13 thoughts on “Washington Park Zoo, 1956

  1. Was the Museum of Science and Industry torn down to build the Children’s museum, or simply remodeled? I’m guessing the latter….but what are those three circular pieces on the original plan that are missing now?

  2. If memory serves the concrete pads were for display of old Air Force aircraft. It was the “jet age”.

  3. I still like the old OMSI better. It had a beehive, a 2 headed lamb, a smokers lung etc. Not as scientific but more interesting.

  4. OMSI / Children’s museum building is the same. I fondly remember running the halls of that building when it was OMSI, and visiting it now as the CM still feels like OMSI to me. There were old aircraft on display on the pads. I don’t remember which models, but I think you could go aboard one at one time. An interesting fact I’ve heard is that the community came out and helped lay bricks and build that building. Something that couldn’t happen today.

  5. There were 2 aircraft as i remember. One was an old fighter jet. The other was an old large prop plane. Like a DC-3, but I don’t know for sure. I do remember there were steps and you could look inside, or perhaps even enter parts of the prop plane. I think you could look into the cockpit and see all the instruments, but not enter it. It was all glassed off.
    There was also an big orange rusty bathysphere (like a big diving bell) you could climb inside. I have a picture somewhere of me climbing around inside it. it was freaky, all full of endless pipes and old rusty valves and such.
    I have not been up there for years. I assume all that stuff is long gone now.

  6. You have to a bit patient, but if you scour this 1940s map, you’ll find the “West Hills Golf Course” bordering old Canyon Road along the edge of Southwest Portland. Follow the red line for help. My older brother Bill, who graduated from Cleveland High in 1956, remembers playing this course in the mid-1950s. I thinkit may have originally been a full-size, 9-hole course that was later cut down to a pitch and putt course before being replaced by the Forestry Center, the Vietnam Memorial and hiking trails. https://vintageportland.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/pittmon-street-map-city-of-portland-4k-1946.jpg

  7. A wonderful short course you could have a quick play after work. The only clubs needed were a putter, Mashie, and a Niblick. All holes were par 3 which was a challenge due to the rolling nature of the hill it was built upon and the severe breaks on the greens. A fun play!

  8. It’s nice to see how many relative newcomers to the Portland area seem to be interested in its history.
    The building is much the same now as it was as OMSI; I think more of it is publicly accessible now, as the Portland Children’s Museum.
    As shown here: Old OMSI Comples in Washington Park (Wikimedia Commons) the pad at the east end of the building was for “a former Oregon Air National Guard F-102 and a former Hughes Air West DC-3 (converted into a C-47 cargo plane)”.
    John Killen recalls correctly: you could get inside the cargo area of DC-3 directly from the OMSI building via an enclosed stairway. I recall it being cold inside there much of the year. 🙂
    The pad at the west end was for the planetarium, at least starting in 1978, housed in a dodecahedron-shaped building. If my recollection of an older friend’s recollection is correct, the west pad had the bathysphere that Quadro4 describes.

  9. It’s so nice to be able to share Memories of this bygone Era! I very much remember going to the Portland Zoo every Easter as a child! OMSI too!

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