Rocky Butte Road Shops

Rocky Butte Natural Area

Rocky Butte, previously known as Mowich Illahee, is an extinct cinder cone butte that is part of the larger Boring Lava Field. It is a place that is filled both with natural beauty and history. It has had quite a bit of activity for a relatively small area. The aircraft beacon that sits on the summit was built in 1929 and while decommissioned, is still operational. Several schools have been located on Rocky Butte. Hill Military Academy was constructed in 1931 and operated until 1959 when it was purchased by Judson Baptist College. The latter moved to The Dalles in 1980. Portland Bible College has operated on Rocky Butte since 1967.

In the 1930s, WPA projects constructed Joseph Woods Hill Park, the Rocky Butte Tunnel, Rocky Butte Jail and the Multnomah County Road Shops. These artful sites used rough-faced basalt to create an iconic look. The summit park is a favorite place to hike and has beautiful views of the surrounding city and Cascade peaks. The road shops and the jail were both moved in the early 1980's to make way for I-205 construction.

The Grotto, on the northwest side of the butte, is a religious shrine built in 1924 and consists of educational buildings, sculpture and plant gardens, and places for religious reflection. In 2000, Portland police officer Mark Kruger built a shrine on Rocky Butte to honor Nazi officers. He removed the shrine in 2003 after an internal investigation commenced.

Next Stop:

Burnside Plane Crash

Get There From Here by:

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