History of Estacada, Faraday, and Cazadero, Oregon

History of Estacada, Faraday, and Cazadero, Oregon

The History of Estacada, Faraday and Cazadero are tied very closely together. All three towns are also closely associated with Portland’s growth in the 1890-1910 era, and the number of trolley cars that criss-crossed the city and tied it’s suburbs together.

In 1891 Six different Transportation Companies had rail way tracks in and around Portland. Due to the economy, and no doubt to the over saturation of transportation, the Oregon Water Power and Railway Company was created with control of the bulk of the old lines and little competition.

The OWPR immediately bought land along the Clackamas River with the purpose of building Dams across the river to provide power for their electric trains, and the City of Portland. In 1904 to 1907, OWPR extended a train line from Sellwood in South East Portland all the way to Cazadero just south of Estacada. Several towns rapidly grew along this line, Boring, Barton, Eagle Creek, Estacada and the terminus of Cazadero.

The remains of this train line are the Springwater Corridor that runs from SW Ivon Street to Boring. The Cazadero Trail that is currently in planning stages should cover the rest of the route from Boring all the way to the Cazadero Dam.

The name Estacada was randomly drawn from a hat in 1903 by members of the board of the OWPR. In the Summer of 1927 some controversy arose over the origin of the name with letters to the Editor of the Oregonian. The entry for Estacada in Oregon Geographic Names cover this in some detail.

Estacada was incorporated as a town in 1905. By that time the OWPR had built the attraction “Estacada Park” along the Clackamas River. This park was created as a tourist destination for those living in Portland, to attract them to ride the train there and thus partially or completely pay for the train and it’s maintenance. The city of Estacada grew to support tourists here, and somewhat to support Timber Industry further up the Clackamas River.

The Hotel Estacada opened in 1904 and became another tourist draw. In this picture above the train station is on the far left, the train tracks are visible as the line just to the right of that. The Hotel Estacada is directly across the tracks from the train station. Visit PDXHistory.com for more pictures of Estacada at this time.

Sometime around 1908 the OWRP became known as the Portland Railway, Light and Power Company. This company consolidated not only OWRP’s holdings, but all the other holdings of independent train lines in Portland.

Faraday is named by O.B. Coldwell, vice president of the PRL&P for British Scientist Michael Faraday who discovered the induction of electric currents.

The town of Faraday was established as a train stop for workers at the Faraday Dam. It never had a Post Office and it’s doubtful it had much more then a tent city for workers.

Cazadero was named again at random by the OWRP in 1903. A Post Office was opened October 25th, 1904, and the city became the end of the Interurban line from Portland. In 1908 just about the time the PRL&P took it over, the Cazadero Dam came online. The Dam became another tourist destination.

In this picture of the Cazadero Dam, the fish ladder and the water flume are clearly visible on the right.

From the top of the Dam, the water flume.

Down the river a little ways.

I believe these pictures were taken by Albert Reck, a trolley driver and amateur photographer who ran the train from Sellwood to Cazadero.

The interurban line only ran until the early 1920’s. There are different accounts as to the exact date that the branch stopped carrying passengers. But the line was extended up river to the Three Lynx Dam in the 1930’s. It continued to carry timber until the 1970’s.

It is unclear as to when the Faraday Dam was actually built. Wikipedia has it as late as 1965. Yet pictures from 1908-1911 exist of Cazadero Dam and the water flume that supplied water directly to Faraday Dam. Oddly enough pictures also exist of the Cazadero Dam Power House, yet in the pictures above it’s hard to imagine where it was actually located, except that it had to be down stream of the Dam.

To add more information, Portland General Electric’s website says that the fish ladder from Faraday Powerhouse at Faraday Dam travels two miles upriver to the Faraday Diversion Dam which was originally called Cazadero.

My guess is that there were originally two dams. The Cazadero Power House was either just below the Cazadero Dam, or two miles down river at the Faraday Dam. When the Cazadero was damaged and deemed irreparable in 1965, the new Faraday dam was built to consolidate the power generation abilities of both dams. From this arose confusion about the names and origins of the two. A look at Google Maps helps clear this up somewhat and shows the relation between the two dams and their respective cities.

These days Faraday and Cazadero are names on a map. Both have been annexed by Estacada and exist as it’s suburbs. Other then a couple of old buildings along Highway 224 and the Dams themselves, there is little evidence that such towns even existed.

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