Speedball Cafe, 1939

City workers repair the curbing in front of the Speedball Cafe at West Burnside and NW 19th Ave in 1939. NW 19th was obviously a two-way street at the time and it looks like it also carried the Willamette Heights streetcar line.

(City of Portland Archives)

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8 Responses to “Speedball Cafe, 1939”

  1. Peter Pimentel Says:

    “Speedball Cafe Inc. Jas Williams Pres- sec Roy Smith V-pres 1901 W. Burnside”
    ~1940 Polk’s City Directory

  2. Mat Says:

    So, what did “speedball” refer to in 1939?

  3. Tad Says:

    Love the old directional signs. It seems this would be where US 30 turned from Burnside to head north… presumably to St. Helens Road? Via Vaughn St. Perhaps? And I guess 30 turned onto Burnside from Sandy?

    And here’s the corner today… http://goo.gl/maps/neJiq

  4. Garey Fouts Says:

    I’m still searching for a 30 cent lunch.

  5. Jane Says:

    ‘City Park’ was the original name for Washington Park…entrance was on Burnside opposite Westover. Tad, I agree with your thoughts about Highway 30, seems logical. Linnton was a thriving community then. How about the 7Up sign. “Tunes Tiny Tummys!” And what did “Speedball” mean in 1939. I’m also curious.

  6. Peter Pimentel Says:

    Speedball was more an attitude than a thing. In the days of early flight preceding space travel, (like 1939), Americans wanted to go faster. Cars had only been around a few decades and were becoming more modern and quicker with each model year. In the years following WWll, Madison Avenue fed us full of rocket power and space travel. Johhny on the spot and lightening fast were great slogans. Everything from Detroit to comic books relayed this general feeling. These guys were trying to convey also that they were quick with their service and likely banked on a fast lunch trade to accomplish that and their continued success. Later on of course, John Belushi would die of intravenously injecting one into his body thus removing him from our midst. [in a living, physical sense].

  7. Dave Brunker (@dbrunker) Says:

    Was there ever a time when there wasn’t some sort of construction going on in downtown Portland?

  8. David Johnson Says:

    If you drank seven up in those days you were drinking a small dose of lithium as Seven Up was “lithiated” until the early 50′s.

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