With a railroad station came a city: Angel Street then and now

With a railroad station came a city: Angel Street then and now



Beaverton is a city built on speculation. After the westward migration of the 1840s, settlers established farms amid dense forests and open prairies, focusing the first years on building homesteads and surviving. Within twenty years, though, entrepreneurs and promoters had built a west side railroad that created openings for trade and travel, ending Tualatin Valley’s isolation and leading to the city’s development.

Joshua Welch was one of several speculators and businessmen inspired by the potential for an important community that would fulfill multiple rail transportation needs: a terminal, shipping point, refueling station, reliable passenger service, and a rapid way to carry farmers’ produce to distant markets, specifically Portland and California.

On December 26, 1868, he and his wife Olive traveled by horse and buggy to the county courthouse in Hillsboro to file the first plat of the proposed city of Beaverton. Twenty-five years would pass before the hamlet became a municipality, however. Strong, self-reliant homesteaders were in no hurry to incorporate as they saw no advantage to city control.

December 21,1871 was a watershed moment as the first train came through Beaverton. Only three years had passed since railroad magnate Ben Holladay had agreed to a Beaverton depot provided the tiny village build one commercial structure. The promised building, completed earlier that year, was a combination general store and post office constructed on Front Street (now Farmington Road) and Angel Street.

By 1908, electrified rail service arrived. The city continued to grow as it came of age, and eventually entered a new era not likely envisioned by the early residents.  Once a population of 200 or so, it’s now nearly 100,000 and the 7th largest city in Oregon.


For more information, visit us at www.historyofbeaverton.org, email info@historyofbeaverton.org or call 971-329-9861.