Sitting in the shadows of the newest Whole Foods store is a small concrete indention. While it may not look like more than a misplaced light pole placement, the location marks a piece of Eugene history. It’s considered to be one of the last true corners of the original Eugene City.
In the 1850s, the United States government granted Eugene and Mary Skinner 640 acres, part of the Donation Land Claim Act of 1850. Surveyors staked out the land which stretched from what is now Tyler Street at its western most point to Mill Street and the Willamette River on the east. On its southern end, the property started at 8th Avenue and went north to the Willamette River.
As the City developed and properties changed hands, nearly all of those markers were lost or damaged. The only one that survived was near the corner of 8th Avenue and Mill Street. This corner is significant because Skinner used this marker to help divide his land claim.
“All of the land development in downtown Eugene is based upon this corner,” said Tim Fassbender, a surveyor with the Public Works Department. “This corner gives a sense of what Skinner was visualizing when he made his land claim.”
On Thursday, September 22, Fassbender and a relative of Skinner will replace the plaque that marks the original corner. The local press is invited to attend the ceremony. The City of Eugene would like to thank Whole Foods on this project, which played a major role in the preservation of this corner.