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Boones Ferry Landing

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Boones Ferry Landing, Boones Ferry Park (bobcat)
Historical sign, Boones Ferry Park (bobcat)


In 1846, Colonel Alphonso Boone, a grandson of legendary frontiersman Daniel Boone, arrived on the banks of the Willamette via the Applegate Trail and, in short order, decided to establish a ferry service. He employed Kalapuya natives to row passengers across. It was a 24-hour service, said to be such to accommodate illicit dealings, such as moonshine smuggling, in the wee hours of the morning. Thus, the settlement of Boones Landing, later to become part of Wilsonville, was established. Alphonso's son, Jesse, began construction of Boones Ferry Road, which ran from Portland to Salem. Tauchman House, in Boones Ferry Park, was the residence of one of the early 20th century ferry operators, Emil Tauchman. The ferry, which became a state-operated concern that could carry up to 12 cars, was eventually replaced in 1954 by the I-5 freeway.

Alphonso Boone didn't stay long at Boones Landing. In 1849, he took off for the California Gold Rush and died of a fever on the Feather River, near Oroville, in 1850. Son Alphonso, Jr. and Jesse also accompanied their father to the gold fields and made their fortunes before returning to Oregon. First Alphonso, Jr. and then Jesse took over operation of the ferry. Jesse was killed in 1872 during a dispute with a neighbor over river access. He is buried in the pioneer cemetery in nearby Butteville.

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