Building History

In the early twentieth century Sellwood's significance in Portland's transportation system was marked by the construction of new railroad buildings. In 1910 the railroad built a car barn facility and the Carmen's Clubhouse at 8825 SE 11th Avenue. The Carmen's Clubhouse remains today as the only surviving electric railroad company building in the Portland area.

The Clubhouse was used for multiple purposes. The first floor had offices for the train dispatcher and trainmaster, record storage and lost and found for passengers' goods left on the trains. On this floor were also three shower-bath rooms and one bathroom. The second floor was the real "clubhouse," which offered amenities to Portland Railway Light and Power's conductors and motormen, collectively known as carmen. It contained a reading room, pool and gin rummy tables, three billiard tables, and several emergency sleeping rooms. The clubhouse was designed to keep employees content, deter them from frequenting saloons and forestall the creation of an independent union.


Sellwood figured prominently in the history of the East Side electric railways. By 1915 Portland had the third most extensive electric railways system in America. The first major interurban electric line in the United States served the East Side of Portland including Sellwood. In 1939 the United States Forest Service took over the clubhouse for the use of the Civilian Conservation Corps. Until it was vacated in 1986, the clubhouse functioned as a forest pest research center and as a storage facility. Left vacant until 2002, the building was restored by Jeff and Susan Linman and placed on the National Historic Registry and is now the home of Dunthorpe Marketing Group.