What better way to spend Christmas Eve morning than exploring the supposedly haunted witch’s house in forest park. 😉 This was the perfect 3 mile jaunt and slightly spooky since we set out just before sunrise.
We started at the Lower Macleay trailhead on NW 30th and Upshur. It took three quarters of a mile to reach the witch house where the lower macleay trail connects with the wildwood trail.
In 1850 Danford Balch owned the land here and lived in a house with his wife Mary Jane and 9 children. He hired Mortimer Stump to help him clear the land and live with his family. After some time Mortimer fell in love with Danford’s 15 year old daughter Anna and proposed marriage. The parents disapproved, so the couple ran off to elope. When Danford saw Mortimer next he shot and killed him. Danford was arrested and hanged; which was the first legal hanging in the Oregon territory.
In 1897 Donald Macleay gave the land to the City of Portland.
The original Balch house is no longer there, but the stone structure known as the Witch House or Witch’s Castle was built in the 1950’s as a public restroom and ranger station. It has since been abandoned.
The recent wind storms in Portland did some damage.
Hamilton peeked in for a closer look.
We continued down the Wildwood trail to Holman Lane and came upon a meadow. Any hike that leads to a meadow is fine by me.
Then we made our way back to the trailhead.