History of Fields Bridge in West Linn, Oregon

History of Fields Bridge

Today we’re back in West Linn, here at Fields Bridge Park along the Tualatin River.  Somewhere in the plans for the redevelopment of this area, there was supposed to be a canoe boat launch constructed right around here.  I guess it’s still under consideration.  In the meantime, you’ll see kayakers and canoes getting launched underneath Fields Bridge.


Speaking of Fields, way back in 1849, Joseph Fields crossed the Oregon Trail from Missouri to file a claim for land here along both sides of the Tualatin River.  Amazing time in history when settlers would just stake claim to huge swaths of land that is so precious to us today.


Anyway, around 1852, Joseph Fields started to offer a ferry service for people across the Tualatin river, but it wasn’t until 1862 that the first bridge was built here.  A few years later in 1866, a better-constructed bridge was put in place, only to be washed away in the flood of 1890.


Then in 1891, a covered bridge was built.  This first iteration of the covered bridge had no windows, so between 1923 and 1926, a new covered bridge, this time with glassless windows was constructed.


People just love covered bridges.  Most covered bridges in the United States were built between 1830-1870.  There are around 900 covered bridges still standing today.


Most covered bridges were constructed with a timber truss and covering the bridge actually helps strengthen the truss, as well as, protecting the timber from the elements.  Another reason why most bridges were covered during this time in the 19th century was that a lot of livestock would need to cross the river using the bridges.  Having the bridge covered, essentially helped the animals not get spooked by the rushing water.  Interesting, huh?


Anyway, our covered Fields Bridge lasted all the way to 1953, when a concrete version of the bridge was built.  Then in 2007, the latest version of the bridge was constructed.


Unfortunately, when the bridge was completed in 2007, the city closed off access to what was the end of Dollar Street.  As you can see, it’s closed off now.


Why does this matter?  Well, there used to be a charming coffee house and nursery that drew a lot of business but when the latest version of the bridge went in, it pretty much killed that business.  I’ll do an episode on the history of that place in the coming weeks, as it’s a cool bit of history here in West Linn that not a lot of people know about.


So, this was just a quick episode on this little corner of history for us here in West Linn, or more specifically at the end of the Willamette neighborhood.  Again, there’s a difference between Willamette and West Linn and you can check out an old episode where I go into those differences and I’ll leave a link for that video in the description.


Speaking of links, a lot of this history can be found over at the West Linn Historical Society.  They even wrote a book called, History of West Linn Parks, in honor of Ken Worcester, who worked in the Parks and Recreation Department for over 40 years and tended to the grounds for all our parks here in West Linn.  You can get this book over at the West Linn Historical Society website, which I’ll leave a link to that in the description.


Before I finish up this episode, I have something special that I’ve been working on for the past few weeks, so you can stay tuned until the end to see what that is, but for the purpose of this episode, since the show is sponsored by my real estate services, all my contact information is listed in the description.  I work from referrals, so if you happen to know someone who is looking to buy or sell a home, and you think I can help.  Please let me know.  For everyone else, you can get more videos over at AroundTheNeighborhood dot tv, that’s AroundTheNeighborhood dot tv.


Well, I hope you like this episode and if you see me walking around, feel free to say hi.  Okay, in the meantime, I’ll see you around the neighborhood.



Historic Willamette: http://historicwillamette.com

West Linn Historical Society: http://westlinnhistory.org/

Fields Bridge History: http://portlandhistory.net/2012/06/14/fields-bridge/

West Linn Parks and Recreation: https://westlinnoregon.gov/parksrec/fields-bridge-park



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