Stuart Drive was once Rugby Drive


We came across this on a recent walk up Deadman’s Hill (Stuart Drive) from its base. It’s well cloaked in moss, but clearly visible, there on the south side of the street, at the base of the hill, just upslope from the stop sign. Take a look:

Right next to Rugby in the curb is our old friend Elwood Wiles, 1910, the ubiquitous curb stamp across much of Portland’s east side, made by the prolific concrete contractor and former Alameda resident.

We’re sensitive to names because they are signposts to history, but Rugby is a new one on us, not encountered on many trips through Polk City Directories, the Federal Censuses, old news articles, legal proceedings and other documents stemming from the Alameda Land Company. Elsewhere on this site, you’ll find a handy reference about other neighborhood street names. But no Rugbys encountered in pursuit of those stories either. Recently we sorted back through the city directories from 1900-1920 looking for any Rugby, but no luck.

And just for the record, Portland did have another Rugby Street–a short section of street located in Willamette Heights–which was renamed NW 34th Avenue during the Great Renumbering of the 1930s.

To be clear: the original plat for Alameda refers to this as Stuart Drive, even though there is no curb stamp that names it so (the original one may have been at the top of the hill on the north side of the street, perhaps obliterated from curb repairs). So Rugby joins Glenn and Laura as mysteries awaiting solution. Any ideas?

Always on the lookout for a little mystery like this. Seen any lately?

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