Portland Oregon history.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

...and a Castle

In the limited public process regarding the David Campbell Memorial, one can hear an echo of Commissioner Ormond Bean's unilateral decision in 1964 to knock down the Owl Castle in Washington Park.

The Owl Castle was built in 1894 in what was then City Park to house eaglets and owls as part of the city's nascent zoo. By 1964 its actual purpose was long forgotten. It had become a folly, along the lines of those still existent on the north side of Stanley Park in Vancouver BC. While it paled in significance to the David Campbell Memorial, it was not without charm and its demolition was meant with shock and sadness.

"Its gone. That's what happened to the city's mystery castle, the small stone fortress that used to grace the lower reaches of Washington Park." -The Oregon Journal, July 9 1964.

The site of the Owl Castle is across the road from the fountain, between the two trees. A few feet beyond the crosswalk, a second trail intersects from the right, at what was the west end of the Owl Castle. It is still known today as the Owl Trail.

Thanks to Don Nelson for pinpointing the location of the Owl Castle.


Blogger Julie Strozyk said...

This may very well be the magical castle that I saw when my 3rd grade class made a trip to the new zoo and we ate our lunch in Washington Park. I was fascinated by it and wanted to get a close look, but because it was across a road, our teacher only chose a few kids to go with her across the road. I was not one of them and have regretted it all my life! That trip was in 1959. Guess I need to let it go!

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