In 1851, Dr. John McLoughlin formally platted Oregon City reserving land along the city’s prominent bluff for use as a park and naming that public amenity the Promenade. For decades, the Promenade’s minimally improved walkway provided a view of the city’s downtown, nearby neighborhoods, and rivers.
That changed in 1936 when plans were made to improve the Promenade using skilled and unskilled Works Progress Administration workers. The plans involved three related projects: a stone and concrete pathway, the Grand Staircase, and Singer Falls. John L. Franzen, Oregon City’s city manager and a registered engineer, designed all three integrated projects.
The stone and concrete McLoughlin Promenade Walkway runs 2,300 feet along the bluff about 100 feet above the city’s downtown. The historic McLoughlin House sits at the northern end of the Promenade’s walkway while the rest of the path follows the bluff to the south. A 1,400 foot long basalt parapet wall provides safety and rustic beauty for the walkway. Using local basalt that corresponds to the basalt bluff, stone masons constructed the wall south of today’s Oregon City elevator to mimic the appearance of a split rail fence.
Visitors can experience the adjacent park’s nature and view historical sites, as well as take walks, run, and bike.
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“McLoughlin Promenade.” City of Oregon City Parks and Recreation. https://www.orcity.org/parksandrecreation/mcloughlin-promenade. Accessed 12 Apr. 2020.
“McLoughlin Promenade.” National Register of Historic Places; Oregon City, Oregon. https://www.nps.gov/nr/feature/places/14000179.htm. Accessed 12 Apr. 2020.
Project originally submitted by Isabella Cohn on August 29, 2020.
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