Brief History

This is a picture of Sam Friendly.
Friendly Neighborhood is named for Friendly Street. The street was named in honor of Samuel Friendly (pictured above). Mr. Friendly was a much-loved Mayor of Eugene (1893-1895), mercantile owner, and far-sighted individual who helped secure the University of Oregon for our community.

Upon his passing in 1915, the Daily Guard stated he was born in New York City on December 16, 1840 and "came west in 1863, locating in California. Two years later he came to Eugene..."
FAN History Project

In a letter written in 2000, long-time neighborhood resident Ed Barthelemy describes Growing Up on Washington Street in the 1920's and 1930's.

Ed Barthelemy shares the Saga of Little Joe.

Photos of Washington Street from the 1920's and 40's.

Photos of 26th Avenue from the 1930's and 40's.

Do you have a historic photo or story you'd like to share? Please contact Andrew at andrewf@friendlyareaneighbors.org.

Timeline
1846-1967

Historical timeline of major events in Eugene and on College Hill.
Friendly Neighborhood in the 1950's

Read Nancy Bray's recollections of Friendly Neighborhood in the 1950's here.

Historic Friendly Neighborhood Walk

Take a walk through time to Friendly Neighborhood's past by exploring the Historic Friendly Neighborhood Walk of Residences & Landmarks.

A Brief History of the South Willamette Area

Learn about the South Willamette area as it existed 50 and 100 years ago here.
Historic Sites Map

The City of Eugene has developed an online historic sites map. You can browse local resources listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the City Landmark Program, and other points of interest.

Lane County Historical Society Photo Catalog

Browse and search through a database of historic images of local resources.

Eugene's "Gut" Exposed

Please select this hyperlink for a first-hand description of growing up around South Willamette and cruising the "Gut".
Early Transportation in Eugene, Oregon

Did you know the sternwheeler City of Eugene once traveled the Willamette River from Salem to Eugene? Select this hyperlink to read about the early history of transportation in Eugene; produced in November 1991 as part of the Eugene Downtown Core Area Historic Context Statement.

College Hill Cultural Resources Survey

Please select this hyperlink for an in-depth history of College Hill that was produced in March 1988.

Area History

The following text is from A Brief History & Walking Tour - College Hill published by the City of Eugene in March 2001:

"For many years, College Hill, like the surrounding Willamette Valley, was occupied by the Kalapuya Indians. These nomadic people practiced controlled burning of the valley floor to increase growth of edible plants and facilitate hunting.

While the Kalapuya had ceased burning long before Eugene Skinner first laid eyes on this area in 1846, the evidence remained. In the 1850's, the first U.S. Government survey of the area recorded the terrain as prairie with isolated white oaks. College Hill was also grass-covered with a group of trees on the Southwest slope.

The donation land claims of Daniel Christian, Charnel Mulligan, and William Breeding covered the area now known as College Hill during the 1840's, the earliest phase of white settlement in the Eugene vicinity.

Built in 1857, the Masterson house is the oldest remaining example of residential development in College Hill and the second-oldest in Eugene. The structure was built by pioneer William Masterson on a knoll on the west side of the College Hill.

Prior to subdivision in 1890, College Hill (and the rest of Friendly Neighborhood) was sparsely populated. Although an early survey listed the soils of College Hill as fertile, they were in fact composed primarily of clay. Early area inhabitants used the area primarily for grazing. Later residents planted small gardens and fruit trees. Until established transportation routes went through the area, improved residential development was limited.

Small early roads had passed to the east and west of the hill, but Willamette Street was the first major transportation route through the area. Henry Holden began a mule-drawn streetcar system (see below) through College Hill in 1891. Although Holden's enterprise only lasted into 1900, it was essential to area development. Almost all of the early residences sprung up around these established transportation routes...The electric streetcar system, which ran from 1907 (1910 in College Hill) to 1927, continued to boost residential development along its path.

The majority of residential development in the College Hill area occurred between 1900 and 1925. This is made evident by the preponderance of Bungalow and Revival style architecture which was very popular at the time. Development continued, with older professional homes primarily at the top of the hill, and later, often post-World War II working-class homes near the base of the hill. Today, College Hill remains a fashionable residential area with very few vacant building lots."

Neighborhood History topics

  • The Eugene and College Hill Street Railway (1891-1900)

    A system of electric and horse-drawn streetcars once criss-crossed the City of Eugene. The image at left (GN4127), courtesy the Lane County Historical Society, shows Wiley Griffin and a mule-drawn streetcar which operated as the Eugene and College Hill Street Railway.

    View the route the former mule-drawn street railway took through Friendly Neighborhood with this map.

    The route originated near the Southern Pacific Railway station near Willamette and 5th. From there it traveled south on Willamette to 17th, where it turned to the west for three blocks to Lincoln Street. The streetcar went down Lincoln to 22nd, where it again traveled west for four blocks to Jefferson. It then turned north for one block to 21st where it then turned west a final time for about three blocks to Friendly Street. At the end of the line, the mule or horse was unhitched and moved to the other end of the car to begin the journey back downtown.
  • The College Hill Loop of the Portland, Eugene, and Eastern (P.E. & E.) Railway

    Electric streetcars began operating in Eugene in 1907 as the Portland, Eugene & Eastern. The College Hill Loop of this service was inaugurated on July 31st, 1910. Streetcar service in Eugene ended in 1927. Click here for a developing timeline of events related to South Willamette Street and the College Hill Loop.

    View the route the former electric street railway took through Friendly Neighborhood (the College Crest loop) with this map.

    No known evidence of this transit system remains visible in the Friendly neighborhood today with the possible exception of the double staircase on Willamette street across from Civic Stadium. A July 28th, 1910 article in the Eugene Daily Guard announces "Two Big Cars Here for P,E,&E. Railway". The pair of new streetcars are described as "the same pattern as the two small cars recently received, but much larger. Each is about thirty feet long and each is open at both ends."

    Streetcar rails are visible in Eugene:

    - along Columbia Street in the Fairmount Neighborhood (photo)
    - along sections of University Street (between 18th and 24th) (photo)

    South Eugene resident Roger Houglum described the College Crest streetcar line in a Crest Drive Neighborhood Assocation newsletter article entitled "Transportation to College Crest in 1918". You can read it here.

    Learn more about the streetcar history in Eugene by watching the online video Traveling Light: The Eugene Trolley Era produced by the University of Oregon.

    In 2010, the City of Eugene, Lane County, Lane Transit District, EmRail, the Eugene Chamber of Commerce, Travel Lane County, EWEB, the University of Oregon and the Central Lane Metropolitan Planning Organization formed a Eugene Streetcar Feasibility Study Group. The 2011 report is available here.

    For additional historic information see Early Transportation in Eugene.
  • Columbia College

    In 1856, Columbia College opened for classes. Less than a month later it was destroyed by fire under suspicion of arson. Rebuilt in 1857, it was again consumed by fire on February 26, 1858. It was partially rebuilt in sandstone, but ultimately abandoned due to controversy over the college's board of directors.

    A rock munument and plaque stands at the southwest corner of 19th & Olive Streets. The plaque reads: "Site of Columbia College 1856-1860". Carved into the stone base are the words "COLUMBIA COLLEGE FIRST SCHOOL OF HIGHER EDUCATION IN LANE COUNTY BUILT IN 1854"

    For additional information on Columbia College, see the web page College Hill Neighborhood and History.
  • The image at left (GN4213) is a photograph of a lithograph of Columbia College, courtesy the Lane County Historical Museum.
  • Friendly Garage

    Originally built in 1945 as Brumwell's Friendly Service, the Friendly Street Garage was torn down in 2004. It was located at the corner of 27th Avenue and Friendly Street. It also served as a Shell gas station.
  • College Hill Reservoirs

    The area of College Hill between Lincoln and Lawrence and 23rd and 25th is the repository for drinking water for the City of Eugene. When we turn on the kitchen tap or water the lawn or wash the car chances are the water we are using come from one of three reservoirs located on College Hill. The reservoirs and green water tower are owned and operated by the Eugene Water & Electric Board (EWEB).

    The oldest of these reservoirs is close to 23rd and Lawrence. This one is known as the 603 reservoir, which is the number of feet above sea level to the overflow pipe at the top of the reservoir. This large concrete tank began life about 1915. In the beginning it had an open top and was surrounded by a wrought iron rail, about 19 years later it was covered with the present concrete lid. This concrete tank holds about two and half million gallons of water when filled.

    Adjacent to this reservoir is the 607 reservoir, the large concrete structure with the pipe railing around the perimeter. The 607 reservoir was a product of the FDR Public Works Administration and constructed in 1939. This reservoir is divided into two sections, north and south, which when combined hold some fifteen million gallons of water. This facility is teamed with a larger reservoir near 25th and Hawkins and other facilities store a supply of drinking water for the City of Eugene.

    At the very top of the Friendly Area Neighborhood is the 703 reservoir, also completed in 1939. This steel tank is about thirty feet in diameter and twenty feet tall. Its six legs raise it some seven hundred feet above sea level where its red blinking light can be seen from most of downtown. This reservoir holds about one hundred thousand gallons and serves the homes in the immediate area which would have insufficient water pressure if gravity fed from the adjacent in-ground storage.

    Click here for historic photos of the College Hill Reservoirs.

  • Hill Crest Columns

    The following text is from A Brief History & Walking Tour - College Hill produced by the City of Eugene in March 2001:

    "Development of Subdivisions - Arrival of the California and Oregon Railway in 1871 and the subsequent opening of the University of Oregon in 1876 spurred development and expansion in the small city of Eugene. In 1890, J.F. Atherton purchased a tract of Eben Stewart's farm, formerly in the Mulligan Donation Land Claim atop College Hill. Speculating that he might be able to attracts professionals to the area, Atherton named the area College Hill Park, and plotted the land into blocks with 60 x 150 foot residential lots.

    Advertised as "The Nob Hill of Eugene" in the local press, other entrepreneurs quickly followed Atherton in purchasing land on College Hill. By 1903, when the area was annexed to the City of Eugene, five subdivisions had been created and development was well under way. Two columns were constructed at 20th and Willamette to mark the entrance to College Hill and are still standing. While growth stalled somewhat after the financial panic of 1893, College Hill had a promising future as one of Eugene's major residential areas."
  • Civic Stadium

    Constructed in 1938, it became home to Eugene's own minor league baseball team, the Emeralds, in 1969. The roof and grandstand were constructed utilizing local, old growth Douglas Fir trees. According to the official Save Civic Stadium website, the stadium "meets National Register Criterion A for its initial and continued contribution to the entertainment and recreational needs of Eugene and the surrounding communities in the Pacific Northwest." To learn more, you may read the complete History of Civic Stadium.
  • Eugene General Hospital/Mercy Hospital

    Across from Civic Stadium, a pair of concrete steps leads up from Willamette Street to the sidewalk. This is all that remains to indicate the site of the former Eugene General Hospital. Built in 1906, it was renamed Mercy Hospital in 1912 after being purchased by the Catholic Sisters of Mercy. The hospital closed around 1928 and sat empty for a decade before being razed in 1940.

    For additional information on the Eugene General Hospital/Mercy Hospital, see the web page College Hill Neighborhood and History.

    An additional set of steps leads from the sidewalk level up to the former location of the hospital.
  • Ellendale

    A portion of the Friendly Neighborhood owes its' origins to a 10-phase housing development called Ellendale. This land was owned by a woman named Georgia Ellen Dale. She is known to have operated a showhorse stables named Ellendale Acres from approximately 1950 to 1955 at 26th & Chambers. The original Ellendale development (1955) was followed by 9 Ellendale additions. Around 250 total lots were created.

    The original development consisted primarily of a modern, tract house built using mid-century post & beam construction. About fifty of these houses were built in Ellendale. An additional three are located in the nearby Adamsdale development.

  • Eugene Airpark

    Friendly was once home to one of Eugene's early airports; the Eugene Airpark. The airport's size and location changed over time as the city grew and additional property was needed. Generally speaking, the Airpark was located in the northwest corner of current-day Friendly Neighborhood; the area mostly occupied by Westmoreland Park.

    According to the Spring 1990 Lane County Historian article Eugene Airpark by Louis Barton: "In 1919 the city of Eugene established what was probably the first municipal airport in the state...The Airpark was located on Chambers Street between 11th and 18th streets."

    An October 15, 1946 Register Guard map indicates the location of the Eugene Airpark as between 13th to 24th and Chambers to near present-day Polk and Tyler streets.

    Ultimately, the Airpark occupied the land between 18th and 24th and Chambers to Polk and Tyler. Originally, a runway ran parallel to Chambers Street on the east side. A second runway ran from near the intersection of 18th and Chambers on a diagonal to the southeast.

    It would seem that over time, the airport grew in size but also gradually moved more to the south. The Airpark closed in 1956 after voters passed a ballot measure in response to noise and traffic concerns.
  • Eugene Country Club

  • Originally, the Eugene Country Club was located on College Hill. The 9-hole course ran between 24th and 28th Avenues and Willamette and Lawrence Streets. The club was founded in 1899 and filed articles of incorporation in February of 1913. It remained on College Hill into the mid 20's when a new 18 hole course was opened at the current location on Country Club Road.
    Other Eugene history topics

  • Eugene High School

    From about 1915 to 1973, Eugene High School occupied a block just north of FAN, between 17th & 18th, and Lincoln & Charnelton. A detached, former gymnasium still stands on the southeast corner. It has been modified however to include a Mansard-type roof form. The Lighthouse Temple currently occupies the property.

    "Newly constructed Eugene High School building on the southeast corner of 17th Avenue and Lincoln Street (later 250 West 17th Avenue). Exterior. View showing 3-story brick and plaster building. Board sidewalks in foreground. This building replaced the old Eugene High School on the southwest corner of 11th Avenue and Willamette Street, c.1915. It became Woodrow Wilson Junior High School, c.1952, when a new high school was built. It was razed in 1973." - Description and image (GN2213) courtesy the Lane County Historical Museum.

    Click here for additional photos.
  • Eugene Millrace

    Click here for a description of the Eugene Millrace produced in 1979 in honor of National Historic Preservation Week.
  • Zoos in Eugene

    Hendricks Park sits atop the hills on the east side of Eugene, just beyond the University of Oregon campus. "The park was home to a small zoo that started sometime around 1912, and remained for the next 50 years. This zoo consisted mostly of pens for Sitka deer in an area now in the Rhododendron Garden. Elk and sheep were also housed. The zoo was disbanded in 1972. - from the Winter 2006 publication Park Bench, by the Friends of Hendricks Park.

    A zoo is also known to have existed in Spencer's Butte Park. The University of Oregon libraries has a photo (see left) from 1957 available online. According to a December 10, 1970 Register Guard article, the zoo contained a "monkey, two bears, three pheasants, two ducks, and two roosters...".