Washington Park Aerial, 1939

There are some nice details to be found in this 1939 aerial looking down on Washington Park. The Rose Garden and reservoirs are evident in center. Canyon Road snakes down to Goose Hollow under the Vista Avenue Viaduct on the left. It appears the old Portland Railway, Light & Power Company’s building was still on the southwest corner of 23rd and Burnside. Enjoy!

A2001-045.438  Aerial of Washington Park 1939(City of Portland Archives)

17 thoughts on “Washington Park Aerial, 1939

  1. Notice the golf course that preceded the Zoo.
    Also I heard somewhere that canyon road was originally a wood plank road due to the fact it was so muddy. Might have been the original overland route to the Tualatin Valley. Could have been called Plank Road at one point – but don;t quote me on that one.

  2. “The city,” Keyser pointed out, “has vast holding behind Washington park extending to the West Hills golf course and as far north as Macleay park and it’s here an ideal natural setting is provided for a first-class zoo. “
    Sunday Oregonian, page 81, 03/10/1940.

  3. How many of us are old enough to remember when the zoo was in old Washington Park? “Rosie the Elephant, Rosie the Elephant, you live in a great big zoo”.

  4. I was a very small child when the zoo was in old Washington Park. I was there, although my memory of it is very vague.

    The Japanese Garden occupies some of the site of the old zoo. The sand and stone garden is within the foundation of the old bear exhibit, they say.

  5. I’m old enough to remember the penguins in Peninsula park. Can’t remember the reason though. Might of been their pen wasn’t ready up at the new zoo.

  6. How interesting it must have been to golf in Portland then! You could golf in the heights of the West Hills golf course and then in the depths of Sullivan’s Gulch. Love the panorama.

  7. What an incredible shot! My family has lived in the Sylvan area since 1872. They settled there after emigrating from Bavaria via Nebraska. My G.G. grandfather cleared the land and like any good German planted potatoes and cabbage. They owned the Sylvan dairy and would deliver milk by wagon to the markets in Portland via Canyon road following Tanner creek. The area was originally called Zion Town by Nathan B. Jones who had the DLC in the area. He’s burried in an old pioneer cemetary to the S.E. of the Scholls Ferry/ Humphrey Bvld. Intersection. Sylvan used to be the home of an equestrian stable, brick yard, Kelly’s tavern and a Safeway, so I’ve been told. The predessor to the Canyon road in this photo snaked around the ridges and gullys, down to West Slope and out to the farmers in Beaverton. Raab Rd. and Canyon lane are remnants of it. Any more defined pictures of the Sylvan area would be greatly appreciated! Info on Canyon road can be found on wiki, and info on Nathan B. Jones on page 169-170 of “in Search of Western Oregon” which can be googled.

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