1845-1852 Lownsdale Map

(These postings of Portland historical maps were are a contribution to F.A.D.  by guest blogger and fellow Portlander, Jason King of Landscape + Urbanism).

Tying a bit of history to the mapping, this early settlement map shows the Lownsdale claim.  Again from the City of Portland Historic Timeline 1843 to 1901:

“1850: Portland or “Stump Town”, consists of a steam sawmill, a log-cabin hotel and the weekly Oregonian. Sidewalks are rough planks and the streets are dirt turning to mud when it rains. Houses are small and simple, only 2 houses in town have a plaster interior.”

The map below shows the level of development – tied closely to the larger 1852 Portland map in amount of urbanization.  You can also see on the right side where the grid shift will take place (along present day Burnside) as the blocks blend into Capt. Couch’s claim.


The inset of the western section shows the sparse development – including pastureland, orchards, and gardens.  There was also some smaller gardens and potato fields along the creek (which is probably Tanner) to the NW.


The City of Portland was subsequently incorporated in on February 8th, 1851, using the established Lownsdale plan as a starting point. The inset shows the ‘developed’ downtown – expanded somewhat from the 1945 map of ‘The Clearing’.  To the north was land claimed by Captain John Couch – and to the south was land claimed by James Terwilliger – place names that continue to define NW and SW areas to this day.  The road shown on this map led to the Tualatin Plains, running along present-day Canyon Road, which at the time was a plank trail built in 1847 – heading towards present-day Beaverton.


To connect the maps to the level of development, an ‘urban’ shot showing the City, circa 1852 – taken from the corner of First & Stark (photo via PDX History)


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