City and West Portland Park Railway

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  1. Richard Brainard says:

    A portion of the City & West Portland Park Railway r-o-w is still obvious through a portion of Hospice House in the Hillsdale area. There are two houses still standing which fronted the rail line just north of Hospice House. One is a two-story residence just north of where Dewitt intersects Cheltenham St.; the other is the house behind the two new adjacent rowhouses fronting Cheltenham St. at Dewitt. This house, which fronted the r-o-w was moved and turned around in the 1990’s to accommodate the rowhouses construction. I know this from living almost 40 years in an apartment on Dewitt across from the Hillsdale Fire Station. Other of my information came from Mabel Feland Ferguson who once lived in the house on the southwest corner of Cheltenham & Dewitt (her house once was located on the dairy property which is now school district property across Capitol Hwy.) Mabel & her husband purchased the house shortly after it was moved to its current location. About the year 2000, Mabel, in her 90’s, moved back to Bismark, N. Dakota to be near relatives. She had no children. The other person who seemed to have knowledge of the rail r-o-w was the elderly gentleman who lived in the house which was later moved to accommodate the rowhouses construction. I recall watching him walk to the then new liquor store in Hillsdale to purchase his weekly bottle of libation. Also, the two Ward brothers who owned most of the block in which I lived, told me that there was once a rail r-o-w across a corner of their property at Cheltenham & Capitol Hwy. They also said there was once a “Midget Motel” complex of tourist cabins located on the northwest corner of Cheltenham & Capitol. Exactly where the rail r-o-w ran from Cheltenham & Capitol over to Terwilliger Bl., is unknown. All traces of the r-o-w have been erased by later subdivision development along Cheltenham over to Terwilliger Bl. at the Charthouse Restaurant. In the southwest direction, I assume the r-o-w ran through a portion of the current row of shops along the south side of Capitol Hwy. There is a small remaining curved r-o-w on an old Sanborn Map next to what is now a freestanding pizza shop that connects to the cutoff from Bertha up to Capitol. The r-o-w likely crossed Bertha on a trestle over the interurban line and then followed, or paralleled Capitol Hill Rd. for some distance. After that, who knows?

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