South Park Blocks

Dedicated by: Captain John Couch | City: Portland, OR | Project Type: public art, park blocks, linear park
Date Visited: 12.12.12

Locations: SW Park Ave from Salmon St to Jackson St
Size: 8.76 acres
Acquired by City: 1852

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Twelve blocks in length, the South Park Blocks mark the cultural center and one of the most beloved lengths of green space of downtown Portland. Flanked by a fashionable residential neighborhood with large Italianate mansions, schools, churches, and the Portland Art Museum, each park block also features artwork.

In 1852, the land for the South Park Blocks was set aside by Daniel H. Lownsdale. It wasn’t until twenty-five years later, however, that the first serious landscaping effort took place. Starting in 1877, florist and landscape designer Louis G. Pfunder planted 104 Lombardy poplars and elms between Salmon and Hall. Although more artwork and plantings have been added over the years, these park blocks have been maintained as “a cathedral of trees with a simple floor of grass.”

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