Macleay Park Improvements – Portland OR

Description

Macleay Park, a 130-acre portion of the City of Portland’s enormous Forest Park, was the site of Works Progress Administration (WPA) works projects during the mid-1930s. WPA workers built several miles of trails,  access roads, and comfort stations, improving a park that provided access to nature within a short distance of the city center.

The Stone House, shown in the photo, is a stone restroom facility that serves as a popular stop along the lower Macleay Park trail. Given its similarity to other comfort stations constructed with New Deal aid, the structure is often wrongly attributed to the WPA. In fact, it was designed by the Portland architect Ernest Tucker for the City of Portland Parks in late 1929. Tucker served as one of the architects for the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) in 1933-34, thus benefitting himself from a New Deal works project during Portland’s worst year of the Depression.

The one and a half story restroom was damaged during the Columbus Day Storm of 1962 and subsequent vandalism ended its operation. Now a landscape folly, its moss and fern-covered stonework has earned it the nickname ‘the Witch’s Castle’.

Source notes

Oregon Historic Preservation Office - http://heritagedata.prd.state.or.us/historic/index.cfm?do=v.dsp_siteSummary&resultDisplay=50273

“Shelter Built in Park: Macleay Canyon Haven in Inaccessible Place,” The Sunday Oregonian. January 12, 1930.

Project originally submitted by Judith Kenny on March 4, 2014.
Additional contributions by Richard Walker.

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Location Info


3026 NW Thurman St.
Portland, OR

Coordinates: 45.535458, -122.712194

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