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Mile marker posts route of the past

by: Submitted Photo

WEST PORTLAND PARK - You have probably driven past this old mile marker in front of the Capitol Hill Library without ever noticing it. The inscription on the marker reads 'P 7,' marking seven miles from Portland, but seven miles from Portland along what road?

The 1852 General Land Office cadastral map of the area (TS 1S1E) shows the 'Road from Milwaukie to Tualatin Plains' passing this point. The road ran from the Milwaukie ferry crossing of the Willamette River, roughly following the current Southwest Military Road to Southwest Terwilliger Boulevard to Southwest Taylors Ferry Road and then in a fairly straight line from where Taylors Ferry becomes Southwest 35th Avenue, to the mile marker (you can see the map at www.multnomahhistorical.com/1852map.pdf). It is about seven miles from the old Milwaukie ferry crossing to this marker, but this road did not connect to Portland.

In 1852, John A. Taylor took up a 320-acre donation land claim on the Tualatin River and, in 1854, built a ferry across the Tualatin River at the location of the current Pacific Highway / 99W crossing and built a road from his ferry to Portland.

Taylors Ferry Road roughly followed the current route of I-5 from Portland to where current Taylors Ferry Road intersects with Southwest Terwilliger Boulevard. It then followed the 'Road from Milwaukie to Tualatin Plains' into Washington County, where it followed the same path as the current Highway 99W to the ferry.

In 1856, Taylors Ferry Road was incorporated into the Territorial Road from Portland to Corvallis. The territorial government placed mile markers along the road indicating the distance from Portland, including the one in front of the Capitol Hill Library.

-Submitted by the Multnomah Historical Association