Stone House (Portland, Oregon)

Coordinates: 45°31′42″N 122°43′30″W / 45.52829°N 122.72507°W / 45.52829; -122.72507
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Stone House
The stone structure in 2008
Alternative names
  • Macleay Park Shelter
  • Witch's Castle
  • Witches Castle
General information
LocationForest Park
Town or cityPortland, Oregon
CountryUnited States
Coordinates45°31′42″N 122°43′30″W / 45.52829°N 122.72507°W / 45.52829; -122.72507
Elevation328 feet (100 m)

The Stone House, also known as the Macleay Park Shelter and the Witch's Castle or Witches Castle,[1][2] is a two-story[3] structure in Portland, Oregon's Forest Park, in the United States.

Description and history[edit]

The Bureau of Parks commissioned architect Ernest F. Tucker to design the public toilet, pavilion, and storage room in 1929.[2] The Works Progress Administration structure was completed during 1935–1936.[4] The water line to the restroom was destroyed during the Columbus Day Storm of 1962. City officials opted not to fund repairs.[3]

The structure has been a target for graffiti. In 2015, Erik Henriksen of the Portland Mercury said the Stone House "looks like Tolkien-esque ruins, if Middle-earth had taggers",[5] and Thrillist's Mattie John Bamman described the abandoned structure as "filled with Satanic graffiti".[6] Graffiti was removed in 2016.[7] Alie Kilts of Willamette Week wrote in 2017, "just try not to get spooked when you stumble upon the ominous stone house".[8]

In 2017, a local news reporter described a tradition among some Lincoln High School students to celebrate the last day of school by throwing parties with alcohol and drugs at the Stone House, which students refer to as "Witches".[9] Kale Williams included the Stone House in The Oregonian's 2017 list of the sixteen "coolest and creepiest abandoned places" in the Pacific Northwest. Williams described the structure as a popular resting spot for hikers and wrote, "For better or worse, the so-called Witches Castle is periodically covered in graffiti, but it's still a sight to behold."[3]

Stone House in 2023, covered with graffiti

In 2018, The Oregonian's Jamie Hale described the structure as an often photographed "ruined stone building now covered with graffiti".[10] Kathleen Marie of the Portland Mercury wrote, "Forest Park is in its prime each summer, and it's a disservice to yourself, your friends, and your family if all that you ever show them in the park is that broken-ass stone house that's actually just a vandalized 1930s public restroom."[11] Parade's Scott Steinberg described the Stone House as a "gnome home-esque structure... covered in bright green moss" in 2017.[4] "Its lichen-coated walls make a killer fort for an afternoon", wrote Portland Monthly's Brian Barker in 2020.[12]

In 2022, author and religious scholar Jahan Brian Ihsan[13] published Portland Witch House[14][15], including photographs and stories of the Stone House alongside a twelve-year photographic study of 'countercultural' personae who engaged in outsider religion and ritual.


  1. ^ Nelson, John (April 1, 2018). "Inside Portland's urban park". The Spokesman-Review. Archived from the original on October 1, 2019. Retrieved January 17, 2021.
  2. ^ a b "From the Archives: History of the Stone House". Forest Park Conservancy. 21 July 2018. Archived from the original on November 11, 2020. Retrieved January 17, 2021.
  3. ^ a b c Williams, Kale (March 6, 2017). "The 16 coolest and creepiest abandoned places in the Pacific Northwest". The Oregonian. Archived from the original on December 6, 2020. Retrieved January 17, 2021.
  4. ^ a b Steinberg, Scott (June 6, 2018). "Travel Guide: Top Things to Do in Portland, Oregon". Parade. Archived from the original on August 13, 2020. Retrieved January 16, 2021.
  5. ^ Henriksen, Erik (May 13, 2015). "How to Hike... by Bus". Portland Mercury. Archived from the original on December 14, 2015. Retrieved January 17, 2021.
  6. ^ Bamman, Mattie John (July 12, 2015). "Portland's 15 Best Parks, Ranked". Thrillist. Archived from the original on September 20, 2020. Retrieved January 17, 2021.
  7. ^ "Graffiti removed from Stone House in Forest Park". KGW. June 15, 2016. Retrieved January 16, 2021.
  8. ^ Kilts, Alie (July 12, 2017). "Here are the Winners of the Best of Portland Readers' Poll 2017". Willamette Week. Archived from the original on January 6, 2019. Retrieved January 16, 2021.
  9. ^ Wilson, Jamie (June 15, 2017). "Concerns over end-of-school-year parties in Forest Park". KPTV. Archived from the original on July 1, 2019. Retrieved January 17, 2021.
  10. ^ Hale, Jamie (February 27, 2018). "Portland's iconic Lower Macleay Trail will close for repairs in March". The Oregonian. Archived from the original on November 9, 2020. Retrieved January 17, 2021.
  11. ^ Marie, Kathleen (May 23, 2018). "Here Are Forest Park's Must-Hike Trails". Portland Mercury. Archived from the original on October 27, 2020. Retrieved January 17, 2021.
  12. ^ Tepler, Benjamin; Jacobson, Rebecca; Barker, Brian (December 14, 2020). "8 Essential Forest Park Hikes". Portland Monthly. Archived from the original on January 13, 2021. Retrieved January 17, 2021.
  13. ^ "Faculty and Staff". Center for Process Studies. 2017-06-21. Retrieved 2023-04-04.
  14. ^ Ihsan, Jahan Brian (2023-02-14). Portland Witch House. BLURB Incorporated. ISBN 979-8-211-66764-8.
  15. ^ Ihsan, Jahan Brian (2022). Portland witch house: the photography of Jahan Brian Ihsan. Portland, Oregon: Jahan Brian Ihsan. ISBN 979-8-211-66764-8. OCLC 1370298132.