First Advisor

Catherine McNeur

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in History and University Honors




Industrialization -- Oregon -- Portland -- History -- 20th century, Industrialization -- Environmental aspects -- Oregon -- Portland -- 20th century, Environmental policy -- Oregon -- Portland -- 20th century




This thesis explores the relationship between industrial development and park creation during the first half of the twentieth century in Portland, Oregon. Beginning with an examination of early planning efforts of John Charles Olmsted alongside the economic boost brought by Lewis and Clark Exposition, this thesis traces the converging and diverging political and social efforts that formed Portland’s Forest Park and Guild’s Lake Industrial Sanctuary, using primary documents to identify similarities and differences in how those two spaces came into existence. The creation of Forest Park came out of a reaction to expanding economic and industrial development, initially sparked by the Lewis and Clark Exposition a century earlier. At first glance, the Exposition celebrated the region’s natural beauty, but in reality was a tool used to show Oregon’s promise as a vital player in opening global markets. Clearance of large tracts of land, including the trees whose stumps gave Portland its “Stumptown” moniker, was a sign of the region’s prosperity, and the destruction in Portland’s hills and neighboring marsh were similar signs of progress, the new landscapes acting as symbols of the city’s potential prosperity. This research is rooted in William Cronon’s analysis in “The Trouble With Wilderness; or, Getting Back to the Wrong Nature”, that nature is a human-made concept and that the human and natural realms are in fact indistinguishable.


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