Thursday, November 03, 2011

Maybe-Milestone @ Peninsular & Farragut

Milestone @ Peninsular & Farragut

View Larger Map

Today's episode of the ongoing milestone quest takes us to North Portland, where the stone pictured here sits along Peninsular Avenue, near the intersection with Farragut St. This one was spotted by keen-eyed Gentle Reader av3ed, who sent me a tip about it (along with a few other interesting spots you'll probably see here sooner or later).

Milestone @ Peninsular & Farragut

Like a couple of the other recent finds (the big tilted one at 23rd & Hawthorne, and the one marked '5' on SW Spring Garden Road), we have something of a mystery on our hands. As with the one on Hawthorne, I don't absolutely know for a fact that this is a milestone; it doesn't have any numbers visible on it, and neither Peninsular nor Farragut are major streets that you'd think would require a hefty marker like this. What's more, so far I haven't been able to learn anything at all about the thing. Nothing on PortlandMaps, nothing in the old Oregonian database, nothing anywhere on the net that I've been able to find.

Milestone @ Peninsular & Farragut

So unless new information turns up somehow, we're left to guess at what this stone might be. One possibility is that someone hoped Peninsular would be more of a major street than it turned out to be. It's kind of a grand name for a quiet residential street, so I think this isn't a totally unreasonable guess. As for the time period, it looks newer than the Stark St. milestones, but it's still stone and not concrete like the ones along the Gorge Highway, or the Spring Garden one. The house it sits next to dates to 1894, and the design of the stone does look a bit Victorian, so I'm going to guess a few years on either side of when the house went in.

The stone has a couple of round markings on its sides, as if something was attached there at one point. If this was a milestone, that may be where its key informational bit was once located, and everything would suddenly make sense if only that item hadn't been misplaced at some point.

Another possibility that just occurred to me is that this might be an ornate stone hitching post, and not a milestone at all. I'm not aware of any examples of fancy hitching posts around town -- in downtown Portland people relied on metal rings fixed into the sidewalk -- but it's one other possible explanation I can think of. Maybe the circular parts are where the metal rings were once attached, although I don't see holes that would indicate something had once been bolted there. So I dunno. I'm going to go ahead and tag this under 'milestone' for the time being, since it does look very much like one. If it turns out I'm totally off base here and it's something completely different, I'll fix it later and we can all have a hearty laugh at my expense. Trust me, it wouldn't be the first time.


Matt Waters said...

Looks like a fencepost, at first glance. Stick the end of a wooden bow into the holes at each side. Keep the riff-raff out.

Don said...

That stone marker is actually a surveyor's marker. Its the "Initial Starting Point" for when that subdivision was surveyed and platted.

The land NW of this marker, bounded by Farrgut, Peninsular, Emerald and Winchell, were all part of a subdivision known as Westlawn. It was surveyed by U. Ernest Nelson in 1922, and all the borders and dimensions of the subdivision as well as the lots within were measured from that point.

My guess is that the round cutouts used to hold metal medallions that showed the coordinates for the marker, based on the Willamette Stone coordinates.

Anonymous said...

Not a milepost but have you ever seen the City Boundary marker in Columbia Pioneer Cemetery?

Anonymous said...

I just realized I said Columbia Pioneer Cemetery which would be a goose chase as the marker is in The Historic Columbian Cemetery.

brx0 _ said...

@Aimee Wade: Thanks! I'll definitely have to check that out. It's on my todo list now.