Group od PSU families 10 people with guide in front of masonry apartment entrancePrepare for a cultural tour based on archival research, with oral lore and historic images shared to enhance your experience. The start location is the Northwest Library 2300 NW Thurman (and 23rd). The walk is fairly flat and follows NW 23rd Avenue to Thurman Street and heads west to NW 27th Avenue. The walking tour typically takes 90 minutes and has one steep stair climb that can be avoided as necessary. Guests will visit the former sites of the world’s largest log cabin, Vaughn Street Baseball Park, Guilds Lake Courts War Housing, and the entrance to the 1905 Lewis and Clark Fair. Historic images of existing preserved structures homes, store fronts, a theaters and even a brothel, enable the guest to observe neighborhood evolution. We will dive into the impacts of population growth, streetcar routes, redlining, urban renewal projects and freeway projects as we take you past many existing historic sites on the return trip to NW 23rd Avenue.

This tour is offered on Saturday mornings year round rain or shine.
Private tours can be made available any time of day; simply e-mail and set up a reservation request.
All private tours for gift card holders require 24-hour advanced reservations.

The origins of Slabtown

Slabtown’s name comes from the detritus of the community’s lumber mills that first populated the area with industrial laborers. Mills would sell slabs of log edges, cut away to square logs, as a cheap source of fuel. Stacks of slabs, like those pictured below, were a mark of lower working class community. Wood was stacked in front of homes and businesses to season for future use as fuel for cooking and heating  This 1890s image of house on Fifteenth Ave. with slab wood out front is courtesy of Norm Gholston

Historic NW Portland home in Slabtown with wood slabs stacked in front