NW Nicolai & Yeon, 1943

Here’s a different angle of the intersection that we first saw back in February. This 1943 view of NE Nicolai & Yeon was taken from just out of the frame to the left on the earlier photo, this time looking east. According to the Trolley Map of Portland, those tracks carried the Sellwood Trolley all the way down to Southeast Portland.

(City of Portland Archives)

7 thoughts on “NW Nicolai & Yeon, 1943

  1. That trolley map is a little misleading. I believe those tracks are standard gauge and belong to the Oregon Electric and the overhead clearly shows a very heavy trolley wire centered over the tracks. Beside that wire are two overhead trolley wires that provided power for the trolley bus line which in fact did serve Sellwood by the time of the photo. The Oregon Electric line served the many heavy industries along NW Nicolai including US Steel which is located directly behind the gentleman looking down the street as well as some customers on nearby streets including Wards and American Can. That switching line originated at the Oregon Electric Station (GN/NP/SP&S and proceeded to Willbridge via city streets serving many many businesses along the way. For the most part it was operated at night with some exception.

    That ’42 Chevy suffers greatly from it’s juxtaposition in the photo with that ’40 Ford Deluxe Coupe, for my money the greatest car ever. Flat heads forever is my mantra.

  2. Rod Taylor is right for the most part. I’ll just add that they may have actually been United Railway tracks. UR was absorbed by the OE at some point. Also, streetcar tracks in this part of town (and most of Portland) were 3’6″. In S.E. Portland they were largely standard gauge, including the Sellwood line, which was really the original Eastside Railway (mainline) to Oregon City. Sellwood line was converted to trolley bus in 1940, three or so years before the photo was taken. My understanding though, is that the tracks of the Sellwood line remained in place for some time, with occasional movements between Golf Jct. and Center Street? My mothers family moved to Portland in 1941, and I have been told of short trains going down 13th and Milwaukie Avenue in the 1940’s.

  3. @Sheldon. You are correct this line was built by the UR. This photo was taken in 1943 and in Sept of that year SP&S absorbed both OE and UR and took over the operation of both company’s. This photo must have taken very near the end of electric operation. I have a very dim recollection of a short double headed electric train both locos lettered for Oregon Electric followed by a caboose lettered for SP&S near Montgomery Wards. I was very young so perhaps it was somewhere else, maybe Salem. Never the less you are right about the United Railways.

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