W Burnside & SW 10th, 1939

There are many classic signs to be savored in this 1939 photo of a popular Portland intersection; the Wentworth & Irwin logo at far left is a beauty. The view is east on W Burnside and 10th Avenue, with SW Oak angling off to the right. I believe you can see one of the surviving “Great Light Way” arches down Oak at 3rd Street.

(City of Portland Archives)

13 thoughts on “W Burnside & SW 10th, 1939

  1. Wow- you are right about the “Great Light Way” arch on 3rd and Oak- 1939 was about the last chance to see any of the arches standing, as the final three were ordered torn town in August 1940. By then they had been dark since 1937. Its been a mystery to me which of the final three intersections on 3rd kept their arches till the end. One down, two to go!

  2. Another great photo! What I like about this one is that for the most part, this intersection looks very similar today (at least looking from this angle).
    When I had a shop near by in the mid ’80’s, the sign shop on Stark was still there. Many businesses in the area still catered to the automotive trade. How different today…I count three gas stations in this one. I didn’t know about the Signal station on 10th and Stark before. Looks like it has the Mediterranean style that was popular in the 20’s-30’s.

    Dan H.- Do you know the reason the arches were torn down?

  3. Great picture. The zoomed version really defines the termination point of the Burnside street widening project at SW Park. It appears today’s AT&T building only replaced one building and one parking lot instead of an entire block of buildings. The building at Broadway and Oak (with the Western Union advert) is still there though it’s almost unrecognizable since losing its cornice.

    Mike, the sign shop building is still there. It was home to Rocco’s Pizza for quite awhile, but Rocco’s recently shut down their parlor and bar, so this space may soon be available again.

    I’ve heard the building backing the Benson was known as the Telegraph Building, but a federal style brick building on Stark (not shown) is known as the Telegram building. Does anybody know if these names are correct? Also, does anyone know if the designer of the “Telegraph Building” was the same as the designer for the Selling Building?

  4. when doc martins went in 6 months or so ago where that montclair hotel is, they uncovered a great tiled mosaic storefront entry floor. unfortunately they ripped it up.

    when did burnside lose its on-street parking?

  5. The Firestone store is still a Firestone store, but that appears to be the last surviving business in this pic.

  6. Dave, that’s a Nash. I believe a 1939 model, and may belong to the dealership that it’s parked in front of.

    If you go by the Firestone store and look closely, you can see signs of the older building under the outer covering. I understand that building may not be around much longer…

  7. Notice the Vegetable Juice truck? Does that say All Natural? If so, it had to be the very beginning of the organic everything trend….I imagine the street side parking went when Burnside came 4 lanes all the way out. Not to mention widening the lanes. In the old days the lanes were so much narrower (ever been out the old highway by Multnomah Falls? I had a Chevy Tahoe that actually filled the entire lane from edge to edge).

  8. Where is the rather jaunty guy (smoking a cigarette?) in the right foreground heading? Was this west end part of town a gay enclave during this period?

  9. That glass truck shows up in a lot of old photos of the Nash dealership. Was the driver the photographer?

  10. The Montclair Hotel. Don’t remember it as that, but I DO remember when good old KISN radio was there in the late 50’s and early 60’s. We listened to old “TM in the PM”. Tom Murphy in the evenings.
    I still go to Powell’s across the street.

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