Tanner Creek Gulch, circa 1892

These houses and gardens were located in Tanner Creek Gulch, which would later be known as Goose Hollow. This image shows what the area looked like circa 1892.


Gardens and Houses in Tanner Creek Gulch,  : A2004-002.2544

Gardens and Houses in Tanner Creek Gulch, circa 1892 : A2004-002.2544


View this image in Efiles by clicking here.

21 thoughts on “Tanner Creek Gulch, circa 1892

  1. Looks like an Addams Family house with a mother-in-law Catholic dome addition. Beautiful view from there I bet.

  2. That “house on the hill top” is actually two distinct houses seemingly compressed together by the focal length of the photographer’s camera. Noted historian and poet Francis Fuller Victor sold some of her writings from the Salmon St. address of the taller mansion in the back, but I’m not sure she ever actually lived there.The only house seen here that is still extant is the Durham–Jacobs House at 2138 SW Salmon Street (modern address). That is the cupola of St. Helens Hall that can be seen just to the right of it. I love this photograph for the extreme contrast here; the ramshackle huts of the Chinese farmers in the gulch below the towering mansions of the wealthy on the hillside above.

  3. This photo was most likely taken looking West from the 18th Street trestle over Tanner Creek (the gully in the photo) before the MAC/Multnomah Field were built. If you stood at the same spot today, you would be looking out over “Providence Park”.

    You can see the trestle in this panel from an 1889 panorama by William Henry Turner taken from the hill above Goose Hollow (these same shanties are visible as well):


  4. Felixstrange, do you mean William Henry Jackson? I ask because Jackson took a fantastic 3 photograph panorama of Portland from much the same vantage point of the photo you linked to. That panorama has been determined to have occurred in 1889-1890. Here is a link to one of the panorama photos in the Denver Library that shows the same area in much clearer detail. You can really zoom in on this one! http://cdm15330.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/singleitem/collection/p15330coll21/id/13929/rec/1

  5. Daniel- Wow! What a great photo you linked us to. I could study this photo for hours. It’s so cool to think that this is the same Portland my great, great grandfather saw. Thanks!

  6. Linda- I know isn’t it cool? After spending hours zooming in on all the little details that help to date these pictures, I knew I had to share this with folks who might not have seen this resource before. I surely hope this doesn’t bother the PTB in the City of Portland Archives as I think it relates to our historical discussion here.
    Here is a link to another of the photos in this panorama. If you zoom in on the distinctive moorish-style towers of the Temple Beth Israel you can see the Portland Hotel, which opened in 1890, still under construction. That and other clues in these pictures and the 1889 Sanford Fire Maps lets us date this as being pre-1890. I hope you enjoy this one too. There is a lot of Goose Hollow detail in this one too.

  7. Thanks, Daniel. I meant William Henry Jackson but in my haste I conflated him with Fredrick Jackson Turner. I was also going to track down and post those wonderful links to the Denver Public Library’s panels, but you beat me to it. 🙂

    I concur with the date of 1889. You can see in the picture that both Grace Methodist Church (newly broken off from the Taylor Street congregation) and the First Presbyterian Church are under construction as well as the roof of the Portland Hotel.

    For those that are members of the Portland History and Memories group, I have uploaded a full resolution panorama of all three Jackson panels stitched into a single continuous image available under ‘Files’.

  8. If you look closely at the tiny homes on the left. It appears there are two rows of them that face in on each other, sharing a common road/path between them. I assume they were too poor to have any out buildings, so each roofline represents a separate household. I’m guessing they only lived and farmed here and worked along the waterfornt. But if they bought, sold or traded any of their vegetables here, it could almost be considered its own little town. If nothing else it was probably a safe haven for them to visit, away from the waterfront. So, If my theory holds any Tanner Creek water…notice on the right, even the early Chinese had to deal with urban sprawl. 🙂

  9. Has anyone figured out how to download the image? There is an option for ‘full size,’ but the file is always marked damaged… smaller resolutions work, but aren’t as fun!

  10. This photo is probably earlier than 1892, since the Northern Pacific Industrial Exposition building is not there and it was built in 1888.
    For those interested in the Jackson panorama in high-resolution, felixstrange did a great job on merging it in the panorama albumPortland History and Memories. Also posted in the files section, with credit to the DPL.

  11. Ugh, I clearly haven’t had enough coffee this morning… When I said above “out of frame to the LEFT” I clearly meant “out of frame to the RIGHT. Sorry for that confusion.

  12. Hello Ken, As Felixstrange noted earlier, the New Grace ME and First Presbyterian churches were still under construction as shown in his merged panorama. Historical record shows the New Grace ME church, on the corner of 11th and Taylor as having been dedicated by its congregation on Dec. 15, 1889.
    We know that the Hotel Portland opened in April of 1890, yet the hotel as recorded here is far from complete. The roof is under construction, the north wing upper walls are not finished, and the windows have not been installed. Even after the Hotel had a roof and windows and was “buttoned up”; it would take time to finish the interior tile, lathe, plaster and woodwork. I don’t see the Marquam Grand, finished in 1891, nor the Oregonian building, finished in 1892. The deciduous trees in the picture seem to be fully leaved, and several crops in garden patches look to be near harvesting time, suggesting mid-to-late summer.

  13. Dan S.- I believe the Chinese immigrants were more prevalent and successful, at least in certain areas than people often now believe.
    The 1889 Sanborn Fire maps of downtown show at least a dozen Chinese enterprises and rooming house in the same block containing the St. Mary’s Catholic Cathedral (3rd & Stark, dedicated 1885). There were many other Chinese-owned businesses in the blocks adjacent to the Police station on Oak St. Sorry to all if I’ve rambled on too long in this post. I’ll let others add their own obsevations.

  14. Thank you, thank you, thank you…all of you, who posted links to other pictures/other sites as well! And, as Linda Raab said…it IS fun to see Portland the way our great-grandparents saw it…and having the visual technology we have today makes it even more exciting…not to mention time-consuming! I’ll be spending the day zooming in and out…but first, I gotta run up the street…I gotta stock up on some more milk and cookies!

    Funny…every time I look at these “period” photos, I hear a funny little faint sound of “clickety-clack” in my head…happens every time…”clickety-clack…clickety-clack…clickety-clack”…and what do you know…there it goes again…what a wonderful sound…

    Enjoy the day…”clickety-clack…clickety-clack…”

  15. felixstrange and ken – some of us don’t – and won’t – belong to facebook. any chance the DPL panorama can be posted elsewhere?

  16. I was doing some research on Joseph Gaston; noted historian, journalist, railroad man, and namesake of Gaston, Oregon. I was searching on the Historic Oregon Newspapers site- http://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/ and found an article that mentioned his address, which happened to be 624 Salmon St. at that time. I double-checked a 1901 Sanford Insurance Map of Portland and verified that the address given was none other than the largest mansion on the hill. It also turns out that Mr. Gaston had several boarders, including Frances Fuller Victor!

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