Sandy Blvd Extension, 1929

This photo is a bit of a mystery. The record for it says, “Photo is documenting extension of Sandy to SE Belmont.” I don’t know exactly which corner it was but I have a feeling it looks southwest at Burnside and 12th where Sandy will make its diagonal cut. This must have been the golden age of billboards; this one is a beauty!

A2009-009.1868 Sandy Blvd 1929(City of Portland Archives)

28 thoughts on “Sandy Blvd Extension, 1929

  1. Love this photo. Would that there were more details, but I have faith in the regular sleuths that in no time at all, the exact location will be decided upon and posted about. Yea for y’all!

  2. Kevin, you need to recheck your maps. In 1911 Sandy was a standard crossing at grade. The overpass came along with the Sullivans Gulch regrade project in 1917. On page 90 of Jeff Asay’s book, Union Pacific Northwest there’s a picture of a westbound train at grade!

  3. I agree, I think it is 12th and Sandy too. I have always been intrigued by the little wall that exists on that triangle of land. It always seemed to me that there were steps there. Here, I can actually zero in on them in googlemaps: I have always wondered about those steps/wall and what had been there before. It doesn’t really look like what the base for those billboards in the pic above looks like… And that parking lot across from it is now a building that takes up that entire patch of block.

  4. Posted this picture to Dead Memories Portland a while back. I wonder if the caption is just a mistake. SE Sandy does not intersect with SE Belmont. I don’t think it ever did. SE Sandy stops at SE Washington at 7th. Never makes it to SE Belmont. On 1911 maps NE Sandy stops at NE Davis. It was later extended but not all the way to SE Belmont. Maybe they intended to do it but clearly they never did.

  5. I think Dan Davis is correct in the caption to the post — this would be the intersection of 12th and Burnside, before Sandy has been extended. From the clock and the lack of foliage on the trees, the sun should be from the southwest meaning the shadows of the men are pointing northwest. The street with the grass parking strip then would be running to the south and the other street to the west. Given also that the street is major enough to have a traffic signal already (and large billboards) this would likely be Burnside. If this is, then the only place that would make sense for documenting the planned extension of Sandy would be at 12th and Burnside.

    Also note the grade of the street going to the right looks like it’s transitioning from near level at the intersection to a significant downhill exactly as Burnside does after crossing 12th (and now Sandy), dropping about 10 feet by the time it gets to 11th.

    The date of 1929 is also consistent with those photos Dan posted here of unknown houses with numbers in front of them. People suggested (and I believe they are right) that these photos were documenting homes to be removed for the extension of Sandy (these dates would also consistent with the 1932 photo showing the completed extension the Mike links to above).

    So I am 95% convinced Dan is right and this is looking southwest at the corner 12th and Burnside prior to the excavation to construct the portion of Sandy south of Burnside.

  6. @Jill-O: The little stone wall on the triangle at Sandy and 12th wouldn’t exist yet in the photo above as Sandy has yet to cut the block in half creating the triangles. It would eventually be where the houses are on the far left of the photo.

  7. Minor correction to my post above– obviously i meant to say the sun would be coming out of the southeast at this time of the morning, not southwest. 🙂

  8. @NativePDX – meaning that the wall was probably in front of that house behind the 7Up billboard? Thanks so much for posting that pic – and I love that tiny little building on Burnside betw. 11th & 12th!

  9. @Jill-O: I don’t think that wall was in front of that house behind the 7-Up billboard. The lot that house sat on is on the corner of 12th and Ankeny and you can see in street view that the wall stops before it gets to that corner lot.

    Also, I see that the wall wraps around and heads down Sandy with another set of stairs on the Sandy side which would mean it was built after Sandy.

  10. If your location is correct – and it seems pretty likely – that would have made the house in the photo No. 11 East 12th Street North according to the 1924 Sanborn map. On that map there is a building that matches the shape of the Queen Anne house in the photo, but on that map there was also a building still standing where the billboard is in this photo. The map also shows another residence on the back side of the lot, just as in the photo.

  11. Related story in the Nov 6, 1929 Oregonian, page 15. It refers to a lawsuit filed by the C.E. Stevens Co. related to unlawful taking of property for street extensions at 12th & Sandy. The Stevens Co.’s sign is visible in the picture.

  12. First, I apologize for the length of this post, but once I started I realized there was no other way to lay out the circumstantial evidence needed:

    I’m going to go out on a limb and say I think I might have found the location of one of those unknown 1929 SE Portland houses with the numbers in front. I would suggest it was located on Ankeny, between 10th and 11th and right next door to the hose that behind the 7-UP billboard in the aerial photo linked by NativePDX above.

    There are several pieces of circumstantial evidence for this. First, in the unknown house photo, the little bit of the house that can be seen next door on the right fits perfectly: the side window that sticks out, the front porch and the roof line that has a slight “bend” or flaring near the edges. (Note for example, that in the aerial photo the north face of the roof is in shade except for the flared part at the bottom.) Also, the trees in the parking strip match type and location in both photos. In fact, in the aerial the fourth tree in (fourth tree counting east to west along Ankeny) looks to be perhaps a different type, bigger and with thicker branches than the first three. In the mystery house photo we’d be looking at trees two and three with number four’s branches just poking into the frame from the left. Notice that they do indeed seem to be from a different type of tree, with bigger, thicker branches than the more wispy ones on the other two. As well, there is an evergreen tree that is somewhat between the houses near the front, that is a bit taller and fuller in the 1939 aerial than in the 1929 street shot (as you would expect).

    Further, if you assume that these photos of the unknown houses were part of this Sandy documentation and were taken near the time of the photo in today’s post and the sun is coming from the southeast, then the house in question must be on the north side of an east-west street, which would fit. Looking at the grade of that street, it looks like a significant downhill to the left. From Google Earth we can see that all of east-west streets that Sandy cut across drop roughly 5 feet from one end of the block to the other, except for Ankeny which drops about 10 feet between 11th and 10th. Looking at the large house on the left of the house in question you can see that the second floor is probably close to the same level as the first floor level of the house on the right, which would be about right for that much drop (and too much for most other blocks — the one other street that drops a lot on the block Sandy crosses is Washington)

    Finally, the large house (apt?) to the left of the house in question might well be the house visible behind the “North Coast Limited” billboard in today’s photo. The color, siding, trim around the windows matches and the style of roof (and the size). all seem to fit. You can’t see enough to be positive, but what you can see would match so nothing seems to rule it out either.

    While none of this is proof-positive, the combined weight of the circumstantial evidence that all fits would at least strongly suggest that the location of the mystery house was on SE Ankeny between 10th and 11th.

    PS: For the record, I’m not the “Brian” in the other thread discussing the street numbering, meridians etc. There are just too many of us.

  13. Ugh, above, please replace 10th and 11th with 11th and 12th, respectively. Don’t know why I got that stuck in my head and repeated it but obviously 10th and 11th make no sense…. apologies!

  14. Wow, this is starting to get really good. How the lot of you manage to dig this stuff up and connect all these dots I have no idea, but it’s definitely a ton of fun to follow along!

    And I think you’ve got quite a compelling case there Brian. Can’t wait to see what some of the other super sleuths around here do with it.

  15. Fun! Here is another item.
    United Development Syndicate Acquires $28,500 Property
    United Development Syndicate, which is headed by George W. Weatherly and which has sponsored the extension of Sandy boulevard from East Twelfth and Burnside streets to East Seventh and Washington streets, yesterday purchased from Merwin and Ormond Rankin the 48 by 100 foot parcel at the southwest corner of East Twelfth and Burnside streets, according to A. R. Ritter of Ritter, Lowe & Co., realtors.
    Consideration was $28,500. The Sandy extension will cut two-fifths from the parcel. The syndicate has purchased more than $333,000 worth of property in the district affected by the extension, which it inaugurated.”
    Morning Oregonian, April 17, 1930, page 1

    Ralph Lloyd purchased the southeast corner of 12th and Burnside a year earlier for $33,000 “as a move to aid in the proposed development.” 05/19/1929, page 22

  16. Oh I just noticed that there is another one of those numbered cards, just like in all those unknown SE Portland house photos. It’s on the Burnett Bros. billboard (just under the lamp on the right) and it says thrity-something but it’s very hard to make out the second number.
    In any event it is in close sequence to the “33” on the unknown house I referenced above that I surmise was just around the corner on Ankney. Also, the guy in the suit holding something in his right hand is likely the same guy in a suit holding something in his right hand in the house photo, but in that one he is mostly hidden behind the tree.

  17. Wow, you guys are so great at this. The Vintage Portland detectives at work.
    Its amazing how much can be learned from one photograph.

  18. And another thing… 🙂 The number-card above I think proves beyond any doubt that all those other 1929 number-card photos were indeed related to properties to be taken for the Sandy extension. And with that we can positively nail down another location. Given the lighting and the now roughly known time of day (i.e. morning), the house in this photo was clearly on the east side (facing west) of a north-south street (sun coming from the southeast, behind and to the right). The numbers on the house (68-70) in inner SE Portland translate to the 400 block on north-south streets and it so happens that there is only one place where Sandy wiped out the 400’s of a north-south street. Therefor we can be sure that this house was at what would become approximately 418-422 SE 8th St, which is between SE Pine and Stark.

    Of course I have to acknowledge that this is exactly where YankeeMate suggested it was based on addresses and description in the Sanborn map. That would put it today probably just slightly south of the little traffic island surrounded by Sandy, Pine and 8th.

    What a great photo Dan! I’ve had way too much fun with it today and I think it has helped answer several questions.

  19. Arg, one (two?) more edit — that should be on 8th AVE. (not st.) between Stark and OAK (not Pine), obviously… need to proofread!

  20. Great work, everybody. This is obviously a visually engaging image and I’m so impressed with the level of discussion and investigation it initiated. The VP community never ceases to amaze me!

  21. Very nice work on the Ankeny house Brian,

    Here is one more item. They were still offering “FOR SALE to be MOVED, 20 houses of flats, on account SANDY EXTENSION, price $50 to $800” June 1 paper.

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