NE 20th & E Burnside, 1965

We’re not likely to see 29 cent gasoline again but amazingly enough, the Tip Top Cleaners is still on the corner of NE 20th and East Burnside. In fact beside some business name changes, this scene, looking south on 20th, has changed very little over the years.

(City of Portland Archives)

12 thoughts on “NE 20th & E Burnside, 1965

  1. I suppose you are right. I remember my older sister got her driver’s license in 1965. If we both had a dollar, we could take Mom’s car, put in 50 cents worth of gas, and still have enough money left to go to Yaws and order Green Rivers and French Fries with gravy. Of course, I had to eat mine on the floor of the back seat so I did not cramp her social life …

  2. I agree about the date–that Valiant is much like the one which my brother had which I really got a kick out of driving now and then. Those push buttons!

  3. I remember that area very well. Junior in high school in spring of 65 and us country boys would head that way on weekends.

  4. The barber shop is now a coffee shop, the insurance company is now a hearing aid shop, and the Seaside is a little strip mall thingy. The Mobil station is now a 76 🙂 Tip Top Cleaners even still has the same sign outside.

    In case anyone needs a Tailor, Stitch-In-A-Hurry is right next to Tip Top Cleaners (next storefront East on Burnside), and she does great work. Adorable feisty Polish lady.

  5. When I got out of the army, 3/59 I rented a apartment at 20th and Ankeny , the roof of which I can see in this photo and stared going to this barber. Wish I could recall his name. Anyway I remained a loyal patron until he retired about the time of this photo, 56-57, long after I had moved away.

    Dave B is correct this is indeed Couch and the traffic light is Burnside.

  6. Hey, y’all,

    I took a vacation day today, got myself a Zipcar and did some errands. The Zipcar lives behind the service station now on the corner of Burnside and SE 20th, so I walked this way to get it around 11 a.m. Lo and behold, two men were on a ladder attached to their work truck, refurbishing the paint on the sign on the right, now Willoughby Hearing Aids, as has been mentioned.

    I grabbed my camera from my backpack and took a few photos. A man who was going back and forth from Tip Top Cleaners to a van noticed me, so I asked him if he worked there. He said, “I’m the owner.” Total serendipity. I got my iPhone out and showed him this post, so excited to be able to share it with him.

    While I didn’t get the year that he bought Tip Top, I did get some info about the sign. I think he said that they had the neon reworked six or seven years ago, and that’s when they discovered some interesting things about the sign which explains why it’s never rusted. It’s made of aluminum, stamped with the date 1945, which he says means during WWII. He said that the Willoughby sign requires painting often, and so far the only need the Tip Top sign has is reworking the neon–now part of the arrow is out. (I took photos of the Tip Top sign, too.)

    Anyway he told me that the original Tip Top Cleaners that the sign was made for was not at this location until 1954. The sign’s been there since then and the building, I think he said, is 103 years old.

    About an hour ago I drive the Zipcar to its home and walked back to my apartment, taking a few more photos of each sign. At some point this week, I will post them on my blog, Portland Oregon Daily Photo. Hope you’ll stop by and leave a comment. Thanks!

  7. .29 cent gas! Must have been the premium. In 73′ when I bought my first car I remember regular was .23 a gallon at least out in Clackamas Co.

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