Irving, Ghost town in Eugene Oregon

Irving, Ghost town in Eugene Oregon

Once it’s own town, it was one of several small communities in what was known as the River Road Neighborhood. Now part of the Santa Clara neighborhood in Eugene, the town lives on only in name.

Platted by the Oregon and California Railroad in 1870, on the donation land claim of Jame Peck, the town appears to have been home to early railroad workers. It was situated such that workers were isolated from Eugene. (Eugene’s Historic River Road, November 2005)

The plat ran south from lrvington Road along Peck Street, which is now Prairie Road. The area
between the five blocks of building lots and the rail lines was identified as “depot grounds”. An later undated “Plat of Irving” map shows an additional three blocks across Peck Street.

The Post Office established on January 24th, 1876 was misspelled “Irvine”. This mistake was corrected though, on October 17th of the same year.

The town was substantial enough that by March 1889 the Morning Register newspaper included “Irving Items” in its coverage of surrounding communities. Like many small town papers, this was mostly local news such as birthdays, residential comings and goings and bulletin type news.

Again, trusty Ralph Friedman captures a glimpse of early Irving in “In Search of Western Oregon”

“Irvington Rd. Turn L. 0.1 mile on R, Irving Christian Church, built 1853, moved here from site of Irving. (Ed, interestingly, from what I can tell another historic church building appears to have been moved to this exact same spot in 2013) Return to jct. Cross road 0.1 m, site of Irving. In 1915 in had pop. 100, stores, HS, PS, three churches, Grange. Now there is nothing to indicate existence of town.”

Unfortunately the town’s post office was closed on May 31, 1919.

Town or no, the area was good crop land. Originally wheat, it was diversified into fruit and vegetable production that was shipped out on the rail. The Allen Orchard Company and later Chambers Orchard Company both operated east of the depot decades.

Today, nothing exists of Irving from those days. As pointed out above a historic Church building looks to be on or very near the site of the first church, but it is a totally different building.

The Wikipedia Article for Irving brings up some interesting, and contradictory, additional information.

“Irving was a station on the Southern Pacific Railroad’s Valley Line between Eugene and Junction City, first named “Halletts” when the line was built in 1872. J. L. Hallett had built the first 100 miles of the line and supervised the construction of the rest of the line to Roseburg. In 1876, the name of the station was changed to Irving, probably for William Irving, who was a settler in the area.”

“Irving Christian Church (now known as the Sonrise Christian Church) was moved from the Clear Lake area, two miles east of Fern Ridge Reservoir, in 1899.”

Note that the Southern Pacific took over the Oregon and California Railroad sometime between 1884 and 1887, over a decade after the original town plat was filed. Additionally, I can find no information or knowledge of “Hallett” outside of Lewis McArthur’s incredibly useful “Oregon Geographic Names.” Especially in any information about either railroad’s history.

If you know anything more about Irving or Hallett, please comment below!

One Response to “Irving, Ghost town in Eugene Oregon

  • The church building that was moved to the current site of Sonrise Christian Church long ago became the chapel building when a larger building was built. In 2013, that SAME! building seems to have been moved back to the EXACT SAME SPOT it started out in in 1853! I think it is used as a school building now.

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