Laurelhurst Neighborhood

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These pictures give a peek into the history, culture and homes of Laurelhurst neighborhood in Portland

Laurelhurst Neighborhood has beautiful historic and winding curving streets surrounding Laurelhurst Park, with Burnside cutting right through it, meaning it finds itself part of both NE and SE neighborhoods! Stone markers are at each of the entrances to the neighborhood, and in the middle of the neighborhood is a statue of Joan of Arc. The Boundaries are NE and SE 33rd Ave to I 84 to NE 44th Ave to Stark. Laurelhurst borders these neighborhoods: Kerns, Hollywood, Grant Park, Sunnyside and Center.
One of the landmarks of Portland are the historic concrete arches that lead into Laurelhurst. As you are driving north on SE 39th, at Stark St, you will see a huge stone archway that leads into a beautiful neighborhood of tree-lined streets, gorgeous homes- each one unique with it’s own style and detail,and winding streets that you could get lost in. This is Laurelhurst. On the left you will see a 26 acre park surrounding a lake. This is Laurelhurst Park . Just driving by, you can’t see how spectacular it is. It is really a hidden gem, that you can’t really experience unless you venture in. Laurelhurst Park was created by the city of Portland in 1911, it is made up of 26 acres of lawn, trees, trails with a 3 acre spring fed pond. There are miles of walking trails, tennis courts, horseshoes, wading pool, basketball, playground equipment and fields for sports. The park received National Historic Place designation in 2001. Most of the homes were built from 1910 through 1925, and include styles like the Arts and Crafts, Bungalow, Portland Foursquare, and Spanish Revival. Many of the homes are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Laurelhurst’s layout is a little different than most of the NE neighborhoods. It’s streets are curved – with lots of huge trees- adding serenity and beauty to the winding streets. The 462 acre tract that has become Laurelhurst was bought from William Ladd around 1900 for $1,000,000! You can read more about the history below under history section. Laurelhurst neighborhood is kind of protected and isolated, a little bit like Eastmoreland, but if you go to the north, over I 84, you get to Hollywood shopping district, and if you head south, you are in Hawthorne! You can also easily access SE Belmont and Kerns Neighborhoods, which are booming with new restaurants and business going in. Laurelhurst is unique, in that you feel like you are in a protected cocoon of winding tree lined streets,which you are, but you are also right in the middle of the hub of SE Portland shopping- which is an amazing combination. This is one of the reasons why Laurelhurst homes are so expensive.

Parks in Laurelhurst Neighborhood

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This identifies all the trees in Laurelhurst park

31 acres Laurelhurst Park gorgeous park in the middle of the inner side of Portland with a lake, picnic area, accessible play area, accessible restroom, basketball court, dog off-leash area, historical site, horseshoe pit, paths – paved, paths – unpaved, picnic site – reservable, picnic tables, playground, soccer field, statue or public art, tennis backboard, tennis court, and volleyball court

History of Laurelhurst Neighborhood

In 1850, the area that would become the Laurelhurst neighborhood was a forested tract of land crisscrossed by Native Indian and fur trapper trails. The original land claims through the Donation Land Act of 1850, were turned over to Mr. William Ladd in 1879, who turned it into a large dairy farm, called Hazel Fern Farm. When Ladd died in 1893, the 464-acre farm went into probate. Ladd’s son sold it to the Laurelhurst company in 1909, and they platted 144 of the acres into the winding streets that make up Laurelhurst today.

portland Neighborhood guide, laurelhurst neighborhood

Here is what Laurelhurst used to look like in the early 1900s

They also bought 31 acres which they made into Laurelhurst Park, and put restrictions on what would be allowed, kind of like the HOA’s do today. Because they wanted it to be a high class neighborhood, they put in the deeds that alcohol could not be sold in the neighborhood, and that there would be no apartments, hotels, flats, stables or commercial buildings, and no homes were to be sold to Chinese, Japanese, or African Americans!

portland neighborhood guide, laurelhurst neighborhood

Here is Laurelhurst neighborhood street layout in the early 1930s

It was developed along streetcar lines as an exclusive suburb, and because of it’s being only forty blocks from downtown Portland, having a unique street pattern and beautiful historic homes, it has stayed a high class Neighborhood.
Near the center of the neighborhood is Coe Circle, originally the site of the sales office for Laurelhurst homes and a stop on the Glisan streetcar line. By 1925, most of the platted 2,880 lots had been sold and the office and streetcar tracks removed, but Coe Circle and its gilded Joan of Arc statue remain one of several landmarks that distinguish the neighborhood.

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Laurelhurst Theater

The Laurelhurst Theater at Laurelhurst Neighborhood was built in 1923, one of the first art deco style buildings of the period. What was once a successful family theater lost alot of business and went down in the 1980s, but in 2001, after months of renovation, it is now again a proud icon in Portland and one of the beloved places for families to go to have fun. There are four screens that bring independent art and classic films to Portland’s movie lovers really low prices, either $3 or $2. It’s independently owned and operated-no commercials and previews are only 5 minutes long!
The original Laurelhurst plat extended to Halsey but it was cut off by I 84 going in. Even though Portland has grown and changed, busy streets have cut back and forth through the city, the character and original street design, and much of the original plat of this neighborhood has remained intact. The Laurelhurst Gates, sandstone pillars, still mark entry into the neighborhood at major streets on the western and southern edges. And despite the ups and downs of the east side of the city, Laurelhurst has retained it’s beauty, charm and class through the years!

Great Eats and Shops

Here are some of my favorites on SE Belmont that you can walk to:

  • Dick’s Kitchen– Relaxed restaurant serving health-minded burgers featuring a variety of meats, plus vegan options.
  • ImJai Thai– Classic Thai curries & noodle dishes plus a sushi bar.
  • Kombucha- Soma Kombucha Taproom– Self serve kombucha with pints, growlettes, growlers, and bottles to go. 6 or 7 taps with a good variety.
  • Coffee- Oblique Coffee Roasters– Warm, arty coffeehouse serving java & snacks in a Victorian home with plush sofas & outdoor seating.
  • Classic Cocktails- Circa 33– Prohibition-themed cocktail bar with a patio & secret back bar hidden behind a swinging bookshelf.
  • Groceries: Laurelhurst Market– Butcher shop/steakhouse providing unusual cuts, house-cured meats & craft drinks in industrial digs.
  • Groceries: Whole Foods- Laurelhurst– Eco-minded chain with natural & organic grocery items, housewares & other products.

Other Important Links

The MAX and Buses make public transportation really good!
You can find all kinds of [pmaps] even exactly what happened where, if you just put in an address in Portland. There are lots of other things you can learn there- like census information, maps, school info, parks, environmental issues, permits on houses, nuisance complaints and taxes.