13 thoughts on “Thurman Bridge, 1935

  1. How appropriate for Friday the 13th! The bridge you dared your friends to cross, especially on a rainy, slippery day! Fire trucks avoided it, adding several minutes to their runs. Buses crossed it very…slowly…. I understand it’s been restored.

  2. Not an OHSA approved ladder. The embankment the worker is standing on, a dam really, was built just a few years earlier.

  3. The city’s oldest bridge that spans Balch Creek and the entrance to Macleay Park. It is a rare example of steel pin truss, eligible for listing on the NRHP. It was built in 1905 to coincide with the Lewis and Clark Exposition. It replaced a wood truss bridge built in the 1890’s. The new bridge could handle an electric street car to help spur hillside development we know as Willamette Heights. Many of the homes were designed by Emil Schacht and a few by William C. Knighton who introduced the city to craftsman and arts and crafts architecture. Many homes have porches and veranda facing north with views of the exposition grounds. The bridge was restored a few years ago at a cost of $3.8 mil. It would have cost $8 mil. to replace and would have lost its historic aesthetic.

  4. To add to the general neatness of this bridge, on a very clear day, Mt. Rainier can be seen from the center of the span. Don’t try to look while driving!

  5. Thurman Bridge history: https://www.portland.gov/transportation/pbot-projects/construction/nw-thurman-street-bridge-project

    Macleay Park history: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donald_Macleay

    Balch Creek history: https://offbeatoregon.com/1302b-balch-murders-stump-on-stark-street-ferry.html

    Really interesting pic in the bridge link, showing the creek at full flow, log homes beneath the bridge with trolley ascending above…and look how much “higher” the bridge was compared to now. We wouldn’t have US Bank or Columbia River jetties with Mr. Macleay. And Mr. Balch was hung for murder. (Forgive this dark question, but does anyone know the exact location of this public execution?)

  6. Thorn, According to one account the site of the hanging was Front and Salmon on October 18, 1859. According to another account there were 5-600 people who witnessed the hanging, including Balch’s daughter Anna.

  7. So, basically where Salmon Street Springs fountain is today and just a few blocks south of the crime scene at Stark Street Ferry.

  8. According to Wikipedia…Danford Balch, after whom the creek is named, settled a land claim along the creek in the mid-19th century. After murdering his son-in-law, he became the first person legally hanged in Oregon.

  9. @Thorne. I think the reason the bridge appears lower is because someone after the Lewis & Clark Expo started using hydraulic mining equipment to blast buildable lots into the hills above and filling up Guild’s Lake in the process. If memory serves me he had no official permission to do this but certainly landowners around the lake supported the idea since they wanted to turn the area industrial, not into a permanent park that had been proposed.

  10. The sluicing was indeed questionable legal.
    As for the sire selection; The L & C Exposition site was chosen because speculative interests by the areas land owners always planned for Guilds Lake to become industrial. The L & C Committee originally proposed Washington Park. At the last moment NW property owners lobbied quietly and successfully for Guilds Lake. These same speculative property owners miscalculated how much and long it would take to fill the swamp snd bring infrastructure. They managed to do it by petitioning for a federal housing authority to build the federally subsidized Guilds Lake Housing Project to bring the needed federal resources.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s