Ainsworth Block, 1955

When Portland businessman John C. Ainsworth constructed his bank building in 1881, it was the most expensive, 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.

(University of Oregon Libraries)

1st Avenue Flood, 1894

Floods were not uncommon in the years preceding the construction of the seawall along the west side of the Willamette. This 1894 flood scene looks north on 1st Avenue at Stark. The building on the left is the Union Block, also shown here and here.

(City of Portland Archives)

Spaulding Building, 1953

The Spaulding Building was one of Portland’s more distinctive designs. It was built for owner William Wallace Spaulding for $30,000 in 1883. It stood on SW 1st Avenue between Columbia and Clay Streets until 1967 when it was demolished as part of the South Auditorium Urban Renewal District project. A white concrete slab wall at the back of the Marriott Hotel is all you see there now.

(University of Oregon Libraries)

SW Washington at 6th, circa 1950

The corner of SW 6th & Washington isn’t so different today than it was 60 years ago. Despite some obvious changes, some buildings still exist. The Equitable Building (now Commonwealth Building) and Plaza Hotel (now Hotel Vintage Plaza) are still to be found on the right, and the Morgan Building is still a block up on Broadway. Can anybody make out what movie is playing at the United Artists theater?

(City of Portland Archives)