Tanner Creek Gulch, circa 1892

The vegetable gardens in Tanner Creek Gulch, circa 1892. This is near the site where Providence Park now sits. For another view of the garden, check out this previous post by clicking here.


City of Portland (OR) Archives, A2004-002.8919.


View this image in Efiles by clicking here.

24 thoughts on “Tanner Creek Gulch, circa 1892

  1. Wow! Look at those big homes looking down on the shanties. I toured two old plantations in Nashville in 2015. Very similar. Land Baron’s mansion and the slave dwellings. Very thankful we don’t see that today.

  2. @Barry, you’re being sarcastic, right? The disparities between the haves and have-nots still exist today: take a look at the Overlook neighborhood’s stately homes looking down on the Hazelnut Grove shanties…a nearly identical scene.

  3. Why, yes. I was being very sarcastic! The disparity between the classes is more pronounced than ever. I wish I could figure out a solution. Alas!

  4. Great photo today! Always love the earliest photos.
    Igor, you did a great job hunting down that Google maps view. Thank you for that.
    Very sad to say, but the row of homes closest to the garden reminded me of the Hazelnut Grove homeless camp.

    Oh how far we’ve come…

  5. Politics (and hint of Socialism) on VP today? Why do so many stop working, do drugs and attempt to check out from society? If I’m gonna be poor and homeless, I’d rather do it in this country than any other place. 3 rules: finish high school, get married b4 having babies and get a job. Do these things and I guarantee you won’t end up living homeless blaming everybody else for your failures and bad decisions in life.

  6. Today, Tanner Creek exists in a purgatory of pipes under the Pearl District. The once free flowing surface creek has been permanently banished to a series of storm water chambers below. It empties into the Willamette adjacent to the old Centennial Mills buried under the asphalt, concrete and glass of urbanism.

  7. Did Tanner Creek join the Willamette north of Burnside? And did it come out of the hills under the Vista Ave bridge, or farther north? I think I’ve seen maps that had it flowing into a swamp where Union Station is now, and trying to figure out the topography. That little hill on Burnside at the Campbell Memorial looks like it could have been a creekbank. Maybe it went due west of that, around the north edge of the hillcrest they wiped out for 405, then kind of meandered northeast.

  8. A few minor corrections, if I may. I have studied this neighborhood for a long time.
    This picture was taken from a trestle on Chapman Street(now 18th Ave) that bridged a part of Tanner Creek Gulch. The picture is looking Southwest at the corner of Salmon St. and Stout St.(now 20th Ave) The Durham-Jacobs House on the Northwest corner of this block cannot be seen in this picture as it is obscured by the trees above the shanties. The two large mansions in the picture, the taller of which is misidentified as the extant Durham Jacobs house were both razed in the 1950s-’60s. This is a link to another view of the same neighborhood in which the Durham-Jacobs house can be seen to the right of those same two mansions. https://vintageportland.files.wordpress.com/2014/11/ap-7691-city-auditor-archives-records-management-auditor-s-historical-records-a2004-002-2544-chinese-gardens-and-houses-in-tanner-creek-gulch.jpg

  9. the large mansion with the tower is visible on sanborn 1889 vol. 1 sheet 27a, lot k11. on w. main, between stout and king. house with rounded turret doesn’t seem to be there yet.

  10. With all due respect, can we please limit the political discussions on this board? This is Vintage Portland, not Current Events. There are other boards more suited to this kind of thing.

  11. wl- That is correct. The house with the “rounded turret” or bell shaped cap does show up on the Sanborn Map for Portland+1901+vol.+1,+ Sheet+30, so we can deduce that it was built between 1889 and 1892.

  12. Edge Lord, thx for the map. It looks like Tanner Creek came out of the hills at that little gulch next to the tunnel, and crossed Jefferson at the bottom of the hill. Then flowed through the low spot that became Civic Stadium before turning east and running along Burnside. So I guess that is the old creekbank at 18th.

  13. @Daniel: The other photo of this area is also labeled c1892. Given the difference in the sizes of the firs and the general run down look of the houses in todays photo (check the sag in the roof on the shack on the right) there looks to be at least 10 years between the shots. I was going to try and get mathematical and compare the size of a tree against a constant height (one of the shacks) and then get the average growth rate for Douglas firs to compute how many years have passed. However, different lenses were used so there is magnification in the background of this photo (from a longer lens) compared to the previously posted photo and I can’t find the same tree close to a shack in both photos. My guess from info about construction you supplied that this c1892 is probably about right and the previous photo is actually from the early 1880s.

  14. that’s a loaded question! i know there are some who claim it runs from where the vista bridge now sits all the way down to where sw broadway crosses 405, but i read the historical accounts as having it end more by stott field at psu (12th ave today). the hill past that is robinson’s hill, and has been called that since the late 1860s i believe.
    my opinion – i have been in a heated debate with a goose hollow resident over it. well, they were heated about it!

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