You may also be interested in our grant-funded "Maplewood Centennial Project" taking place in 2012.  Link to the page here.  Maplewood Centennial Project

Like all Oregon neighborhoods, Maplewood has a rich pioneer history.  In 1976, Marjorie Hoffman wrote a classic document filled with great stories and photos to celebrate Maplewood's Centennial in 1975.  Here's her Forward from that piece. The entire document can be viewed as an attachment below.  Our June 12 Maplewood History Tour borrowed extensively from that text to bring history to life right on our neighborhood streets:

"Forward" from Maplewood Centennial, 1875 - 1975

Mrs. Laurel Fechner, President of the Maplewood PTA for the 1974-75 year, asked me to collect whatever information might be available about the community's early history.  She wanted this for the children of all eight grades so they could use it as a reference in their studies about pioneer times in Maplewood in Preparation for their Centennial celebration in the spring of 1975.

The result of delving into the history of an area such as Maplewood is a deeper appreciation for those who came to settle with the determination to improve their lives and the lives of those who shared their dream of a better place to live, work and raise their families.  There are, undoubtedly, other old-timers, besides those mentioned here, who could add to the memories and pictures of early Maplewood.  This has been left for the children of Maplewood to pursue further.  Thank you for asking me to compile a part of the history of the early community.

Marjorie E. Hoffman
September, 1976

Maplewood History Tour:  June 12, 2011 

Thanks to all neighbors who joined Tour Guide Karen on Sunday, June 12 for a 2-hour walk back in time on the streets of Maplewood.  We explored everything from old barn sites to lava flows to modern transit and pedestrian issues.  

And a special shout-out to volunteers Abigail Lambert and Maura Kanuri for helping with the Tour!!

Maplewood History Tour participants gather to start the tour, led by Transportation Chair Karen Williams.  

The 6/12 Tour included a look at plans for the new PBOT (Portland Bureau of Transportation)-funded Greenway Project which will bring pedestrian improvements to SW Maplewood Road and other pedestrian and bike routes in the area.  Schools Chair Ronda Zakocs showed the proposed map to the group.  

Missed the tour?  Take it at your own pace with our self-guided tour!!

The Maplewood History Tour Map and History Station Guide are available as "attachments" at the bottom of this page.  

Links to History Sites:

Want to know more about the place where you live?  Follow these links to some terrific sites for photos, stories, and facts about the area.  

Portland History -- http://www.pdxhistory.com/
Multnomah Historical Association -- http://www.multnomahhistorical.com/
Ancestor.com Multnomah County Site -- http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~ormultno/index.htm

More Memories from Former Resident Kathleen Langridge

Thank you so much for making the history document publicly available. I lived in Maplewood from infancy until I was 18, 1945-1963. Our first house was a converted chicken house at 6019 S.W. Vermont. My paternal grandparents, Tom and Jenny Rollins lived across 60th from us. Apparently that would have been house number 1 in the Lee addition. Later we moved to S.W. 50th to a house built by a Mr. Van Lone. His widow lived across the street from us. At age 5 I walked the mile to school and sometimes Mrs. Cadanau would come by in her black Cadillac and pick me up and drive me to school. 

During our time on Vermont Street our property extended down to the creek and marshy land. Just another note from my childhood memories. My grandmother, Jenny Rollins had a friend who lived on Shattuck road below the dairy. She took me with her once to visit. I remember it because the lady had a pet parrot. I also remember there was a man with a horse and plow who would come and plow our gardens. We kept goats for our Greekneighbor who live directly across the street from us on Vermont. Many pleasant childhood memories of Maplewood.

We do live in Latvia, my English husband and I. I lived in England for 12 years before we moved here. Its been some time since I did a nostalgia tour of Maplewood, I hope to get back in the next few years for a visit and I can show my husband where I grew up. Even here in Latvia there are reminders of Maplewood. We were shopping and I looked down into a freezer to see 'Alpenrose' ice cream. Of course a European brand but it made me smile.

Blessings, Kathleen Langridge (Rollins)


And reflections from Former Resident Bonny McKnight

I was attracted to your event celebrating the history of Maplewood and so went to your home page.  I just wanted to say how well it is done, how complete the information is about what you do, and how great it is to see something this well done in an area I grew up in.

I am now 75.  I lived in Maplewood during the late 40s and early 50s.  My parents owned the grocery store in Maplewood and I spent a lot of time doing a variety of things in the neighborhood and interacting with the people who lived there.  It was a wonderful "small town" start to my life and I have always been grateful for the memories I have.

Bonny McKnight

Citywide Land Use Group

Russell Neighborhood Association



Marilyn Mackett writes about moving to Maplewood in the late 1940s

Edwin and Emma Jahnke, my parents,  built their home at 5800 Vermont Street right after WW II.

Materials were so difficult to get that the heating system was put in two years later.
My father had been working in the ship repair industry.  Ships were mostly of wood, and he
was a carpenter.  We lived in Vanport. My brother, Edwin Jr., and sister Eileen and I loved the Maplewood area, and attended the small two story Maplewood school.  Mrs. Elinor Hammond was my 5th grade teacher, and Leslie Buell taught the 7th and 8th grades. I was in the class of 1950, and played a piano piece 
for the small graduation ceremony.   We all had two classes to a room,  there were 8 of us in my graduating class.

Bonny Bean, Joy Steele and I were the three girls.  I was pleased to see Bonny still resides in Portland.
My father and mother also built the small home at 7507 52nd street across from
the grade school, where my grandmother lived for several years.  Dad continued to
build homes in the SW area of Portland.  I attended Tigard High School.

I attended Oregon State and became a school teacher, and then worked for
several aerospace companies in San Diego, CA.  I recently attended the Tigard
High School reunion at Cook Park and our Jahnke family reunion.  What wonderful
memories I have of my childhood in Maplewood.  It was fun to drive around the neighborhood.

My husband of 52 years and I retired to Las Vegas, and have enjoyed the desert
living and traveling overseas.  I am on the Red Rock Audubon Society Board and
a member of the local Germans from Russia genealogical society.

Marilyn Jahnke Mackett

This "Ice Breaker" from our December 2010 Dessert Potluck offers fun historic facts.  . 

“Ten Fun Facts About Maplewood Area” Quiz


1.  Alpenrose Dairy is locally famous for what fact? 

A. Used as Al Capone’s West Coast headquarters in 1929.

B. Supplies ice cream to Baskin-Robbins.

C.  Creator of Healthy-Sweet veggie-flavored dairy-free desserts


2.  Maplewood was first developed as

A.  a lumber town                                                  

B.  A popcorn factory    

C.  Dairy and agricultural land


                3.              Find someone who lives near April Hill Park!  Write their name here ____________________________________________________


                  4.               April Hill Park was once the site of what historic building?

A.  The Niebur family cabin, part of a 320-acre homestead that covered much of Maplewood

B.   The original Old Spaghetti Factory       

C.   The Multnomah County Courthouse


                5.               Find a neighbor who lives in a house built over 50 years ago.  Write their

     name here ___________________________________


6.  Who got the sign caps that say “Maplewood” placed on all the street signs and got signs, a kiosk and outhouse placed at April Hill Park, and helped design and build the play structure and garden at Maplewood Elementary?

A.    President George W. Bush 

B.     Mayor Vera Katz

C.    Your neighbors and Maplewood Neighborhood Association


7.   The building at 5200 SW Custer at 52nd was originally the Maplewood Store and Post Office with the only working phone in the area.  What equally important structure was a few blocks away at the corner of 50th and Custer?

A.    The original Maplewood Air Terminal that served all of SW Portland

B.     The Old Maple Leaf Saloon and Opera House

C.      A 256 foot well and the primary drinking water source in the area for many years


8.   Find a neighbor who has lived in Maplewood for more than 10 years.  Write their name here ________________________________


9.   What railroad ran through Maplewood on a trestle and on to Garden Home from 1908 to 1945? 

A.   The Northern Boise & Cascade Short Line

B.    The Polar Express

C.    The Oregon Electric Railway           


                10.           Besides English, what language would have been commonly heard among Maplewood residents 100 years ago?

A.  Dutch

                B.    German

C.  Portuguese


Answers to the Fun Quiz: 1-B; 2-C;  4-A; 6-C; 7-C; 9-C; 10-B; 3, 5 and 8 – you had to be there!

Leanne Hartman,
Jun 20, 2011, 3:09 PM
Leanne Hartman,
Nov 7, 2010, 12:17 PM