Downtown from Portland Heights, c1900

This is roughly the same view as yesterday’s, but three quarters of a century earlier. This turn-of-the-century image shows a wonderful collection of homes, almost all gone now, with Ladd School in the center and the downtown skyline beyond that.

(City of Portland Archives)

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14 Responses to “Downtown from Portland Heights, c1900”

  1. Jim Says:

    Beautiful photo Dan. Lots of detail. What an extensive use of trestles on the east side of the river. Is that a pre-paved Sullivan’s Gulch by the (old steel?) bridge? On the west side of the river, I find It interesting how the commercial center of the city migrated south over the years. This photo clearly illustrates how close in proximity the Oregonian building, Marquam building, Portland Hotel and Chamber of Commerce(?) were to each other. Apparently the most massive city buidlings of the time. It looks like this predates the construction of the original Wells Fargo tower on Sixth and Oak.

    I can’t tell if it is just the angle of the shot, but it appears there is a clear dividing line at (13th? 14th?) between the wealthy and the not-so-much. The nearer houses in the lower left look more densely packed and smaller to me. Was this section of homes to become the eventual course of the I-405 car park?

  2. CJ Says:

    In yesterday’s post there are only two houses left at the bottom center. You can see them here too in the lower right corner. One had a nice pointy tower at one time.

  3. CJ Says:

    Also, this house:
    and this house:
    can both be seen as neighbors 1 block to the south of the houses I referenced above.

  4. Bart Says:

    Across the street (to the left) from the Old Church you can see the backside of the second Morris Marks house. The house still stand just not at this location. I was sawn into two parts in 1910 and moved on skids by horses to its current location at 1501 S.W. Harrison.

  5. Roxanne Says:

    I recognize the Portland Hotel, the Pioneer Courthouse, the 1st Congregational Church and the 1st Presbyterian Church but what is that directly N of the Portland Hotel and the church like spire “sitting” on the top of the spire of the 1st Presbyterian?

  6. Bart Says:

    If you are talking about the large building with the center tower it is the Marquam building that later collapsed during an early renovation. There is a great post about it on Cafe Unknown October 22, 2006.

  7. Roxanne Says:

    OK. Marquam bldg I got, used to be the Marquam grand opera house. Now, go to the tip of the 1st Presbyterian’s spire and what is that church looking tower there? And the very large bldg with the little box like structure on top center that would be on like 5th and Washington or so?

  8. Bart Says:

    I think the very large building with the two box-like towers is the Ladd School.

  9. Jim Says:


    Could it be you are talking about the old Chamber of Commerce Building between third and fourth on Stark? It was demolished in the thirties, but there is a great photo of it on the Cafe Unknown aricle “for the love of cars”:

  10. js Says:

    Two buildings on Mill st between 11th and 12th can be seen on the right lower-quarter of the image can still be found on google maps:,-122.687118&spn=0.000866,0.001485&hnear=Portland,+Multnomah,+Oregon&t=h&deg=90&z=20&vpsrc=6

    However, driving by yesterday, I think the one on the corner of 11th and mill was recently torn down

  11. Roxanne Says:

    Right, Chamber of Commerce bldg. OK, left side, about 1/2 way down, large bldg with sort of mansard roof. Multnomah Club? And what is the small church about a blk south of 1st Presbyterian on the opposite side of the st?

  12. Jim Says:


    As to the large building with the mansard roof, I believe it is the original stark street library at Stark and Broadway (7th) build it 1891.

    Prior to 1891, the library rented space in other buildings. I think this was the first building dedicated strictly for library space.

  13. Jim Says:

    Darned clumsy fingers: “built in” not “build it.”

  14. Roxanne Says:

    Aha! Thank you, never thought about that one.

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