Commonwealth Building, 1928

We normally associate the Commonwealth Building with the Pietro Belluschi-designed Equitable Building on SW 6th between Washington and Stark Streets. This Commonwealth Building stood on the southwest corner of SW 6th Avenue and W Burnside. I’m guessing this was demolished during the Burnside widening project of the early 1930s. I believe that’s the Broadway Hotel (now Helen M. Swindells Building) across Burnside reflected in the window.

(City of Portland Archives)

6 thoughts on “Commonwealth Building, 1928

  1. This building bears a distinct resemblance to the Sherlock Building at Third and Oak*. I wonder if they were both designed by the same architect?

    Unico Tower (Big Pink) stands at this sight today and has a plaque on sixth stating the site was formerly home to the Salvation Army. Would that have been in the same building, or one preceding or antecedent to the Commonwealth Building?

    *According to the Daily Journal of Commerce, the church of scientology recently purchased the Sherlock Building and has no plans to renew the lease of Ruth Chris’ Steak House. Bummer.


  2. This Commonwealth Building is actually on the southwest corner, which puts it on the site of today’s parking lot. Big Pink now stands on the site of the Salvation Army building (corner of 6th and Ankeny when Ankeny went all the way through), and another building on the southeast corner of 6th and Burnside. I’ll post photos of these building soon.

  3. Thanks for the correction Dan. I’m guessing then that the building to the extreme left that is sporting the battered and abused awning is the current site of Big Pink.

  4. Could very well have been the work of F. Manson White, architect of the Sherlock building. If not him, then it could have been the work of his partnership – McCaw, Martin, and White. They designed the Dekum Building.
    Looks like it was a great building – in any case.

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