Springfield-Glenwood Ferry service

From Lane Co Oregon

Early records of the Lewis and Clark Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, show that the Briggs ferry was originally established in c.1849 by William Stevens and his neighbor, George H. Armitage. Another ferry service operated by Jacob Spores crossed the McKenzie River a few miles to the north. A dispute arose between the two competing interests as to which ferry would be granted the “official” license to operate in the area. When the case was taken to court in 1850 for resolution, only Spores showed up and subsequently was awarded the license. Ironically, Stevens and Armitage, who lived across the river from Eugene, were unable to make their court appearance, because the river had flooded rendering crossing extremely difficult (Lane County Historical Society 1968:30).

It is not known exactly when Elias Briggs took over the ferry enterprise, but he did receive an official license to operate in 1854 (Clarke 1938:25).

The Willamette River in this area was navigable for large vessels only during periods of high water. The steamboat Relief did manage a single trip up the river from Eugene to Springfield in 1862 to deliver a load of freight. In 1869 the steamer Echo also stopped at Eugene and Springfield to take up freight (Yates 1959:7).

The Briggs Ferry continued operation until 1875, at which time a covered bridge was constructed across the Willamette River.

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