Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Southwest Milestone P7

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Ok, so we finished up the last Stark St. Milestone a few days ago, but we aren't quite done with Milestone Madness just yet. In my post about the P7 on Stark St., I mentioned there was another P7 out on Capitol Highway in SW Portland. And this, o Gentle Reader(s), is that other P7. As you can sorta-see here, it's located right at the entrance to the Capitol Hill Library, just a couple of feet from the entrance curb cut. Park at the library and look for it. It's hard to miss, once you're looking for it and you know it's there.

The milestones on Stark follow an obvious pattern, and most of them still exist. This milestone seems to be the sole survivor of at least 7 heading SW out of downtown. So it's more mysterious than the Stark stones, and raises a few questions I can't answer right now:

  • 7 miles(?) from where, along what route? Presumably it's in miles, presumably it's miles from downtown Portland, and presumably it follows the route of Hwy 99W to the SW of here, to the site of the actual Taylor's Ferry, and beyond. The route between downtown and here is less certain -- somehow or other it has to add up to 7 miles, so it's not as-the-crow-flies distance, since it seems to be just short of 5 miles in a straight line. Unless the stone is newer than it looks, the distance isn't likely to be along the current Hwy 99W / Barbur Blvd. route, since that was a railroad right of way until some time in the early-mid 20th century. I suspect it's measured along the route of old Taylor's Ferry road, following Macadam south out of town until the start of present-day Taylors Ferry Rd., just south of the Zupan's grocery store. And if I'm wrong about the route, I have no idea what the real route might be.

  • I don't know for a fact whether this is the original milestone, or its original site. Could be both, could be neither. I suppose I could've gone inside and asked, since if anyone's likely to know about the milestone it would be someone with the library. But their open hours and my free hours don't mesh up very well, and I had to run off for an important meeting just as they were getting ready to open for the day.

  • The existence of this milestone suggests that others existed, at least between here and downtown, and possibly between here and the old site of Taylor's Ferry. If so, what became of the others? Were they all lost to road-widening projects (which is distinctly possible, especially as we go further away from downtown)? Or do they still exist somewhere, awaiting discovery by intrepid urban explorers?

  • As you can see, this P7 is in better shape than most of the ones on Stark. I don't know for a fact that it's the same age as the Stark milestones. It could be the same age but abused less, or it could be slightly newer, or it could be a modern reproduction, for all I know. I suppose I could call or email the library and ask about it, since it's the 21st century and all. They may even respond to tweets or whatever it is that one does on Facebook, for all I know.

Just south of the library is Portland's new Holly Farm Park. I thought about visiting, and drove past and took a look, but I didn't stop. It's new, but it's just a neighborhood park, and it looks far more interesting from space than it does at street level. Oh, well.


nuovorecord said...

OK, maybe I'm your only reader, but I've been digging all of the milestone postings you've done and gone out to explore them on my own.

With this one, I'm assuming that this stone is on a route which is the current Capitol Highway. Based on that assumption, I used Google Maps distance feature to trace this route back downtown, to see where I'd wind up. Check it out; the answer makes sense, given the origin of the other stones. But I can't say for certain that it's the actual starting point.


nuovorecord said...

I think my map link didn't work. Try this one instead.


nuovorecord said...

Blogger still is truncating my link. Let's try this.


atul666 said...

That looks like a distinct possibility. One detail is that I don't think Barbur existed in its current form until the 1930's, and Capitol Hwy. used to continue on down the hill to at least Corbett Ave. in the Johns Landing area. There's still a dead-end remnant of the old street in place, called "Slavin Road". I've seen references to that being the original name of Capitol Highway, named for an early pioneer who lived somewhere nearby.

MB said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MB said...

Hey there. Late to the game here but discovered and really enjoyed your posts about mile markers. This particular one is in my neighborhood and thus got my attention. I've been really curious about the genesis of the roadways in Southwest Portland, and to that end have found a couple of maps online (at the City Auditor's website) which are pretty dang cool IMO. The first one is a paving map of Portland from 1895: http://tinyurl.com/3sawf4u
And the second map (quality isn't quite as good) is a Pittmon map of Portland from 1918 which you can download here: http://tinyurl.com/3lznwxp (click on the title of the map "City Auditor - Archives & Records Management - Auditor's Historical Records - Pittmon's map of Portland")
Both show Slavin road but the 1895 one really clearly shows it winding its way down the hill from present-day Hillsdale, winding north (it looks like along the same route which the present-day Slavin takes - which is nestled between Barbur and I-5), and meeting Corbett at Seymour Ave. (now Seymour St.). It looks like Slavin still starts at that spot, at Hamilton, right off Corbett where it passes over I-5. There are also some great maps taken from a 1927 atlas of Multnomah county at http://tinyurl.com/3brwjdh Those are cool because it shows the street layout before either I-5 or Barbur existed. Anyway, thanks for the informative posts!