Monday, June 1, 2015

Peninsula Park

How is it possible that I've lived in Portland all my life and have never heard of this park?!

My friend and I headed to a wood salvage place on Friday, and she mentioned the park because we were in the general area.
I said I had never been, so when we were headed to our second wood hunting destination, we did a drive by.
Then, we parked and got out.
Holy cow you guys, this place is gorgeous!

I was so glad I had my camera with me.
Here's a little bit of historical information that I got online:

"Peninsula Park is a formally designed neighborhood park, typical of the early 1900s. It includes the city's first public rose garden and first community center, a historically designated bandstand, and Portland's second oldest playground. 
The park was purchased by the city in 1909 for $60,000 with funds raised in a 1908 bond measure. Originally owned by local businesswoman Liverpool Liz, it had been the site for a roadhouse and racetrack for quarter-mile horse racing. An autopark and campground were also included in the original parcel. Planned by renowned Oregon architects Ellis Lawrence and Ormond R. Bean, the park was a result of Portland's 1912 'City Beautiful' movement. Completed in 1913, much remains of the original features, including the lantern-style streetlights, the stone pillars, vast brickwork, and the nearly 100-year-old fountain in the center of the rose garden."

 In reference to the Peninsula Park Community Center:

"Built in 1913, this Italian villa style facility was the first community center in the Portland park system. Its original floor plan was perfectly symmetrical, consisting of one pool, two locker rooms, and two gyms - one for men, the other for women. Such separate-but-equal social attitudes were also reflected in the entryway murals: young men featured in the area leading to the men's side, and young women on the women's side. The Portland Lavender Club, a dance and social group for women over age 50, originated here and it was home to a women's volleyball club for many years." 

We only had time to visit the rose garden area, but the website says there's just over 16 acres.  In addition to the rose garden, there's a picnic area, playground, basketball court, soccer field, tennis court, community center, party room, and wedding site, just to name a few.
The brick staircase is where we entered the sunken garden.
The climbing roses growing up against the railings smelled like heaven.
And they were beyond beautiful.

I found a marker on the identical staircase, on the opposite side of the garden, identifying it as Sally Holmes.
Must have.

Gah, it was so pretty.
Everything was symmetrical, and this walkway ran down the middle.

Grass paths, metal structures supporting climbers everywhere, I'm telling you, it was all just beyond stunning.
My pictures don't do it a bit of justice.

Did I mention the fountain?

Are you kidding me?!
It's smack dab in the center.

The fountain was Baby's favorite part, for obvious reasons.

I was able to pull her away from it long enough to go check out the trees on the other side.
They were HUGE - a telltale sign of the age of the park.
I know you smart folks will be able to identify it for me.

Then it was the slow walk back to the car, with another quick stop at the water.

An unplanned stop of pure beauty.
I'd like to take all three of the kids back, once school is out, for a picnic, to check out the rest of the grounds.
I highly recommend it if you're in the neighborhood.
The address is 700 N Rosa Parks Way.


  1. Love this place! (and I don't even care for roses much) The big tree is a linden as are the small pollarded trees in the garden, if I remember right.

  2. What a treasure! How amazing that you fell upon this gorgeous garden right in your own backyard! Such a GORGEOUS place...and those roses! Are you kidding me! That climber is magnificent! Life is good and the history behind this garden makes it even cooler!! I can't wait for you guys to go explore it again and for you to take more pictures! Wishing you an awesome week....thanks for passing on the beauty! And your baby up there is too cute! Nicole xo

  3. So cool you discovered this place. Way back in the day, my bff and I walked to this park... all by ourselves and I pretty much planned her entire future wedding at this park. This was in the late eighties. It is a beautiful as I remember it. I love the the climbing rose as well and I hope you get to bring the kids this summer. They'll love it!

  4. Oh, I do love a pretty rose garden, and this one looks very nice. I don't grow roses, I let others do that, but when I see them and smell them, I just melt. I've grown Sally Holmes in the past, and I think Jane Finch-Howell has one in her current garden.

  5. What a fabulous place. I bet the fragrance was amazing and those roses are drool-worthy. I love all the antique architecture and the history of the place. I wonder if kids play in the fountain during the summer. I sure would be tempted. Great post and fantastic photos.

  6. So excited that you shared this. My family and I are visiting Portland in September and I would love to visit this beautiful park. Any other places you would recommend?

  7. WOW! Gorgeous!
    Don't you love it when you stumble upon a gem like this park!?!
    And that Sally Holmes climbing rose . . . good grief! It's stunning! How can one plant support THAT many roses and still be upright. They looked like cascading waterfalls of roses. Amazing!
    Thanks for sharing with us!
    You have me wondering what kind of garden treasures I might not be aware of in my general area. Hmmmmm . . .
    Hope you're having a great start to your week!

  8. Oh, wow! I think I could linger all day in a place as beautiful as that. Thank you for sharing.

  9. How far from your home is this beautiful park? I am amazed that you didn't know about it. Well at least you do now. I bet all your kids will love it! It's absolutely stunning.

  10. How far from your home is this beautiful park? I am amazed that you didn't know about it. Well at least you do now. I bet all your kids will love it! It's absolutely stunning.

  11. What an amazing park! Wow ..and those pictures with the kiddos are just precious. I am so glad you visited it and now you will have to go again and again and again! xo Diana

  12. Love that place - it never gets the publicity that Washington Park gets, but we liked it better. Takes me back to our Ptld. days! :) Great pictures, Mindy!


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