SW Washington & 3rd, 1905

It was a very busy day in 1905 when the streets and sidewalks were crowded with pedestrians and a few vehicles. This view is west on SW Washington St. at 3rd Avenue. The Dekum Building is a familiar sight on the left and the Oregon Pacific Building another block west still stands.

A2004-001.17 Washington St west from 3rd 1905(City of Portland Archives)

22 thoughts on “SW Washington & 3rd, 1905

  1. I can’t count the number of times between October, 2006, and January, 2011, that I caught the 15 bus home to NW 22nd and Flanders at the northwest corner of this intersection. Always the Dekum Building grabbed my attention as did the Postal Building, directly south of where I waited. Do I have that right, y’all, the Postal Building? It’s the color of butterscotch and nougat. And the Spalding Building which is across the street from the Dekum. Right behind me, of course, one of those dratted surface parking lots, this one lined with food carts along SW 3rd. By the way, just now I noticed that Google Maps has labeled the building on the corner of SW 3rd and SW Alder as the Dekum Building. That’s before you take a street view look. Wonder why they made such a blatant error?

  2. I spy a doggie! Wonder what people were looking at in the building on the SW corner of the intersection..??? 107 years ago…

  3. Great photo. I wonder if any of these folks were headed to the Expo. Weather looks good, so it’s probably summer and the Expo would be in full swing.

  4. Yes, a great photo. The first thing I thought of was “Walk & Wait” signs! That must have been one hell of a mess for a while!

  5. great picture of the time, looks like something is going to happen? Looks like a good day for a Parade! The Woodmen used this intersection for their parade, but it was held at 8 in the evening and in March. Like Eric said, 1905 is the year of the Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition, June 1st to Oct 14th. Everyone was arriving in Portland. There are a lot of parades going on this year, for example, the Odd Fellows on June 9th, but on June 10th, The Traveling Men cross this intersection in particular. Anyone know what “Traveling Men”are? Is this a morning photo?

    “TRAVELING MEN WILL HIT TRAIL – Saturday Will Be Their Day at the Exposition Grounds. – BIG STREET PARADE, TOO” – Attractive Programme Is Arranged for the Occasion and an Immense Attendance at the Centennial Is Assured. “

    “On Saturday the conservative and peace-loving citizens will please draw down the shutters and retreat to their cyclone cellar with rations for 24 hours.”

    “Portland and the surrounding section of earth will belong to the traveling men” “every sort of traveling man on the Pacific Coast.”

    “The parade, under the guidance of Major McDonell, will leave the Custom-House at 10:30 o’clock, sharp, and pass on Davis to Sixth, on Sixth of Morrison, on Morrison to Third, on Third to Washington, on Washington to Park, and back to the Custom-House, where it will disband. “

    Headline – Morning Oregonian, June 9, 1905.

  6. @ bailey: I thought it was a cat, nowadays lots o’ dogs around but I don’t think I’ve seen a cat downtown, especially on a busy day like this 1.

  7. Is the Oregon Pacific building the one that used to have the inflatable purple octopus on it? I didn’t realize that structure was so old

  8. Lynette, you’re correct. The Postal building is to our immediate left (just out view). The Council building is to our immediate right. It was demolished in the 1970s. Just west of the Dekum building is the Washington building. The extant Oregon Pacific Building is indeed the same one that had the big purple octopus before the closure of the Greek Cusina.

  9. Love these photos. And the fact that the photographer and everybody in the photo is dead now. The people who built the buildings, streets, wires, everything, All dead, It’s glorious !

  10. @Ian: From 2010: Greek Cusina Closes, Octopus Available – The Shutter – Eater PDX I’ve a very scattershot memory, but wasn’t that place once called simply the Downtown Greek Deli? Used to sometimes duck my head in there mornings after a night shift to get something really cavity inducing. Was there off and on for one of the packed-to-the rafters crowds enjoying belly dancing that put Randy Leonard into a major tizzy, too.

    The Olympian should be a few blocks down in this 1905 pic, right? Soon to become Kelly’s Olympian, apparently for good.

  11. Hi Ben, Your comment sort of creeps me out.
    But on that note, I’d wonder what percentage of glorious dead people were homosexuals? Its been said there were a higher percentage of gays during those times than what exist today…

  12. Tad,

    I suspect is was fairly easy to dodge the clattering wagons, rattling trolleys and few chittery bang-bang autos. But what a cacophony (or symphony if your sentimentality goes that direction).

    Also, I like dragonflies*

    *Just keeping (Vintage) Portland bizarreweird.

  13. I notice one thing about the many old photographs on this site, the ever present haze or what we call today smog. Portland had this problem long before the automobile was numerous enough to contribute to the problem. The industrial and household use of wood, wood waste and coal for heating and manufacturing and the close proximity of the industrial plants made Portland very similar to London in this sense.

  14. today i saw one of these splendid old trolleys being hauled up MLK. funny, similar to this pic, as the trolley continued on there was a handsome cat confident as could be crossing that busy bit of MLK. bravely done as it was mid-day between Russell and Knott. i SO wanted to follow but was ever so late for a fabric shopping date. where was the trolley going? could someone tell me where the car went and where i’d be if i’d trailed along?

  15. hey Tad, thanks for the swell fb link!

    the trolley i had seen was traveling north on mlk. wish i had the sense to notice a number. it did have the tape on the windows like the one (#514) just taken to lake oswego. different day and direction but could it just have been the same car fetching a round-about way before it’s tuesday destination? or really just another car with other plans?


    it was a fun to see anyhow. it catered to imagining the trolley (that actually turned at russell?) travel that intersection way back when it did.

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