04 May 2024

The View From Steelhammer Road


Up on Steelhammer Road, on the east side of Silverton, is the house I grew up in for most of my childhood in Silverton, which is at the south end of Steelhammer, just before it goes through a curve where it becomes Evans Valley Road.

That's all I'll say of it for now; the building still stands and is a private residence, and the property has been most lovingly and sumptuously treated. I took a few pictures, but I'll be keeping them to myself. But this, looking north on Steelhammer at its intersection with Reserve Street, is something sharable.

It's been more than a couple of decades since I saw this bit of road on a regular basis. Now, with the perspective age provides, here are a couple things I know now:

  • The road was named for a family whose last notable relation ran a pharmacy on East Main between Water and First, next to the restaurant we then called The Towne House. My trauma-riddled memory kicked that back out when I saw a photo taken of East Main during the 1960's (it was probably Gus Frederick's fault I saw the photo, for which I'm grateful).
  • On the horizon there you can see the shoulder of a butte-like hill. That's Mount Angel, the hill (as opposed to Mount Angel, the town, which is to the left and obscured by trees there). When I was a lad, I didn't realize that I could see the Benedictine Abbey from just a block away from my then-abode.
  • Seeing this view point explains to me, and I didn't really realize it until I was last-year years old, why views like this transfix me so. There's a subtle thing about elevation and atmospheric perspective that makes the hills of eastern Marion County have a certain ineffable sparkle to them. The view across the rolling hills out near Shaw and along the Silver Falls Highway east of that are magical and otherworldly to me.
  • One thing that hasn't changed is that the house that was at one time my home is still literally immediately outside of town. When I was small, the city line hugged the side of Steelhammer to Reserve and turned west again there. Today, the city limits go south to include the HOA neighborhood that fills the once brush-and-brambled gully just west of here south along East View Lane, but it executes a do-si-do around the property that is my eastwhile residence. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose, as them Frenchies say.

No comments: