted Roxanne! I am convinced you and Dan Davis are right about those houses.
    I think Douge may be correct also. I believe the hill we are seeing is what was once commonly known as Jefferson hill, site of “Piggott’s Castle” which would be at the extreme right top of the hill, hidden by the tall grove of trees. Marquam hill is much broader and would be to the south (further to the left) in this picture.

  7. I saw a reference to Piggott’s Castle being on “Robinson’s Hill.” Also, from “The Oregonian’s Handbook of the Pacific Northwest comes this, “Along this chain of hills are six prominences which attain an altitude of from 800 to 1,000 feet. These are Willamette heights, King’s heights, Portland heights, Robinson’s hill, Marquam’s hill and South Portland heights.”

  8. Thank you Dan! Robinson’s hill is of course the correct answer.
    I don’t know how I transposed Robinson into “Jefferson”, but I did, and I do know the difference. Big Oooops! :blushing:

  9. Edmund, you’re one up on me because I’ve never even heard of Robinson’s Hill.

    Not a day goes by that I don’t learn something from you and the other very knowledgeable VP fans.

  10. Gander Ridge: has been called Robinson’s Hill, Paradise Hill, Portland Heights, and the West Hills.
    Do you suppose Robinson’s hill may have been named after this guy? (From the Sellwood Bee obituary.)
    Bill “Robbie” Robinson
    Bill “Robbie” and Lena Robinson lived in the Woodstock neighborhood for over half a century, and both passed away this spring. (Courtesy of the Robinson family)

    William “Robbie” Robinson
    Noted Woodstock gardener passes at age 94


    for THE BEE

    Longtime Woodstock resident William Robinson, also known as Bill or “Robbie Robinson”, was born in Lonerock, Oregon, on April 10, 1917, where he learned to love the great outdoors. At his memorial service June 1 at Holy Family Catholic Church, his son-in-law Fred White described Robinson’s early passion for the natural world: “At nine years old he wrote a note to his mother in which he named all the blooming flowers on his walks in Lonerock.”

    Hands-on-gardening experience preceded garden journaling. At age six Robbie helped his parents with their vegetable garden, and after sowing blue bell seeds, he created a rock garden to accent and display the flowers.

    His father wanted him to be a lawyer, so he tried pre-law classes at the University of Oregon; but after two years of unhappiness, he left school and returned home. The Superintendent of Schools in his home town told him he should follow his heart and become a gardener. She gave him money for the bus fare to Portland; and, on arrival, he quickly got a job with the Swiss Floral Company, where he worked from 1939 to 1947.

    In 1947 Robinson was hired by the Portland Parks Bureau as a gardener, and after five years was promoted to head gardener for the city, a job he kept for twenty-five more years until retiring in 1977.

    In addition to selecting, caring for, and preserving flowering trees and shrubs in parks throughout the city, Robinson was instrumental in the creation of the Portland Japanese Garden. He organized city crews to carry out the designs of landscape architect Professor P.T. Tono, who frequently flew to Portland from Japan to design and work on the garden.

    Robinson took Tono all over Oregon to find just the right plant materials and stones for the garden. Over the years, he took over eight thousand slides chronicling the history and beauty of the garden, some of which are on postcards and posters in the gift shop today.

    Closer to his home in Woodstock, in which he lived for 58 years, Robinson worked with Portland Parks staffmembers to plan and plant an island in the Eastmoreland Golf Course that began as a rhododendron test garden in 1950. In 1964 its name was changed to reflect the setting on the edge of the body of water fed by Crystal Springs Creek.

    Robinson was a charter member of the American Rhododendron Society, and in 1946 he hybridized a rhododendron that in 2004 was officially named the “Robbie Robinson.” He was also a founding member of the Home Orchard Society and the Metropolitan Garden Club, and was integral in the establishment of Portland’s Heritage Tree program. In 1984, the Mayor of Portland proclaimed a day in his honor, and the following year Emperor Hirohito awarded him a medal for helping to foster “civilization, friendship and peace” through his work, through photography, and later through extensive volunteering with the Japanese Garden.

    In 1995 Robinson was added to the career achievement registry at Oregon State University. His early work documenting Portland’s unusual trees was an inspiration for Phyllis Reynold’s book, “Trees of Greater Portland,” published in 1993 by Timber Press.

    Robinson died on May 27. Lena Fossati Robinson, his wife of 68 years, preceded him in death by two months. While living in Woodstock the couple raised three daughters, who are his survivors: Joanne Robinson, Martha White, and Nancy Izatt. There are four grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

    Son-in-law Fred White describes Robinson as a humble, enthusiastic, “can do” person, who significantly contributed to the beauty of Portland’s parks and gardens. It is the city’s good fortune that this gardener followed the path of his heart.

  11. Thank you Dan. I learn something new every time I check out a new post on VintagePortland. I first learned of Robinson’s hill from this PDF copy of an old photo (dated from 1908) in the Portland Auditors office. It shows several people in the top tower of Piggott’s castle looking out over the city.

    I found a document in the Auditors office called- “An ordinance to authorize repairs to the ditch extending along the foot of Robinson’s Hill”, dated 11-3-1875. so it appears that the name use preceded William “Robbie” Robinson. He sounds like great guy though, and a kindred spirit.
    To confuse matters somewhat; I found this link to a stereoscope picture taken from “Robison’s” Hill in Portland. Picture isn’t dated, but writing on it mentions “Washington Territory” so it probably predates 1889 when Washington became a state.

  12. Edmund – The Piggott’s Castle photo is the first reference I’d seen to Robinson’s Hill also. Note that the view off to the left is straight up Broadway.

    The stereoscope photo is a great find. The view is almost identical to the one in Tracy Prince’s “Portland’s Goose Hollow.”'s%20hill%22%20portland&pg=PA34#v=onepage&q&f=false

    Many buildings can be matched in both photos. The book photo looks north between 14th and 15th, the stereoscope photos must be between 13th and 14th; you’d be looking straight up the freeway today.

  13. This is all very interesting! I am wondering if anyone knows about the history of all the old fruit trees still found growing in the Seventh Street Terraces area of the West Hills/Robinson’s Hill? I read somewhere that it was common to plant lots of fruit trees during prohibition, especially in a hilly area, so you could see the police coming in time to stash the still….I am not wanting to start any rumors as to that is what happened here….but I am just trying to figure out all the fruit trees 🙂

  14. Thanks Dan. I have Tracy’s book, and after comparing both views; you’re definitely right.

    @Tina, you didn’t mention what kind of fruit trees, or how old they appear to be, though many kinds have grown well in this area. A lot of this area was so steep and hilly that it was difficult to develop (pre-electric streetcars), so it might have been good use of the land to plant fruit trees. Orchardists have planted trees and raised crops of fruits and nuts in the Portland-Vancouver area since the mid-1800s. I don’t know if these trees pre-date prohibition. I’m going to have to go out there and check it out. You’ve piqued my curiousity.

  15. Hi all,
    Great photo!
    Here’s some info on the Robinson’s Hill name, which today is known as Gander Ridge in the Goose Hollow neighborhood.

    The 1890 book History of Portland, Oregon, with illustrations and biographical sketches of prominent citizens by Harvey Whitefield Scott tells of Thomas Robinson living “upon the hill now known by his name on the southern side of the city” (pg 194). Robinson is listed as a Portland City Councilman in 1851 (pg 198).

    An article in the July 10, 1910 Oregonian referred to “Old Mountain Robinson” and declared: “All old Oregonians will remember Robinson, who lived on what is now known as Robinson’s Hill in Portland.” Other Oregonian articles also referred to it as Mount Robinson and Robinson Hill.

    Jewel Beck Lansing’s 2003 book (Portland: People, Politics, and Power, 1851-2001) indicates that Thomas and Bridget Robinson filed a 28 acre land claim in 1854 on the hillside that came to bear their name (pg 38).

    The name of the hillside is discussed briefly in my book (Portland’s Goose Hollow) on page 40. Here’s the quote, with further explanation imbedded in brackets–
    “Historically the heights at the south end of Goose Hollow have been referred to as Carter’s Hill [the west side, now known as Vista Ridge], Robinson’s Hill [the east side, now known as Gander Ridge], and briefly as Paradise Hill, but most often as Portland Heights or the West Hills.

    Take Care
    Tracy Prince

  16. I love the kindness and thoughtfulness of folks leaving remarks at this type of site. -off topic, I realize, but it is very refreshing seeing you folks so amped and excited about your area of interaction without the political undertones bogging so many sites down as of late. Carry on! Please! And, thanks for letting me in on this great subject.

  17. While searching Multco’s SAIL, I believe I have a definitive answer on where Robinson’s Hill is – just east of Governors Park, the original plat map is marked ROBINSONS and ROBINSONS No. 2. These sit directly above Piggot’s Castle, which is actually in Seventh St. Terraces. Due respect to Tracey, but frankly I think it is too far south and east to be a part of Goose Hollow; I also hear people calling the top of SW 16th Robinson’s Hill, which may account for the confusion. There is a broad dip between that summit and what is platted as Robinson’s, so they are clearly two separate features.

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