For a glimpse of the glory that was 19th-century Oregon City , take a right turn (east) off Route 99E (McLoughlin Blvd.) onto 7th Street and follow it to the base of the cliff. At 7th and Railroad Streets, you’ll see an immense gray elevator (7 a.m.–7 p.m. Mon.–Sat., free) scaling the 90-foot escarpment rising up from the lower section of town.
Take a left turn when you exit the elevator, and a few minutes’ stroll northeast along the cliff top will have you peering across a street at the back yard of an Oregon City landmark.
The McLoughlin House (713 Center St. between 7th St. and 8th St., 503/656-5146, 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Wed.–Sat., 1–4 p.m. Sun., closed mid-Dec.–Jan. 31, free, subject to change) is an impressive clapboard-style home of the “Father of Oregon.” To spare it flood damage, the building was moved from its original site near the river to this location. Behind it are steps leading back to the lower section of town.
The collection of original and period furnishings may not be terribly exciting, but the rangers’ ghost stories and historical insights can make it all come alive. In addition, the grounds are lovingly landscaped with rhododendrons, azaleas, and roses.