Meier & Frank Parking Lot, 1955
Before Pioneer Courthouse Square became “Portland’s Living Room,” it was a two level parking lot owned by Meier & Frank department store. That block was a parking lot for about 30 years, from the early 1950s to the early 1980s. This view looks northwest from SW 6th and Yamhill.
Ainsworth Block, 1955
When Portland businessman John C. Ainsworth constructed his bank building in 1881, it was the most expansive, at $100,000, to date. It stood on the northwest corner of SW 3rd and Oak until 1955 when it was demolished for the surface parking lot that is still there. Read more about this fine building on Dan Haneckow’s Cafe Unknown.
This stretch of the west side of SW 1st Avenue between Salmon and Taylor was demolished shortly after this 1973 photo to make way for one of the World Trade Center buildings. At far right, the then-gray Mikado Block still stands, now beautifully restored. The University of Oregon Libraries tags this photo as the “Allen Music Store” which I’m guessing was the ghost sign on the four-story brick building. The third of the four buildings seems to have “Peacock Sash & Door” across the front.
SW 6th & Morrison, 1953
It could be holiday shoppers crowding the sidewalk outside the Meier & Frank building in 1953. The photo was taken from the top deck of the new parking lot that replaced the Portland Hotel (and was then replaced by Pioneer Courthouse Square). A block down 6th, the 1926 Bedell Building (now Cascade Building) seems to have a lovely two-story arched entrance that is no longer there.
SW 2nd & Yamhill, 1939
A few of the buildings seen here are still standing today but the scene is vastly different now. Among those still with us, the Willamette Block in front foreground and the Centennial Block (Gevurtz Furniture on the left, now Rock Bottom Brewery) have both been beautifully restored. This view north on 2nd has some great signage lining the street. A previous photo looks toward our camera position here from several blocks north.
West End Ross Island Bridge, 1952
This view, looking southwest, shows what appears to be newly installed on- and off-ramps and connectors to Harbor Drive at the top. All the houses at the bottom of the photo are gone, as are all but four immediately beyond Failing School at right-center. I-5 now cuts along the bottom left corner.
East End Ross Island Bridge, 1948
This photo shows the 1892 Poulsen house and the Inman house, identical Queen Anne mansions that bracketed SE Powell Blvd. The Inman house, to the north of Powell, was demolished in 1956. The Poulsen house still stands to the south of Powell. You can read much more about these two houses at Dan Haneckow’s Cafe Unknown. The octagonal building at bottom center is still around (currently the Lucky Devil Lounge). It’s been expanded over the years but the angled corners are still present on the east end.
Captain George H. Flanders Home, 1888
One of the grandest mansions in Northwest Portland was the home of Captain George H. Flanders which stood on the block bounded by NW 19th and 20th Avenues, Flanders and Glisan Streets. This view looks northwest from 19th and Flanders. Designed by Justus F. Krumbein and built in 1882, it was replaced in 1926 by the extant Temple Beth Israel. Much of the rock wall pictured here is still in place. Seen in the background is the belvedere atop the home of Cicero Hunt Lewis on the block between Glisan and Hoyt (now Couch Park).
Multnomah County Courthouse, 1912
Here’s an interesting 1912 photo of the Multnomah County Courthouse under construction. The first third of the exterior is complete in this view looking north on SW 4th Avenue from Madison. Note the mounted policeman in front of what looks like a private residence on the left, where the Portland Building now sits. Chapman Square is on the right.