Estacada Park, Oregon

Estacada Park, Oregon

This sign is on the front door of the Estacada Community Center. The Clackamas river in the second picture still exists of course, but the arch and rock columns are gone, nor is there a fence along the river any longer.

The sign says:

“Entry Gate and Riverside view inside Estacada Park before 1911

In the early 1900’s the Oregon Water Power and Railway Company built a railroad through the wilderness for their hydroelectric dam project at Cazadero. Their plan was to develop a number of hydroelectric plants on the Clackamas River to serve the growing Portland’s power needs. In addition to developing hydropower and a railway OWRP saw an opportunity to also develop the area as a resort that would support the cost of building the railways and benefit their real estate interests.

Across the tracks from the elegant Hotel Estacada the Estacada Park was constructed parallel to the Clackamas River. Estacada Park had river view trails, ball fields, a dance hall, a gazebo for concerts and cabin lots for sale. After River Mill Dam was built in 1911 the rugged river canyon of the park became the peaceful “Estacada Lake.” OWRP touted the area as place to relax and fish. Since there were five round-trips daily by electric trolley servicing the town from Portland many townspeople come to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine. Passenger service on the railroads continued until 1932.

The Clackamas was known for it’s salmon and steelhead runs as well as it’s trout fishing. Rudyard Kipling in 1889 was quoted after spending a day steelhead fishing on the Clackamas: “I have lived! The American continent may now sink under the sea, for I have taken the best of it, and the best was neither dollars, love, nor real estate.” It was no doubt the same way Portland Picnickers and visitors to Estacada felt on a warm summer day.”

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