Maplewood Trestle

Maplewood Trestle ca. 1913, looking NE.

Maplewood Trestle ca. 1913, looking NE.


The second Maplewood School can be seen in the middle right.

When the Oregon Electric Railroad opened for passenger service on January 30, 1908, it was a single track line full of twists, turns, and hills. Railroad magnate James J. Hill bought the Oregon Electric Railroad in February of 1910 and immediately began to upgrade the line. Hill realized that a single line track out of Portland with its curves, high trestles, and steep grades was inadequate for the increasing volume of traffic on the Oregon Electric. Hill began straightening the railway and adding a second track.

Map of the Oregon Electric route (now Multnomah Blvd.) through Multnomah and Maplewood.

Map of the Oregon Electric route (now Multnomah Blvd.) through Multnomah and Maplewood.

Trestle was located at dotted line in left labelled “(Old) Oregon Electric Ry. Co.” Drawing by Kaye Synoground.

Steam shovel moving earth from the cut just west of present SW 45th to the ravine further west. ca. 1913.

Steam shovel moving earth from the cut just west of present SW 45th to the ravine further west. ca. 1913.


Oregon Electric Fill west of present SW 45th, looking east. ca. 1913.

Oregon Electric Fill west of present SW 45th, looking east. ca. 1913.

By 1914 after more than a year of construction, the double track from Portland to Garden Home was completed. The high trestle was abandoned and the huge fill just beyond Multnomah Station was completed. The straightening of curves and eliminating grades resulted in a savings of two tenths of a mile. The work necessitated cutting a hilltop, filling three valleys, construction of a great retaining wall to hold the mountain back from the rails and numerous minor changes in the face of nature.

Photographs donated to Multnomah Historical Association by the Wendland Family.

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2 Responses

  1. Patti Waitman says:

    Maplewood Trestle- does anyone else remember that the Maplewood Trestle was paved with a guardrail on the east side of the road. There was no shoulder and walking daily to school was very scary. It was paved by 1950 which is about the time that the stretch from 45th west became the extension of Multnomah Blvd to Garden Home. This straight shot decreased the traffic on Garden Home Rd from 45th to Garden Home.

  1. July 15, 2015

    […] enjoyed the articles about the Maplewood train trestle and later replacing it with earthen works published by the Multnomah Historical […]

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