Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Historic Portland Maps: 1866 Portland Map

The last in this particular era of maps, this survey map highlights the tracing of ‘disappeared streams’ throughout the urban area, which requires research and layering of a number of historical maps onto the modern urban form. One map that has some interesting waterways is a Map of the City of Portland, Surveyed and drawn by order of the Common Council, By C.W. Burrage, City Surveyor, 1866.

This map traces a detailed route of Tanner Creek, the waterway that meandered through modern-day Downtown and Pearl District, through the Northwest Industrial area that was occupied by Couch Lake. The ‘lake’ which was mostly a fen, or wetland, is located in a parcel (marked J.H. Couch), but the boundaries are not delineated. There are some other maps that exist showing the boundaries, which will be layered in as well.

Another interesting waterway is along the east bank, originating in at the intersection of B & C Streets, at 5th Street. The modern location of this would be around the outfall of Sullivan’s Gulch (around the I-84/I-5 connection)… the forked creek meanders through the Central Eastside area, outletting at the Water Street at ‘J’ Street (presently Water at Oak – along the Eastbank Esplanade).

The other interesting feature was the location of the Lunatic Asylum Grounds in Southeast Portland. The location of this facility is somewhere between Ladd’s Addition and the Central Eastside Industrial District… showing that SE has always been the locus of the ‘Keep Portland Wierd’ idea.


  1. Great posts, Jason. This one reminded me of some similar investigations of San Francisco's hydrological past:

  2. Thanks for the link... very cool stuff. There's another project in London that I'm trying to track down as well.


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