Trolleys to SW Portland Cemeteries

Did trolleys serve cemeteries in SW Portland long ago? If so, where did the tracks go?

Metropolitan Railway Car 27 [Labbe,p73]

The answer is yes. Three trolley lines served the SW cemeteries in the first decades of the 20th century. The Fulton Park line of the Metropolitan Railway Company — the second electrified trolley in Portland after the Albina line — ran from 1890 to 1899. Initially the F Line went from downtown only as far as Fulton Park, but in 1891 it was extended to Greenwood Hills and River View cemeteries, making it Portland’s longest electric trolley line at six miles. When the F Line ceased operation, the City & Suburban Railway Company extended its N-S Line out Corbett Avenue past the city limits and partway up Taylors Ferry Road to a different entry point at River View. That line lasted until 1916 or 1918 (followed by a 'motorcoach' till 1937). During this busy period of trolley development, a longtime railroad right-of-way along the west side of the Willamette River became an electric interurban route, and its Cemeteries station provided access to the original entrance of River View. Three trolleys with three different ways of delivering mourners and picnickers to the beautiful new cemeteries.


About the Trolley Project

Here we tell the story of how the Trolley Project got started, and about some adventures we've had so far examining hidden parts of our now urban landscape. Read about the Trolley Project [HERE]

This project is the work of several people. See Helpers at the end of the page.

It's OK to share the Trolley Project Web Pages. Since this is a Work in Progress, and we are waiting for confirmation of some of our conclusions, I ask that you not republish or otherwise copy the text, just yet. I will put a Creative Commons license on it ASAP. Thank You — JM.

Feedback Welcome at the above address!

The F Line: Fulton Park, Greenwood Hills, and Upper River View Cemetery

'F Line' represents the earlier Portland—Fulton·Park—Cemeteries Line that went from Portland to Fulton Park to Greenwood Hills Cemetery and continued to the western edge of the upper part of River View Cemetery.

We know this early electric line left Portland on Corbett, ascending to the Fulton Park area via cuts in the [eastern] side of the West Hills. From Fulton Park, it crossed Stephens Creek via a trestle, proceeded through Carson Heights and Collins View, into the Greenwood Hills Cemetery, stopping just inside River View Cemetery where there was a station! It probably crossed four trestles total.

The F Line was discontinued after ~9 years, and a simpler existing N-S Line was extended to serve the lower northern end of River View Cemetery. That's why we cover both the F Line and the N-S Line.

F Line Trolley Page [LINK]


The N-S Line: From Portland to the southern terminus at River View Cemetery

The N-S Line left downtown via Corbett. It turned on Nebraska, ran along Virginia Street, then up Taylors Ferry Road a little ways to just above Fulton Park Blvd. There is a wide spot in Taylors Ferry Road now, on the Stephens Creek side of the road that was the trolley stop and end of the line. A foot bridge at the end of the line crossed a fork of Stephens Creek, allowing passengers to get into River View Cemetery.

The N-S Line did not cross Stephens Creek, it stopped just short of whatever Taylors Ferry Road bridge/crossing existed (over the creek) at the time for horse-drawn carriages and such traffic.

N-S Line Trolley Page [LINK]


Special Features

This page has interesting bits and pieces tangential to the main stories, such as the mysterious Corbett Ramp.

Special Features [LINK]


Future Projects

Here we describe additional work that can be done to commemorate the Fulton Park Trolley Line, with serious interpretive signage, local culture, presentations, litter cleanup, and so on.

Future Projects [WIP]


Collection of (Re)Sources

Glossary of terms / Bibliography / Library of Documents and Maps / List of Websites...

Collection of Resources [LINK]


Self Guided Walking Tour (A Future Project)

Here we describe self-guided tour of the F and N-S Lines, pointing out sites and sights along the way, with longer and shorter options. Currently only lists points along the way, narration will be compiled ASAP. And there will be a Big Map prepared.

Self Guided Walking Tour, with Options [WIP]


Timeline of the two Trolleys and things that obliterated traces of them.

Electric Trolleys served SW Portland Cemeteries from about 1891-1916. Here we describe the start and end of the F Line and the N-S Line, and the many changes of companies during the great consolation.

Timeline of the two Trolleys [WIP]


Nearby Oregon Electrics (Willamette Shore, Bertha, Red Electric, SPRR)

A Primer on Electric train lines near the Cemetery Trolley lines

Nearby Oregon Electrics [WIP]


Helpers

  • Cynthia Stowell, Cohort, Cynthia's Detective Service (CDS)
  • Stephen Dudley, associated with River View Cemetery, Railway Volunteer
  • Erik Goetze, Art of Geography
  • Matthew Hampton, Cartographic Jedi
  • Tony Paolucci, Map Collector
  • Lee Rogers, River View Cemetery
  • Richard Thompson, via his books and emails.
  • John T Labbe, via his book. Labbe is buried in River View Cemetery!
  • Ken Mead, for his Newsletter article citing Labbe, that got this all started.
  • Doris Graham

Books

Book Abbreviations

  • LABBE = John T Labbe's Fares Please! Those Portland Trolley Years
  • RTPS = Richard Thompson's Portland's Streetcars
  • RTPSL = Richard Thompson's Portland's Streetcar Lines
  • The Labbe book: Fares, Please! Those Portland Trolley Years by John T Labbe, 1980, can be found on-line for ~$15 and in Multnomah County Library (15 copies!).
  • The Leflar book: A History of South Portland by Stephen Leflar, Draft, 2010, via Multnomah County Library.
  • Thompson Book 1: Portland's Street Cars by Richard Thompson, Arcadia Publishing, 2006.
  • Thompson Book 2: Portland's Street Car Lines by Richard Thompson, Arcadia Publishing, 2010.