In 1850 Joseph Fields filed a donation land claim along the Tualatin River in what is now the West Linn area. He owned the land on both sides of the river and in 1853 purchased a $5 license to operate a ferry at this spot, which he did until the first bridge was built. A covered bridge was built across the river around 1862, possibly by Joseph Fields himself. According to Bosky Dell, another bridge was built in 1866, but destroyed in the flood of 1890. In 1891 a windowless covered bridge was built. A fourth covered bridge, this one with windows, was built around 1923. The photo below was taken around 1925.
Fields Bridge, c1925 (ODOT)
Fields Bridge, 1946 (Salem Public Library Historic Photograph Collections)
This final covered bridge was removed around 1953 when a new concrete span was constructed on Borland Road. In 2010 that bridge – which had become structurally deficient – was replaced with a new $6.4 million, 300-foot-long, 52-foot-wide bridge. In 2005 the City of West Linn developed the new Fields Bridge Park south of the road near the bridge.
Fields Bridge in 2012
Where Dollar Street dead-ends at the Tualatin River, just a few feet from the bridge, there’s an old stone memorial to someone named Klaus Beckman.
Klaus Beckman memorial, 2012
On May 6, 1875, Klaus Beckman was traveling on the steamboat Senator as it docked along the Willamette River near SW Alder Street in Portland. The boiler on the boat exploded, scattering debris and people up and down the river. Beckman was one of six men who were missing and presumed dead. His body was finally found on May 23, and it is presumed that he was buried in a small Fields family cemetery near Fields Bridge on May 25, hence this stone marker.
Location of Fields Bridge in West Linn: