Apartments, c1955 – Help Us Out!

These appear to be duplex upstairs/downstairs apartments from circa 1955 1947 but their location is unknown. Any help in identifying where these once were is greatly appreciated. That street sign might say SW 4th Avenue but I can’t be sure.

Found: SW 4th Ave. & Columbia St.

1955 c_A2005-005.1299.2(City of Portland Archives)

27 thoughts on “Apartments, c1955 – Help Us Out!

  1. If that is SW 4th and we are looking west here this could be all gone as it may have been part of the South auditorium urban renewal project.

  2. I was thinking this looked like a north view in the auditorium district. The hills in the distance seem to be on the east side of the river and the road might be Harbor Drive. I looked through the VP collection of photos in the area but no luck. The large building on the left may be a good landmark to look for in photos..and is that a cast iron facade a little further down the street?

  3. The sun appears to be low in the sky. Look at the shadows, the car driving through the signal is casting a shadow over the parked car. Maybe that can help in what direction, we are facing.

  4. Perhaps 1955 is the correct date. The streets look like they are one-way, so this shot would have been taken after 1950.

  5. That street sign looks like it’s a numbered street though. 4th 5th 3rd ? It could be Oak though. Too bad photo enlargers that enlarge without losing resoultion only exist on shows like NCIS and not in real life.

  6. I agree with Peter that there is no chance this in 1955 given the cars (ever mid-50’s photo I’ve ever seen has an abundance of 50’s cars). Given that we’re looking down a one-way street it could be that the photo was as late as 1950, however, I know Jefferson and Columbia were already one-way by 1946, so I was looking for somewhere along SW Columbia (the photo can’t be looking west given the sun) but haven’t found anything yet.

  7. I agree that it might be sw 4th and columbia, looking N/NE. That looks like harbor drive winding up the hill on the right, maybe those low white buildings could be a good landmark in Harbor Drive photos

  8. Found a photo of the NW Corner of 4th and SW Columbia in 1948. Too bad that you can’t see any reflections from the house windows or car windows to verify if there was a white service station across the street on 4th. That ‘s what was there in 1948. Tried to look at the hub cap relections too but can’t see anything.

  9. I’m in agreement with CJ. This is SW 4th and Columbia, looking down Columbia toward and across the river to some of the old warehouses on the east side.

  10. I agree with CJ. I think we’re looking down Columbia from 4th and the building towards the end of the street is the old Ladd Block.

  11. C J was right this is the NE corner of SW 4th and Columbia looking east. Just found a picture of this intersection in 1948. By that time the houses were gone replaced by a parking lot. That weird structure on the top of the apartment building to east of the houses is a perfect match. Very distinctive. Nice C. J.

  12. Excellent job, CJ (and everyone else). Here’s a little more info I was able to dig up.

    You can see the large building on the left in this earlier VP post. By 1964 the apartments had been razed.

    You can also see both the large building and the apartments in the Sanford maps, but not both on the same map. The 1908-1909 (Sheet 135) shows the apartments (side-by-side, not upstairs/downstairs). The 1908-1950 (Sheet 135 also) shows the large building on the left to be the Labor Temple. This is reflected in the sign on the side, “Union Shop Card.”

  13. Well, darn… I guess the early bird gets the worm.
    You guys had this figured out by 10:00 am. I wasn’t even
    out of bed yet. Looks like C J nailed it.

  14. It is indeed SW 4th and columbia facing N/NE. We know it has to be sometime between 1946 (one way street grid on Columbia) and 1949, since the same view from 1950 has all three of the duplex apartments between 3rd and 4th on the north side demolished. The Buliding on the NW side of 3rd has been repainted white in the 1950 photo “joan” posted, where its a darker color in this photo. If we could find some history or record on when the duplex apartments were demolished, that would give us a slightly more accurate gauge on the date of the photo.

  15. joan, excellent find on that photo as it’s from almost the same spot of the one above! But, it proves the exact opposite point — that the cars were indeed a sign that it couldn’t be 1955 — as we see that by 1950 the apartments were gone. At any rate, a few years can make a large difference as there would be little surprise that a 1950 photo has mostly 1940’s cars, but it would be quite surprising if a c1955 photo had only 1940’s cars.

    Regarding the date, given the changes noted by Chris, and the new street signs mounted on new utility poles in the 1950 photo as well as the lack of one-way signage in the older photo, I’d have to guess the photo above is actually much closer to 1946 when Columbia became one-way, than to 1950.

    Interesting to note in joan’s link that you could park all day for 3 hours for $0.25 or all day for $0.35 in 1950. Also interesting is the sign needed to instruct people that you could now turn left on a red when turning onto one of these new one-ways.

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