8 thoughts on “Laurelhurst Park, 1919

  1. We had quite a discussion about this on April 8, 2020 (see the “Related” post to the park in this same year, 1919). Particularly intriguing was DJ’s comment about the dredging of the lake and what was found then. Does anyone know how deep it was?

  2. When drained, the bottom of the lake was found to contain many things: empty purses, empty wallets, pried lock boxes, a prosthetic arm and 2 large garbage bags that were duck-taped shut. We should never drain this lake again.

  3. In 1919, Laurelhurst Park was named the most beautiful park on the West Coast by the Pacific Coast Parks Association, and in February 2001 it was the first city park ever to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
    Sounds like Firwood lake was once just a natural watering hole used for cattle, so it probably wasn’t more than just a couple of feet originally; it’s supposedly 8 foot deep now and covers 3 acres.
    Wikipedia says that in 2009, park maintenance cost was $274,000 per year.*
    *Janie, Har (September 24, 2009). “Who gets a park? And at what price?”

  4. Joseph Wood Hill Park, atop Rocky Butte, was placed on the National Register of Heroic Places in 1991 as part of the Rocky Butte Historic District, see Wikipedia.

  5. I’m always amazed how much influence William S. Ladd still had on the evolution of Portland, including Hazel Fern Farm, a nearly five hundred acre home to his prized purebred Jersey herd–his cattle sparked Oregon’s livestock industry, his farm became Laurelhurst Park.

    Unfortunately, the park and neighborhood were named by the Laurelhurst Company whose name comes from a neighborhood in Seattle. Therefore, because we are Oregonians–and because we don’t name things here after things in Washington– I implore all VP readers to join me in my outrage and demand we change the name!

    I’m going to suggest Coe!

    Henry Waldo Coe was not only a local doctor, progressive activist, and philanthropist, he’s responsible for donating the golden Joan of Arc statue, one of our most famous, the centerpiece of the Laurelhurst neighborhood in the Coe Circle roundabout. Remarkably, Coe saw the original in Paris, and had the original molds used to make the exact replica for Portland. Less known, he also gave us the George Washington statue on Sandy Boulevard, and both Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt in the South Park Blocks–all four some of the most recognizable and revered in the Rose City. He even gave smaller copies of the Rough Rider to two cities in North Dakota–where his career began–Minot and Mandan, the latter being the same place where Lewis & Clark would first meet a pregnant Sacagawea, young wife of fur trapper Toussaint Charbonneau in early 1804.

    And Coe had connections! He was not only close friends with President Theodore Roosevelt (and less so with President Howard Taft). He was Teddy’s clandestine advisor on Oregon, was sent by the president to Panama in 1907 to observe canal construction conditions, and eventually became a national leader of the Progressive Party. On top of that he was president or director of several Pacific Northwest banks, founded multiple ventures in mining and irrigation, and travelled the world extensively before his death in 1927. Perhaps equally amazing, Viola, his first wife was a doctor as well–she was just as involved as her husband, and half the reason Henry Waldo Coe left such an impressive legacy.

    But, if anyone else has suggestions for new names, let’s hear it! The main point is, we can’t have things in Portland named after things in Seattle, now can we? (wink emoji)

  6. Liz I don’t believe the Firwood Lake in the park is very deep, as there was talk of draining it at one time.
    Excerpt Oregon Journal December 6, 1913 page 3

    Considerable discussion was heard concerning establishment of playgrounds for Sunnyside in Laurelhurst park, where there are several blocks of level ground and the suggestion was made that Firwood Lake in the park might be easily drained and used as playgrounds, as it is level. However Laurelhurst residents are considering the establishment of a swimming pool there. A committee of 15 from various Sunnyside civic betterment organizations will be appointed to take the matter up with commissioner Brewster.

  7. When I was growing up the lake would freeze once in awhile. People could ice skate. So being a small child with little brain, I decided one frozen day that I could walk across it. Fortunately I didn’t get far before I broke through up to my knees. It was a wonderful park to grow up with.

  8. I can’t remember what it was for but there was a bench placed at 39th and Glisan along with the statue. Would love to know what happened to it.

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