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"The Barlow Road ... Clackamas River to Oregon City"
Includes ... Barlow Road ... Clackamas River ... Oregon City ...
Image, 2013, Sign, Barlow Road, click to enlarge
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Barlow Road sign, Foster Farm, Eagle Creek, Oregon. Image taken May 4, 2013.


The Barlow Road ...
The Barlow Road was a part of the Oregon Trail. The road was authorized by the Oregon Legislature in 1845, and by September 1846, it made its way around the south side of Mount Hood. This 80-to-110-mile road provided an alternative to the dangerous and expensive route that used rafts to transport wagons down the Columbia River. The Barlow Road began at The Dalles, Oregon, headed south through Dufur and Tygh Valley (which some folks consider the start of the Barlow Road), then turned west at Gate Creek and generally followed the White River before it headed north through Barlow Pass and Government Camp. It then passed through "Tollgate #5" near today's Rhododendron and continued to the community of Sandy, where it turned west and ended up at Oregon City.


Follow the Barlow Road ... (east to west)


 
Clackamas River to Oregon City

Overview ...

(to come)


On to Oregon City ...

From Philip Foster's Farm to Oregon City, a trip of approximately 15 miles, would take the weary Barlow Road travelers two days. After crossing the Clackamas River there were various routes the travelers took, with routes changing as settlers arrived and roads improved. The 1992 Beckam and Hane's Barlow Road historic inventory report researched the original Feldheimer's Ford route and divided the Clackamas River to Oregon City route into five segments - the "Feldheimers Segment", "Gerber Segment", "Clear Creek Segment", "Moss Hill Segment", and the "Holcomb Valley Segment". The 1993 Clackamas County's historic corridor background and management report divided the routes into two major map sections - the "Springwater Route Segment" and the "Holcomb Route Segment".


Image, 2013, Clackamas River Valley, Barlow Road, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Clackamas River Valley, Barlow Road, Oregon. The base of Mount Hood is just visible beneath the cloud cover. View from the intersection of S. Feldheimer Road and S. Springwater Road, where travelers crossing at Feldheimer Ford climbed out of the valley. Image taken April 17, 2013.
Image, 2013, Clackamas River Valley, Barlow Road, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Clackamas River Valley, Barlow Road, Oregon. The Clackamas River (at approximately Clackamas RM 16) is visible in the upper part of the image. View from S. Eadon Road. Image taken April 17, 2013.

Springwater Route Segment ...

Excerpts from:
1993, Barlow Road Historic Corridor: Westernmost Segment of the Oregon Trail.




"This 7.5 mile route segment traverses fairly level farm land with the deeply entrenched Clear Creek near the west end. Much of the area is wet with a highw water table and apparently a considerable amount of logging occurred in the 1920s. The Barlow Road route is not well known by the public in general with some confusion of the association with Springwater Road and Bakers Ferry Road. ...

The route begins along Springwater Road at the top of a prominent bluff, just south of the Feldheimer Road intersection, and then closely conforms with the Springwater road course to the north until Springwater Road curves to the west away from the bluff edge overlooking the Clackamas River lowlands. The Barlow Road route continues following the bluff edge to the northwest, crossing Eaden Road, Harding Road and Gerber Road before descending to the next lower river terrace. ...

Just west of Gerber Road the route descends a more gently sloping and lower portion of the bluff. This descent area has visible remains of two routes. A shallow swale extends directly downhill a short distance. This short swale conforms with the 1855 surveyors' notes. Angling down the hill between the swale and Gerber Road is a narrow, very distinctive old roadbed. The roadbed has a berm on the downhill shoulder and minimum cuts on the uphill shoulder. The roadbed is several hundred feet long. It is assumed that the swale represents the original Barlow route and the roadbed is a slightly later realignment. Both are still shown on a 1936 Metsker Map.



Gerber Segment ...
"This segment of the Barlow Road is composed of two sections which likely represent two stages of Barlow Road development. A brief 40 foot, shallow swale extends directly down a cleared, steep northfacing hillslope currently used as a horse pasture. Road remains are not visible at the top or bottom of the hill, perhaps due to past agricultural activity.

The second section is located along the hillslope a short distance to the east nearer Gerber Road. This section is approximately 600 feet in length. It is a distinct compacted, narrow roadbed that begins a descent of the bluff near Gerber Road and traverses the northfacing hillslope toward the west finally reaching the bottom of the bluff near the swale described above and near the south bank of Foster Creek. It is likely this road segment constituted a realignment of Barlow Road prior to 1855 when increased capability of performing road construction activities allowed establishment of a more gradual ascent of the bluff. It replaced the first section described above. The location of this section of road remains corresponds with the location and orientation identified by land surveyors in 1855 who noted, "Cross road to Oregon City, S80W ..." ... [Beckham and Hanes, 1992]




Upon descending the bluff, the route disappears into agricultural fields ... converging with the Bakers Ferry Road alignment. After conforming with Bakers Ferry Road a short distance, the Barlow route then likely crosses Springwater Road a short distance south of the Bakers Ferry Road intersection and continues across several pastures before descending to Clear Creek. A drive to a private park facilities now descends the sharp bluff to Clear Creek where the original descent likely occurred. Some short segments of the ascent of the Barlow route away from Clear Creek appear now as part of a residential drive and a short abandoned swale. The route then traverses more pasture land westward to Hatton Road.



Clear Creek Segment ...
"This segment of the Barlow Road is composed of three short traces interrupted by unpaved residential roads. The remains begin in the form of a short swale on the immediate west bank of Clear Creek. Being in the active floodplain the association of the swale to past road use is somewhat uncertain. Remains of the road are not further apparent on the lower stream terrace for about 200 feet until a narrow compacted roadbed is visible on the northfacing hillslope above the current residential drive. The roadbed is evident for approximately 80 feet in an open grassy area. A short distance further uphill, beyond the roadbed, is a short, shallow swale extending more directly uphill in a heavily vegetated woodland setting, truncated at the upper end by a residential road. The swale is apparent above the road again for only 20 feet until it reaches the top of the hill to the next higher stream terrace. This swale section receives current use by residential traffic, primarily all terrain vehicles. Beyond this point the remains are no longer evident due to residential and agricultural development. ... Only very short sections of this segment are still reconizable." ... [Beckham and Hanes, 1992]



Though visible road remains are few, there are a number of historic houses along the route. These include one structure built in 1876 and at least 9 dating from the 1890s and the first decade of the twentieth century."


Source:    Clackamas County (Or.), 1993, Barlow Road Historic Corridor: Westernmost Segment of the Oregon Trail: Background Report & Management Plan, Clackamas County Department of Transportation and Development.


Image, 1992, Barlow Road, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Detail, 1992 Map, Early Barlow Road crossing the Clackamas River at Feldheimer Crossing and heading north.

Source:   Beckham, S.D., and Hanes, R.C., 1992, The Barlow Road, Clackamas County, Oregon, Inventory Project, Historic Context, 1845-1919, prepared for the Clackamas County Department of Transportation and Development, August 1992.

  • Orange - Barlow Road.
  • Blue - Springwater Road.
Image, 1992, Barlow Road, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Detail, 1992 Map, Early Barlow Road crossing Springwater Road, Eadon Road, and North Logan Road.

Source:   Beckham, S.D., and Hanes, R.C., 1992, The Barlow Road, Clackamas County, Oregon, Inventory Project, Historic Context, 1845-1919, prepared for the Clackamas County Department of Transportation and Development, August 1992.

  • Orange - Barlow Road.
  • Blue - Springwater Road, Eadon Road, and North Logan Road.
Image, 1992, Barlow Road, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Detail, 1992 Map, Early Barlow Road crossing Gerber Road, with Springwater Road.

Source:   Beckham, S.D., and Hanes, R.C., 1992, The Barlow Road, Clackamas County, Oregon, Inventory Project, Historic Context, 1845-1919, prepared for the Clackamas County Department of Transportation and Development, August 1992.

  • Orange - Barlow Road.
  • Blue - Springwater Road.
Image, 1992, Barlow Road, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Detail, 1992 Map, Early Barlow Road crossing Gerber Road, Springwater Road, Clear Creek, and Carver Road, with Harding Road.

Source:   Beckham, S.D., and Hanes, R.C., 1992, The Barlow Road, Clackamas County, Oregon, Inventory Project, Historic Context, 1845-1919, prepared for the Clackamas County Department of Transportation and Development, August 1992.

  • Orange - Barlow Road.
  • Blue - Carver Road (left) and Springwater Road (right).

Holcomb Route Segment ...

Excerpts from:
1993, Barlow Road Historic Corridor: Westernmost Segment of the Oregon Trail.




"This route segment represents the last 5.5 miles of emigrant road to Oregon City. The entire route is through hilly, timbered terrain which was settled shortly after the Springwater area. ...

The ascent of Moss Hill just west of Hatton Road marks the beginnings of this route segment. Excellent road remains constitute a site section as the route follows a minor stream bed course up the hill, crossing Dick Drive, passing through a wooded lot before disappearing across a major pipline right-of-way and a residential area on the west side of the pipline with only a couple of short swales apparent. The site section consists of a distinct, narrow swale and compacted roadbed winding through the woods.

The route next descends Moss Hill to the south crossing a stream and turning west joining a distinct old remnant of Holcomb Road in an area recently clear-cut. According to 1852 territorial road records Barlow Road was realigned to follow this drainage downstream eastward to Hatton Road. This old and narrow road segment remains in excellent condition and is labelled as the old Barlow Road on current county maps; however, it does not fully represent the original route used form 1846 to 1852.



Moss Hill Segment ...
"This segment of the Barlow Road is composed of four sections interrupted by residential and road developemnt and timber harvest activities. The road segment begins in a narrow creek bottom with Dick Drive a short distance to the north and east. For almost 600 feet the road remains are visible as the road course ascends Moss Hill on the eastern slope, being fairly straight for the first 400 feet and then meandering more toward the top. For the first 400 feet a deep, narrow swale extends along a treeless corridor in a westerly direction through a densely vegetated, largely undeveloped woodland lot. Toward the top the remains are more of a compacted, narrow roadbed before transitioning into a shallow swale at the top of this subsegment. The section terminates near the east boundary of a natural gas pipline right-of-way where pipeline construction has erased road remains. The eastern end of the segment has been truncated by Dick Drive near its intersection with Hatton Road.

The second section is located approximately 700 feet to the southwest, just south of Dick Drive on a southfacing, gently sloping hillside. This section is short, being approximately 70 feet in length. It is a narrow, compacted linear roadbed situated in a densely vegatated lot immediately north of a residence. The section is oriented in a southwest direction. It disappears at a property boundary at the edge of a prepared residential lawn.

The third section is located farther to the south following the course of an unnamed stream. This section extends over 1,000 feet uphill from the west shoulder of Hatton Road, at which point it is used as a residential drive for a short distance, following the stream course in a westerly direction, first on the north bank of the stream through a woodland setting and then crossing to the south bank where it passes through a large clear-cut area which is currently planned for residential development. This section is a distinctive, narrow, compacted roadbed.

The final road section, located farther west, is a short 50 foot shallow swale winding through a wooded lot on a gently sloping, eastfacing hillside near the crest of the prominent hill feature. The swale has no trees growing within it, probably owing to compaction. ...

The first two described sections, the upper portion of the long third section, and the fourth section were apparently used prior to 1852. The upper portion of the third section was extended downstream to Hattan Road in 1852. Thus, the first two sections were likely abandoned after that date. ..." ... [Beckham and Hanes, 1992]




As the Barlow route reaches the current east end of Holcomb Road, it diverges to the north away from Holcomb Road as the emigrant route climbs a wooded hillside, passing over the top and descending through present sheep pasture to Holcomb Valley across Bradley Road. Only a short segment of a faint, windy swale is suggestive of road remains along this ascent route. Upon entering the Holcomb Valley floor west of Bradley Road the emigrant route skirts the northern perimeter of the valley bottom which is a very wet, boggy area.

Some compacted roadbed remains are still visible for a short distance along the base of the south facng hill on the valley perimeter. More distinct road remains appear further west as the route begins an ascent out of the valley bottom. This site section is represented by a narrow, but distinct swale in a woodland setting on the valley bottom perimeter and then by a narrow, compacted roadbed ascending an east facing, wooded hillside, disappearing into a power line right-of-way. Above the right-of-way the site section reappears as a used access road from Hilltop Road to the power line.

The site section terminates near Hilltop Road with the route crossing Hilltop Road and traversing agricultural areas, including tree farms, and residential and public school developments and a housing project without visible traces still apparent. An isolated, narrow swale is evident just west of Holcomb Elementary School in a horse pasture. The Barlow route apparently converges with the current Holcomb Road alignment just west of the Swan Avenue intersection. An isolate swale section is apparent in a small field adjacent to Holcomb Road at the point of convergence. From this point the emigrant route more or less follows the Holcomb and Abernethy road alingments to near the mouth of Abernethy Creek.



Holcomb Valley Segment ...
"This segment of the Barlow Road is composed of two sections interrupted by past timber cutting in a wetland setting. The road segment begins on the north perimeter of the Holcomb Valley floor west of Bradley Road where in 1852 a land surveyor noted the location of the wagon road in and east/west orientation. Road remains immediately to the east have evidently been erased by agricultural development. A compacted, treeless roadbed is oriented in an east/west direction through a rural residential area maintaining a constant elevation just above the very wet valley floor. It has a distinctive berm on the downhill shoulder and a slight worn cut into the uphill shoulder. This section is 450 feet in length and is largely overgrown in blackberry growth. It terminates at a tree farm property which has erased further remains.

The other section begins approximately 2,800 feet farther to the west and is also located along the base of a southfacing hillside in a woodland setting, staying just above the wet valley bottom. This section consists of a narrow swale interupted by fenceline and powerline construction. The swale begins at an east/west fenceline, at a location where land surveyors obverved the wagon road in 1852, and continues in a southwest direction. It apparently has been erased by tractor logging north of the fenceline. The swale continues for 600 feet before disappearing at a north/south fenceline, at another location where land surveyors again observed the wagon road in 1852. A short distance west of the fenceline the swale continues, winding up an east facing hillside for approximately 350 feet, leaving Holcomb Valley behind. The swale is truncated by a major powerline right-of-way. Above the powerline corridor the route becomes visible again, but this time as a compacted roadbed apparently used as an access road to the powerline from Hilltop Road. The roadbed is evident for approximately 700 feet before disappearing near the top of the hill just east of a metal gate on the east shoulder of Hilltop Road.

It is possible that this segment of the Barlow Road was abandoned by 1852 when a drier route to the south of Holcomb Valley was established which has evolved into Holcomb Road. These are the closest road remains to Oregon City. ..." ... [Beckham and Hanes, 1992]




Only a couple of historic buildings are located along this route segment, including a house on Swan Avenue. Also, a possible unmarked early pioneer grave site has been identified by residents in a wooded area near some faint road remains described above. ... "


Source:    Clackamas County (Or.), 1993, Barlow Road Historic Corridor: Westernmost Segment of the Oregon Trail: Background Report & Management Plan, Clackamas County Department of Transportation and Development.


Image, 1992, Barlow Road, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Detail, 1992 Map, Early Barlow Road crossing the Pipeline and Bradley Road, with Holcomb Road.

Source:   Beckham, S.D., and Hanes, R.C., 1992, The Barlow Road, Clackamas County, Oregon, Inventory Project, Historic Context, 1845-1919, prepared for the Clackamas County Department of Transportation and Development, August 1992.

  • Orange - Barlow Road.
  • Blue - Bradley Road (north/south) and Holcomb Road (heading west).
Image, 1992, Barlow Road, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Detail, 1992 Map, Early Barlow Road crossing Hilltop Road, with Holcomb Road.

Source:   Beckham, S.D., and Hanes, R.C., 1992, The Barlow Road, Clackamas County, Oregon, Inventory Project, Historic Context, 1845-1919, prepared for the Clackamas County Department of Transportation and Development, August 1992.

  • Orange - Barlow Road.
  • Blue - Holcomb Road.

Image, 2015, Holcomb Elementary School, Barlow Road, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Sign, Holcomb Elementary School, Holcomb Boulevard, Barlow Road, Oregon. Image taken September 19, 2015.
Image, 2015, Holcomb Elementary School, Barlow Road, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Holcomb Elementary School, Holcomb Boulevard, Barlow Road, Oregon. Image taken September 19, 2015.
Image, 2015, Barlow Road Sign, Park Place Neighborhood, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Oregon Trail/Barlow Road sign, Park Place Neighborhood near Holcomb Elementary School, Barlow Road, Oregon. Image taken September 19, 2015.
Image, 2015, Holcomb Boulevard, Barlow Road, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Holcomb Boulevard, heading towards Oregon City, Barlow Road, Oregon. Corner of Longview Way and Holcomb Boulevard. Image taken September 19, 2015.
Image, 2015, Abernethy and Holcomb, Barlow Road, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Abernethy Road and Holcomb Blvd., Barlow Road, Oregon. Image taken September 19, 2015.
Image, 2015, Holcomb Road crossing Highway 213, Barlow Road, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Holcomb Boulevard crossing Highway 213, heading to Kelly Field and the "End of the Oregon Trail", Barlow Road, Oregon. Image taken September 19, 2015.


Oregon City, Oregon ... "End of the Oregon Trail"

The End of the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center and Historic Site opened in 1995. Originally the 50-foot-tall covered wagons supported canvas, however windstorms ripped the fabric off leaving the wagon hoops to rust.


Image, 2011, End of the Oregon Trail, Oregon City, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Sign, "End of the Oregon Trail", Oregon City, Oregon. Image taken October 22, 2011.
Image, 2011, End of the Oregon Trail, Oregon City, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Structure, "End of the Oregon Trail", Oregon City, Oregon. Image taken October 22, 2011.









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*River Miles [RM] are approximate, in statute miles, and were determined from USGS topo maps, obtained from NOAA nautical charts, or obtained from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers website.

Lat/Long were obtained from plotting location on National Geographic's TOPO! program, 3.4.3, 2003.

Sources:    [See Barlow Road Sources]

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November 2015