Sunday, September 22, 2013

Willamette Street Archeology

 The city is altering Willamette Street.  It's part of the annual construction which turns Eugene into a giant Mille Bournes game.

 From about 1910 to 1950 (dates very approximate) there used to be a mule-drawn trolley which ran from the Willamette River up to a lumber depot or train stop somewhere along 30th street. 

 At some point the mules were replaced with an electric motor.  Eventually, the trolley topped running.  There are other parts of Eugene where you can see the old rails, but on Willamette Street, they were paved over.

 The construction uncovered a stretch of the old line.  You can see the wooden ties underneath the old rails.

 The street used to be paved with cobblestones. 

 We couldn't tell if the rail ran down the middle of the street, or only on one side.
 What was interesting to us were the layers of different paving materials used in the second half of the 1900's.

 The gravel underneath the rails and the ties reminded me of how the Romans constructed roads.

 If the rails were running up the center of the road, then half of them have already been removed.  We wondered if some of the materials were being saved for the Lane County Historical Museum.

The rails have been in the street for about sevety years.

I wondered if any sewage or drainage lines went underneath; Mark thought none did.

In some ways, it's too bad there's no more trolley.  But given how badly the traffic backs up behind the buses.....
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