For years, Simpson’s fans have questioned the inspiration for Springfield. If you did not know, Matt Groening, creator, grew up here and attended Lincoln High School. So, was the fictional town really modeled after Portland?
In 1989, Groening quickly gained recognition for his creation of The Simpsons. It is now the longest-running U.S cartoon and still has many devotees (myself included). The world of the Simpsons is largely drawn from Groening’s own childhood memories. In interviews, he often describes his idyllic childhood. His family home was located next to the old Portland Zoo and he and his friends spent their free time there. The main characters of the cartoon are named after his parents and siblings. He lived with his father, Homer, mother, Margaret, and four siblings, including Lisa and Maggie.
You might find yourself noticing little things while watching the show (stores, buildings, names, and people that look familiar). In fact, your own neighborhood might be featured. Sadly, Groening has denied the claim that Springfield is Portland, or that it is in Oregon. Nonetheless, it is clear that the fictional setting mirrors the hallmark streets of downtown.
742 S.W. Evergreen Terrace
Matt’s childhood home is located in SW Portland. He used the exact same address for the iconic home in the show.
In an interview with the Smithsonian, Groening says “I loved growing up in Portland, but I also took it for granted. Now, I look back and realize how idyllic a place it was. My family lived on a long, windy road on a little dead-end street called Evergreen Terrace—also the name of the street the Simpsons live on—and in order to visit any friends I had to walk at least a mile through the woods to get to their house.”
Lincoln High School, Southwest 18th Avenue
“Groening drew and signed a sidewalk portrait of Bart Simpson in wet concrete outside his alma mater. “Class of 1972” appears next to Bart as he strikes his classic “Don’t have a cow, man!” pose.” (Oregon Live)
Photo retrieved from Cardinal Times
Northeast Flanders Street
Southwest Terwilliger Boulevard
Robert Terwilliger AKA “Sideshow Bob”
The whole Terwilliger family is based off of this street. Although they appear rather infrequently in the show, the family is well known for their hatred towards the Simpsons and are portrayed as antagonists. Maybe Groening had some bad experiences in the area??
Northwest Quimby Street
Mayor Quimby! According to Oregon Live, “the street was named for L.P.W. Quimby, who was one of Portland’s early hotel owners but never mayor.”
Montgomery Park and Burnside Street
The Montgomery Park sign is an important asset to Portland’s small, but recognizable skyline. Oregon Live claims Mr. Burn’s, nuclear plant’s, Trojan-Esque cooling towers glow at night. Groening has said a childhood pal thought his nighttime prayers went to what used to be the Montgomery Ward sign in Northwest Portland.”
North Van Houten Avenue
Groening has said that this connection between the street and the Van Houten family was a coincidence, but Van Houten isn’t a name you just create.
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