SW Harbor Drive Aerial View, 1952

Today’s photo shows the old SW Harbor Drive as it enters downtown from the south. This area is just south of the Hawthorne Bridge (see the bridge tower at the bottom). Two previous Vintage Portland photos show this area’s progression over the years, here in 1928 (shown just last week) and here in 1939. From its rough waterfront beginnings, this part of town is now populated with banks, luxury hotels and high rise apartments. Notice the Battleship Oregon’s mast in the small park before its move to its present location just south of the Burnside Bridge.

(City of Portland Archives)

5 thoughts on “SW Harbor Drive Aerial View, 1952

  1. “Notice the Battleship Oregon’s mast in the small park before its move to its present location just south of the Burnside Bridge.”

    Notice further the silhouette of what appears to be a small boy sitting on the crossbeam of the mast. Peter Pan? Robin Williams?

    Other than the silhouette (which may or may not be an actual person), I notice that unlike the 1939 photo, there are no pedestrians out and about. Just cars. By this time the hustle and bustle of the city was all bustle and no hustle.

  2. I noticed that figure on the mast, too, Jim. I think it’s a person. That area was kind of a no man’s land in the mid-60s. I remember getting lost down there after a dance at St Mary’s Academy & turning around where we found a donkey pulling a wagon.

  3. Interesting that, man or boy, nobody seems to give a damn about the figure on the mast. These days there’d be a crowd of gawkers, police, firemen and news media.

    What’s up with the two-story structure on the barge down in the marina area? And how about that block-o-rubble across Harbor Dr?

  4. Of note that marina area use to be the berthing area for the battleship Oregon prior to being given back to the Navy for scrap during WW2. It’s interesting that you can also see what was left of the railroad, the former Southern Pacific Jefferson Line. If you go down to Riverplace you can see where they had the tracks go all the way to near the Hotel. They were used through the 90’s and early 2000’s by the Willamette Shore Trolley until the street car extension to the south waterfront cut off the line. I seem to recall my father telling me that there was a large lumber mill (as pictured on the left) and right next to it a hog fuel steam plant…

  5. Notice the log booms on the river. I can remember them when i was as kid and into early adulthood. The last log booms on the river were eliminated in the middle 70’s. I was working at Nicolai Door and had some seniority I was running a machine as the operator at age 25 and my new offbearer was a 48 year old guy who had just lost his job as a boom man at the last sawmill to shut down on the river. He even wore his corks with the metal and his high water pants until he could afford new.

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