Knapp, Burrell & Company

I’ve found very little about Knapp, Burrell & Company except that they were apparently in the agricultural implement business. Their business was located at SW Front and Taylor, and later the northeast corner of Front and Alder. This building, photographed in 1886, appears to be triangular in shape which doesn’t seem to fit either of those locations. Ideas anyone?

(City of Portland Archives)

17 thoughts on “Knapp, Burrell & Company

  1. How about the now-gone corner of Ankeny, Vine, and First? I don’t know enough about Vine, but it might make sense with the 33 and 35 that appear on the sign. If it was there, the building was gone by ’32, although that doesn’t say much.

    Oddly, for this being taken in 1886, the 1903 biography of the company’s “Burrell” (who died the year before this picture), in “Portrait and Biographical Record of Portland and Vicinity, Oregon” makes no mention of any other location than those on Taylor and Alder.

  2. The 1889 Sanborn map of downtown Portland does indeed show a teensy triangular block between Front, Vine, and A Streets. (A St. is now SW Ankeny St. and Vine is in the middle of the plaza around the Skidmore Fountain).

    That map shows an insurance office on the west end of the block (the narrow point of the triangle nearest the fountain) and the Bank of British Columbia on the east end of the block (the wider end of the triangle abutting Front St.). Unnamed “offices” are shown on the second floor.

    Anyway, the photo inwe linked to does seem to show the same building, but looking in the background it’s possible to see blocks and blocks of other buildings, which implies that the photographer was either facing west or south, and that the street shown in inwe’s picture is either A or First. The triangular block I mentioned above is to the *east* of Skidmore fountain.

    So, yes, it’s rather mysterious!

  3. Excellent photo, inwe! Notice on the building a block down on the left, just peeking out from behind the fountain, there’s an ad painted on the wall; a circular design on top and a square, light colored section below. That sign is the same as on the far left of the Knapp, Burrell photo. Since the statues on the fountain point straight down 1st Avenue, that corner must be 1st and Ash. That would put the Knapp building at Front and Ash, where the south end of the fire station is now.

    But the triangle is still a mystery; maybe it’s just an optical illusion and the entrance is placed on the diagonal of a square corner.

  4. Argh, I completely overlooked the statue direction.
    That corner of Front and Ash would make it look like a triangular block, though. If the photo was taken here facing the corner at the intersection and the face of the building on Front, that would put the wall ad on the southeast corner of Ash and 1st, where we can see it looking down 1st, and the back side of the building, from the Skidmore Fountain photo.

    According to a 1932 “Age of Downtown Buildings” map, this building would have been built between 1880 and ’86 in the photo. However, It’s a parking lot in your 1935 aerial view posted November 11th.

  5. If I had dug slightly deeper into the archives, I would have seen that they do confirm the building was at Front and Ash. And I agree, it’s that empty lot in the 1935 photo.

    Front makes a slight turn at this corner. If you look at Google maps, you see that the corner is a right angle now, but if you make Ash street the same width down to Front, the angle of that corner would have been somewhat less than 90 degrees, giving it that triangular appearance.

    http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=portland,+or&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=48.50801,68.730469&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Portland,+Multnomah,+Oregon&ll=45.521582,-122.670776&spn=0.001319,0.002097&t=k&z=19

  6. Pingback: Explore the Past at Vintage Portland

  7. I have an approx 24″ x 18″ double sided spread by K, B and Co, undated but from an 1889 ed of Lewis and Dreyden’s Railway Guide. The spread includes various drawings of buggies and horse driven plows, etc, also a half page map of the western states prepared by Matthews, Northrup and Co in Buffalo.

  8. I have a collection of Horse Drawn Cast Implement Seats (70 that are all different).I was visiting a friend in Roseburg, OR. USA on Dec. 30 and he has a Cast Seat with raised letters…..KNAPP BURRELL & CO. —–PORTLAND —–O. Does anyone have any more information about Horse Drawn Implements that they produced?

  9. From the vanity bio book about my great great grandfather.

    Mr. Rieman came to the city
    of Portland, which then consisted of a town of about four thousand inhabitants,
    remaining but a short time, however, when he proceeded to Oswego, Clackamas
    county, and engaged in business with John Trullinger. This partnership continued
    from 1865 to 1868, when he entered the lumber business in Portland, continuing
    alone until 1877, when a joint stock company was formed, consisting of
    ex-Governor Pennoyer, M. S. Burrell, John F. Coyne, John Schurer and Daniel
    Rieman. For almost every year of his continuance in the work Mr. Rieman served
    as president of this company. The company purchased the mill of Knapp & Burrell
    and operated the same for twenty-two years, Mr. Rieman and Mr. Pennoyer
    eventually purchasing the interests of the others and conducting the business
    alone.

  10. John Baird,

    I realize it’s late in responding to your question, but Knapp Burrell & Company specialized in agricultural field machinery so your seat is well within the list of goods they supplied. I would think your more daunting challenge now, is to figure out what kind of farm machinery the piece went with.

  11. Interesting enough, Charles Burrell in the UK, built over 200 steam tractors, although I have my doubts that it had much to do with the Burrell business affairs in Portland. I think it’s the same family, but a coincidence.

  12. If you look at the 1989 railroad book in the link up above, it has a big advertisement that lists quite a few of the items they carry with some illustrations. There is also an ad for the Charles Hotel in Portland that was cool. They had a hydraulic elevator, as noted in their advert.

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