4th Avenue Extension, 1933

The clearing process in the 4th Avenue extension, now SW Barbur Boulevard. This view is looking south along SW Barbur Boulevard (the 4th Avenue extension) toward SW Arthur Street, showing where old train trestle had been torn down, 1933.


City of Portland Archives, Oregon, A1999-004.451

City of Portland Archives, Oregon, A1999-004.451


View this image in Efiles by clicking here.

26 thoughts on “4th Avenue Extension, 1933

  1. Tearing out the tracks of the SP red electric commuter trains in favor of roads, now the trend is to tear out the road in favor of commuter rails.

  2. Today’s Duniway Park is on the right side of the photo, in what was once Marquam Gulch. Those houses on the far side are in roughly the same location as the building that used to house the Barbur Y and is now being converted into the Under Armour corporate offices. It appears that much of the gulch had been filled by the time this photo was taken. But you can see just how deep it once was on the right side of the E.S. Glover lithograph, issued in 1879. Here’s a link to the litho as it appears on Vintage Portland. Blow it up and you can see all kinds of detail. https://vintageportland.files.wordpress.com/2011/09/es-glovers-birdseye-map-portland-oregon-1879-5k.jpg

  3. Sam F, that is not the location. Your reference is much further south
    down Barbur close to Terwilliger. As someone else mentioned, today the right side of this photo is Duniway Park track and the former YMCA building right where 4th Avenue becomes Barbur Blvd.

  4. The downhill section seen above started at the corner of Sheridan and 4th. The approximate view today:

  5. Interesting. The Glover lithograph shows the rail line coming down 4th Avenue from downtown, over the Marquam Gulch trestle to points south. What will later be Terwilliger Boulevard climbs the hill in the lower right part of the map, just where it is now. Terwilliger must be above the frame in the picture posted today, farther up the hill.

    Today, Hooker St crosses Barbur immediately south of the former YMCA and a short road called 4th Avenue runs southerly part of the way up the hill off Hooker a few feet west of Barbur. Some of the houses near that intersection, on both sides of the current 4th Ave, are early 1900s, and the curbs are lined with iron carriage-wheel guards, demonstrating that they pre-date 1933. The foremost houses in the picture look as though they are probably along Hooker and this part of 4th Avenue.

    I’d love to know how this old section of 4th Avenue used to fit in with the railroad, since I now live along it. It seems to me that the railroad line must have angled slightly east at the end of the trestle and left 4th Avenue, which continued (and continues) in a straight line up the hill for a couple of blocks.

  6. @John, yes, the railroad left 4th where Barbur does today. Barbur was built in the old railroad right-of-way.

  7. I just noticed another interesting thing about this photo: If you enlarge it and look closely at the top, you can see some of the vintage street lamps that help illuminate Terwilliger Boulevard.

  8. @John: This might answer your question about 4th Avenue. It’s an old “paving map” of Portland from the 1890s. Blow it up and you’ll find the rail line and you’ll see how it angles a bit to the South-Southeast after crossing the gulch. Also keep in mind that a lot of the plats shown in this map never really came to be, as far as I can tell from walking that area. But I will say this map is one of the most fascinating things I’ve found over the years on Vintage Portland. https://vintageportland.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/paving-map-of-portland-january-1-1894.jpg

  9. I used to run on the track at Duniway & along Terwilliger in the mid-70’s. The YMCA was being constructed at that time. Lots of changes.

  10. @John Killen: You’re right—you can see the street lamps! That’s great! And the paving map is a wonder. Thanks for pointing me to it. It’s amazing to see what they once planned for Marquam Hill, and the detail of the railroad route and old South Portland is endlessly fascinating.

  11. When I used to be an antique bottle digger in Portland, I used to dream of being able to dig for bottles in Duniway Park!….When it was still Marquam Gulch, it used to be one of the main city dumps of the late 19th, early 20th century! The trash, old bottles and other remnants of the old dump are said to be up to 100 feet deep in places where they filled it in and covered it over to make the park!.. If people only knew what treasures they were walking and running over when they’re at that park!

  12. Pat, we have lived on the dead end 4th Avenue for the past 40 years. We have a great collection of bottles, doll parts, buttons, a horseshoe and just recently found what we assume to be an old rail nail. Sometimes find things while planting, often things just show up as they migrate up from below. All though found in our backyard. We too have always wished to be able to dig at Duniway Park.

  13. On that paving map, it shows an Old Cemetery east of SW Corbett and north of Bancroft. What happened to that? Seems like it wasn’t too many years ago that hillside was developed for apartments or condos.

  14. I haven’t walked down there to see exactly what’s on the site now, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the I-5 freeway passes right over it.

  15. Elliott, I was hoping someone more knowledgeable than me would respond to your question about the Old Cemetery. There is a great book by South Portland resident Stephen Lefler, ‘A History of South Portland’, available at the library and also as a pdf online. He traces the history of the birth of Portland starting with the Ice Age. I read it last year and remember that that cemetery started sliding down the hill towards the river because of uncontrolled runoff. Those buried there were for the most part moved to Lone Fir. There was also a Jewish cemetery closer in, I think maybe around the Auditorium area, that was also moved, but in this case because people felt it was too close to ‘town’ and the residential area.

  16. Thanks Betsy for the info. I have seen chapters of Leflers book in the old Corbett Terewilliger Lair Hill newsletter.

    John, only part of the site looks like it was supplanted by I-5. The part between Corbett and SW Kelley would not be part of the freeway alignment.

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