Willamette Street Trolley Stairs History
by Jim Watson
A century ago Eugene's Mercy Hospital was located on College Hill (see blog post "Eugene General/Mercy Hospital"). To connect the closest College Crest trolley stop on Willamette Street to the hospital, stairs were constructed in 1910. Though both the hospital and the trolley disappeared in the mid-1920s, the stairs remain across Willamette Street from Civic Park.
The stairs, perhaps the last of their kind, connected to one of Eugene’s trolley routes that was part of a streetcar system that was once described as the greatest for a small city in the United States. The pioneer railway is remembered for having employed Wiley Griffon, Oregon’s first black trolley operator.
Gwynne McLaughlin spearheaded a project to paint a mural on the stairs to honor their history while preventing the graffiti that has plagued them. Muralist Ila Rose painted the mural in May of 2019. Questions? Interest in helping keep the mural in good shape? Please contact Jim at email@example.com.
Black and White Images Property of Lane County History Museum. Used by Permission. Historical information compliments of Andrew Fisher.
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