Columbia Restaurant, c1931 – Help Us Out!

This is likely the family that ran the Columbia Restaurant somewhere in Portland circa 1931. The City of Portland Archives is trying to find the location of this shop. There’s not much to go on other than the name and the address “211″ above the door. Good luck!

Found: NE 4th Avenue, Camas, WA

1931 c_Columbia Restaurant_A2008-001.147(City of Portland Archives)

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40 Responses to “Columbia Restaurant, c1931 – Help Us Out!”

  1. Lynette Says:

    Another grand vintage Portland mystery. I look forward to the reaction.

  2. Dennis Says:

    the Granada was at NE 78th and Glisan and had (630 seats), according to

  3. Tom Jones Says:

    The Texan movie was made in 1930

  4. Laura Says:

    Looks like there’s a shop across the street called “[Something] Electric Shop.” Not that that helps much.

  5. Dennis Says:

    You can see the barber sitting in his shop

  6. John Boyd Says:

    The reflection in the window to the right shows a distinctive cornice from across the street that rings a faint bell with the clay tile. The side walk slope and reflected light standard suggest the west side to me.

  7. PaulM Says:

    I am guessing somewhere near 78th and Glisan. using the google there used to be a Granada Theater at 78th and Glisan. so maybe somewhere on that side. i cruised google street view but have yet to find a matching building

  8. MizVerde Says:

    Maybe downtown, on Columbia itself? If so, this is likely gone.

  9. Mike Says:

    Is this in The Dalles where the Granada Theater is?

  10. rod taylor Says:

    Odd that, I used to walk past the Grenada Theater every day on my way to and from school and I”m surprised to hear they moved it, Saturdays in the balcony for the weekly Johnny Mack Brown, Hopalong Cassidy,Cisco KId and Roy Rodgers Matinees at Glisan between 76th and 77th. They turned it into a church in about 1970,

    The sloped sidewalk makes me think this business was on either on SE Stark or further west on Glisan, say west of 70th.

  11. Dan Says:

    That thermometer to the left provides another hint. It say’s “Rexall” on it, leading me to believe this restaurant was sited next to a drugstore.

    Also, the street appears to be sloped from looking at the way the building base is angled.

    But, I’m wondering if this place is, as Mike suggested, in The Dalles? Given that city’s location on the Columbia River, in the Columbia Gorge, the name of the restaurant certainly makes the case for it being in The Dalles.

  12. Michael Barber Says:

    I think this isn’t Portland.. the restaurant name, then Granada Theatre sign. I think this is The Dalles

  13. Kim Cullins Says:

    The reflection on the right, the street lamp looks distinctly Portland. Or perhaps just period. The building looks very familiar as well…

  14. Cyrus Says:

    There isn’t this angle of slope in downtown The Dalles anywhere that this address would be. Between the slope and the address I’m sure someone is going to crack this one.

  15. Dave Knows PDX (@DaveKnowsPDX) Says:

    In the Oregonian archives there are waitress want ads for a Columbia Restaurant at 102 6th Street, e.g. on September 13, 1918.

  16. pdxgoose Says:

    oregonian archives show a “columbia restaurant” in camas in the teens and 20s. the building reflected looks to be 224 ne 4th street in camas and according to the sanborns there was a 211 ne 4th which housed a store with a restaurant next door. it looks like this building might still be standing, though heavily modified. the grenada theater is now the liberty theater in camas. the texan came out in 1930

  17. Jim Says:

    This does indeed appear to be Camas Washington. Here is the streetview showing the building reflected in the store window.

    It appears all of these buildings remain.

  18. Kevin Says:

    Check it out, are these buildings possibly on the same street in Camas?
    The pictures look like they were taken in the same general area with the same camera, at least to me. And the bottom picture in that link in particular has a building reflected in the window that looks quite like 462 NE 4th if you go further down the street. If 430 is across the street from that the angle seems like it would place the picture right next to the chamber of commerce building.

    What do you guys think?

  19. Mat Says:

    You folks nailed it. That is truly impressive. (Now if you could maybe introduce me to the granddaughter of the gal on the left . . .)

  20. Gary Kyle Says:

    The address for the Granada Theatre in the Dalles was (is? ) 221 E. 2nd St. But those do look like Portland street lights. Good photo.

  21. michael Says:

    If you go a couple of blocks to the 400 block in camus on that same
    street you can see the building we thought might be a kenows and
    the brick building to its right. the store front with the girl and young
    boy seems to have been replaced.

  22. michael Says:

    if you look in the far right hand corner of the girl and boy pic you will see a white building next to the old gold sign.
    it is on the 400 block on that same street. I would make a street view link but I seem to be to stupid to figure it out.

  23. Christopher Tyle Says:

    If you look at this vintage photo of Camas, you’ll see the street lamps are the same as the ones reflecting in the window of the restaurant:

  24. michael Says:

    building that was next to old gold sign in the ice cream store pic.,-122.403896&spn=0.007704,0.015857&sll=45.521864,-122.677116&sspn=0.015545,0.031714&hq=camus&hnear=Washington&t=m&z=16&layer=c&cbll=45.585996,-122.403789&panoid=o2oN9aKK6wCFgQEtMiPz9w&cbp=12,144.75,,0,3.9

  25. Christopher Tyle Says:

    Here’s another piece of history. Seems there was another restaurant at that location later, the Chili Bowl Cafe:

  26. Christopher Tyle Says:

    Here’s a couple of 1950s photos on ebay showing the buildings in the area. One photo shows the same block but not 211, the other photo shows the building across the street:

  27. Christopher Tyle Says:

    What are the chances the photos posted are June are not from Portland, and are from somewhere else? The evidence on this one seems pretty conclusive to me.

  28. Michael Nelson Says:

    The Cafe was at one time named the “Pastime Cafe.” The advertisement in the left window is for the Granada theater.

    This theater is located at 221 2nd Avenue in The Dalles.

    You can verify by searching for Oregon theaters. There are several site which offer history on the Granada.

    Best Regards,

    Michael Nelson

  29. OutnAbout Says:

    Mat, unless my math is wrong if that girl did have a granddaughter running around (and she likely does) the woman would likely be in her 50′s or 60′s by now if my math is correct??? Maybe you mean her “great-granddaughter” LOL.

  30. Dan Davis Says:

    You guys are terrific sleuths, tracking this one down all the way out in Camas. Excellent job!

  31. David Johnson Says:

    Ist thing I tried was the Oregonian archives but I misspelled restaurant.

  32. Mat Says:

    OutnAbout – Or perhaps I’m also in my 50′s! ;o)

  33. bailey Says:

    Is this Google’d map link above in Camas correct? If so, the doorway appears too wide and the angle of the sidewalk isn’t correct. It appears in the picture the sidewalk is sloping down from right to left.

  34. hroðberacht Says:

    If that building on the corner across the street is the same today as in the eBay photo Christopher found, and I suspect it is, it borders on criminal what has been done with it.

  35. Brian Says:

    @ bailey: Do you mean the first googled map link by Jim? Even though it says 211 NE 4th (which was probably what he first used to search) he has turned the view around to look at the building across the street with the distinctive ornamentation at the top (cornice?) which can be seen reflected in the window in the photo above.

  36. Brian Says:

    @ Dan Davis, not only did they track this one down, but Kevin (and Michael by noting the “Kienow’s” — or more likely, Foster & Kleiser — building) nailed down at least one of the two photos from June which had become (based on the 100+ comments) the biggest VP “unsolved mystery” of all time! Great finds!

    As to the bottom photo from mystery in June, in the windows above the boy’s head you can see reflected a two-story building with a distinctive white diamond pattern in the bricks along the top and that building still stands on the northwest corner of N.E. 4th and Dallas in Camas. So yes, the bottom photo would be located just east of the Chamber of Commerce (which now occupies the lot where the billboards were in the bottom June photo).

    Now, what about that top photo from June? :)

  37. Kevin Says:

    I really am amazed how pdxgoose and Jim tracked this one all the way out to Camas so fast, and how michael and Christopher so thoroughly closed the loop on that June photo with all their great finds. Like Dan said, this whole community is most impressive at these.

  38. Eric C Says:

    @michael – nice work! I was thinking the same thing yesterday (this was same area from the mystery shops back in June) but I couldn’t find the time to dig into it. Seems pretty conclusive! Perhaps the other photo of the elderly man on the corner is the same area?

  39. coty! Says:

    I like to imagine that that little boy is now 85. He has no memory of the photo being taken, never knew it existed, but would be tickled pink if it was handed to him, today. He would recall the time frame… the smells from the restaurant locked in memories he’d since forgotten. I’d like to imagine he’s out there… not knowing he’s a tiny bit famous on VP.

  40. bistroblancmd Says:

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