Much of this text is adapted from information found on OurLaurelhurst.org, a community resource for the Laurelhurst neighborhood, and wikipedia.
New! See the Walking Tour of Laurelhurst, below.
A Short History Of Laurelhurst
In 1869, William S. Ladd began buying up the land that would eventually become Laurelhurst.
One portion of the land (320 acres) came from the purchase of Thomas Frazer's Hazelwood Farm in 1869.
After the 1869 purchase, other purchases were subsequently made in 1873 and 1876.Ladd purchased another part of the area (a portion of the Quinn family's original claim) from Louis Marier. This collection of properties became the Hazel Fern Farm (one of three farms owned completely by Ladd, who also owned 5 other farms with S.G. Reed).
In 1909, the Ladd Estate Company sold its 462-acre Hazelfern Farm to the Laurelhurst Company for approximately $2 million. The Laurelhurst Company platted a residential development of 144 acres, 2,880 lots and hired the famed architectural firm of the Olmsted Brothers to design the neighborhood.The name "Laurelhurst" was given as one of the founders of the Laurelhurst Company (Paul C. Murphy) had worked on the Laurelhurst neighborhood in Washington, and wanted to bring a similar vision to Portland.
During the initial sales of Laurelhurst lots, the Laurelhurst Company set up a sales office at the traffic roundabout at NE 39th Avenue and NE Glisan Street. This was, conveniently, a stopping point for the Montavilla streetcar line. In 1920, the office replaced by a small park (known as Coe Circle) containing a statue of Joan of Arc donated by Dr. Henry Waldo Coe.
The first home was built at what is now 825 NE Hazelfern Place.
The improvements panned by the Laurelhurst Company were extensive and included such things as: fully paved streets; water, sewer, and gas mains installed under the streets; 9' wide parking strips with 6' wide cement sidewalks; cluster lights (of which only a single pole still exist); and more than 2200 trees of between 12' and 18' in height ("that being the largest size it is practicable to transplant") planted every 30 feet in the parking strips.
While Laurelhurst represents a wide variety of houses from stately mansions, to more modest accomodations, the predominant style of house in the neighborhood is the bungalow style, of which there are estimated to be about 1,000 examples in Laurelhurst.
Specific parts of the Laurelhurst land was put aside for other use besides residential housing. One area was set aside as a refuge home for women called (somewhat ironically) the Mann House. Another area was set aside for a neighborhood school; what would become Laurelhurst Elementary. Finally, 32 acres were set aside for Ladd Park, which would become Laurelhurst Park in 1912.
During the initial sales of Laurelhurst lots, the Laurelhurst Company set up a sales office at the traffic roundabout at NE 39th Avenue and NE Glisan Street. This was, conveniently, a stopping point for the Montavilla streetcar line. In 1920, the office replaced by a small park, now known as Coe Circle, containing a statue of Joan of Arc donated by Dr. Henry Waldo Coe. The statue is a bronze replica of Parisian sculptor Emmanuel Fremiet's famous statue of Joan of Arc that Dr. Coe donated in 1924 in honor of the American 'doughboys' who were so closely allied with the French during World War I.The statue was unveiled on Memorial Day 1925 which was also the anniversary of St. Joan's martyrdom on May 30, 1431. The statue of Joan of Arc sits off to one side of center due to the fact that the streetcar tracks ran down the middle of the circle when the statue was placed in the circle. The tracks are visible on the 1916 plat map. Portland's statue is one of eight copies in the world with four in France, one in in Melbourne, Australia, one in Philadelphia, and the youngest one dedicated in 1972 in New Orleans.
In March 2019, Laurelhurst became a National Historic District.
A Visual History Of Laurelhurst
A Walking Tour Of Laurelhurst
Take a walking tour of Laurelhurst, narrated by resident Amelia Shields. Two tours are available.
Tour 1 covers the history of the neighborhood, and homes/ landmarks in the two North quadrants, Coe Circle, and the SW quadrant. It takes approximately 90 minutes to 2 hours to complete the loop. Part 1 starts and ends at Laurelhurst Elementary School.
Tour 2 covers Laurelhurst Park in one of the South quadrants and a few surrounding homes/places of interest. This loop starts and ends at the Laurelhurst Club and takes a little over an hour to complete.
Amelia has included a detailed print version so you can read along with the tours and learn even more about Laurelhurst. You can read the PDF below, or print or download it.
Amelia researched and produced this walking tour as part of her Girl Scout Gold Award. The Girl Scout Gold Award is the highest level award a Girl Scout can earn. It requires a minimum of 80 leadership hours toward the completion of a project to better the community. The Gold Award allows a girl scout to develop leadership skills, be seen as a role model, master time management skills, and make the world a better place.