Streetcars were both early and late arrivals in North Portland.
The first electric streetcars in the state of Oregon began rolling across the original Steel Bridge into the city of Albina in November 1889. Within a few months, these pioneering trolleys were connecting with a steam railway then under construction to the town of St. Johns.
Yet, travel on this longest of lines remained in two parts until the entire St. Johns Line was electrified in 1903. In the meantime, streetcar lines had been built to serve emerging neighborhoods in Upper Albina, Lower Albina, Ockley Green, Piedmont, and Overlook. Trolleys would soon reach the company town of Kenton.
By 1905, nine North Portland lines were operating out of the finest and most completely equipped carhouse in the Northwest. This is the story of those classic lines, from the first electrics in 1889, to the last steam motors in 1903, and from Portland’s final new streetcar line in 1920, to the arrival of trolley buses in the 1940s.
A final chapter brings the saga up to date with the return of streetcars there in 2004.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR(S)
Richard Thompson has been writing about streetcars for forty years. During that time, he worked as an archivist, historical museum director, librarian, teacher, and streetcar coordinator. He also accumulated a collection of photographs and memorabilia that has served as a resource for six books about streetcars and interurbans, including Portland’s Streetcars (2006), Willamette Valley Railways (2008), Portland’s Streetcar Lines (2010), Portland’s Interurban Railway (2012), Slabtown Streetcars (2015), and Lost Oregon Streetcars (2017). Now semi-retired, Richard enjoys writing, research and foreign travel. He also serves as a board member for the Oregon Electric Railway Historical Society and his local neighborhood association. He lives in Northwest Portland with his faithful feline sidekick, Sophia.
PUBLISHER: America Through Time
SERIES: America Through Time
DIMENSIONS: 6.5 (w) x 9.25 (h)