Oregon History

Oak Grove legend?

I’ve been told a lot of truths and half-truths since moving to the Oak Grove neighborhood four years ago. Most of the stories told to me have eventually been proven correct. Like the one where Tonya Harding used to frequent what is now McQueen’s on Oak Grove Blvd.

Totally believe it. I’ve been to McQueen’s. It’s not a bad place, a little smokey, but the food is decent and it’s a cool little neighborhood hangout.

Anyhow, it took a wikipedia entry to really pique my interest:

Oak Grove owes much of its initial growth to the fact that a street car line went down the middle of the town and the Oregon Trail finished a few miles away in Oregon City. Some of the campfire burns from the wagon trains are still visible on the trees.

Campfire burns from the wagon trains from the Oregon Trail? I don’t believe it.

Anyone care to comment or prove me wrong?

6 replies on “Oak Grove legend?”

The Tonya Harding legend…..totally true. She was a regular at McQueens for a number of years. The place got a ton of media attention about ten years ago when Tonya performed CPR on a woman that had passed out while playing video poker there.

The Oregon Trail rumor is likely an exageration. Most of the wagons came down the Barlow Road to Oregon City, and would have missed this area. The fire marks on the trees are more likely to have come from the native peoples that kept this area burned off in years past. That is why the oak trees flourished and the Doug Firs did not. Now that the burning of the land has been halted, the oak savannah that was common in this area is nearly gone.

The comment about the street cars is mostly correct. The area developed around the now abandoned interurban rail line that runs parallel to McLoughlin Boulevard.

River Road was also the old road from Portland to Salem prior to the construction of Mcloughlin during the Great Depression.

There used to be a sanitorium (Tuberculosis treatment hospital) on Arista and Pine, which was along the Trolley Trail. It was called the Little Flower Sanitorium, and the trolley station was named after the patron saint of the sanitorium, Saint Theresa. A large evergreen hedge marks the spot on the east side of Arista where the Little Flower Sanitorium was located.

Tonya Harding gave cpr to my grandmother, ‘Ma’ Alice Olson, of oak grove, Oregon and Ma really didn’t enjoy the publicity… When she came too, Tonya said, have you ever kissed a girl and Ma replied with, No not really, in her best Norwegian Olson slang……..!!!! I love you Ma!!

yours grandson
C.j. Olson

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