Salem Historical Quarterly
Mill Creek
Cascade Park through Downtown to the Willamette River near Market Street

To trace the flow of Mill Creek and its tributaries through Salem is to learn the history of the city.

In its original northwest course, Mill Creek flows from the southeastern corner (often paralleling Turner Road and 1-5) until it crosses Mission Road at Cascade Park. A map of Salem shows a zig-zag course through many North East historic sites until it reaches the Willamette River, passing under Front Street just south of Market Street.

The missionary pioneers, to divert water to the growing town, made a dam at what is now 20th near State Street. (In this photograph, the dam appears in the distance to the left.) This Millrace flowing through Mission Mill Museum and Willamette University, empties into the Willamette at the south end of Riverfront Park.

Shelton Ditch, another man-made channel, was also created in the mid-1800s along a course south of the Millrace (beginning at a point on Mill Creek between the present Hawthorne Street and Airport Road) and joining Pringle Creek just west of Church Street.

Pringle Creek flows north from the South Salem residential areas to make the eastern border of Bush Pasture Park and so on through downtown Salem. It joins the Millrace just before it flows into the Willamette River.

When You Are Here:
See the self-guided driving tour of Mill Creek and the walking tour of Pringle Creek below. You may print these out for your touring convenience.

To Learn More:
This salemhistory link provides an excellent source of information on Salem Creeks.

Pringle creek information may be found at this Salemhistory page.

Mill Creek information is on this City of Salem page.

Walking Tour: