Tanya March leads a group on the Slabtown history tour


Prepare for a trip back in time via oral lore and historic images. 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 are shown historic images as we 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. We share with you numerous historic images of lost and forgotten buildings, lakes while honoring preserved structures that were once build as homes, theaters and even a brothel. We will dive into the impacts of streetcar routes, redlining, urban renewal projects and freeway projects on as we take you past many existing historic sites on the return trip to NW 23rd Avenue.

This tour is offered on  Saturdays year round rain or shine.
Private tours can be made available any time of day; simply e-mail [email protected] 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, were a mark of lower working class community. Courtesy of Norm Gholston

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