Pickle Shop, c1931 – Help Us Out!

This may be one of our toughest mysteries yet. This pickle shop is very well stocked and organized but unidentified, either with a name or location. Hard to tell if it’s a stand-alone shop or part of an open-air market. As we’ve learned in the past, this might not be in Portland at all so don’t limit your investigation. Good luck once again.

1931 c_Pickle shop_A2008-001.156(City of Portland Archives)

35 thoughts on “Pickle Shop, c1931 – Help Us Out!

  1. My first guess would have been the Portland Public Market on Harbor Drive, but that wasn’t built until 1933, so that rules that out. This could possibly be somewhere in the Produce Row area? This is a tough one!

  2. knickatknight, does Produce Row refer to the old open-air markets along SW Yamhill Street that pre-dated (and to some extent outlasted) the Portland Public Market?

  3. The photo does have the State Fair feel to it. Very nice photo, everything is new. Very east side? The Grand Central Public Market was an anchor at the end of the Sandy Blvd extension bounded by Belmont, Morrison, 8th and 9th. There was a Pickle Depot listed in the Market’s regular ads, they sold juice too. Later, there was a Culp’s Pickle Depot at the Harbor drive market. Not sure if Culp’s is a brand or the owner.

  4. I haven’t seen a sign like the one to the far right. Looks like it might say ‘Sunshine’ or possibly ‘Sunsweet’. Sunsweet was/is raisins and prunes, so it might fit. I am inclined to think this might be in a market. However, looking at the doors on tracks in the background, it would seem the building might be rounded on the end. If you look at the doors, as you face them, they would pull to the left to go into a closed position. I wonder if this is more of a roadside type stand that would have an open front during business hours. You would see these start to appear along the newer ‘suburban’ roads around Portland’s core, like Sandy Blvd. or Hillsdale in this era. Kind of like this example: https://vintageportland.wordpress.com/2010/09/28/ne-sandy-41st-1934-2/
    Some of the suburban roads like Sandy and Foster, running at odd angles to the city grid, often had odd shaped buildings built to fit irregular lots.

  5. @ Brian Caughey – Produce Row is actually an area/district in the Central Eastside Industrial area where farmers used to sell fresh produce from nearby local warehouses. You can actually see old rail tracks that used to run right along SE Water St in front of many old warehouses. I could easily picture this Pickle Shop somewhere in this area.

  6. You know, if memory serves me well, all of these mystery photos from this exact time period have not been in Portland. Perhaps this is somewhere in Camas (as has been the location most often it seems) or maybe Vancouver. Speaking of what Mike Slama suggested above, prunes used to be a big deal in Vancouver, with the city even having a festival every year up until the 30s or 40’s. Maybe this photo has something to do with that festival or the area in Washington? Here a link to an article on the Prune Fest in Vancouver: http://www.columbian.com/news/2012/mar/17/county-has-proud-prune-past/

  7. I am nearly positive this was at Council Crest Amusement park. There were several odd shaped and round buildings in the park.

  8. Nearly positive was overly optimistic of me. This space is odd shaped, but, much longer than any single venders booth at Council Crest. Oaks park or the Lewis and Clark Expo?

  9. Page 10 of the pdf file linked in Brian Caughey’s post:

    “Grand Central Pickle Depot”

    Maybe the same place?

  10. To me, this photo appears to show three shops: Home Made Pickles on the left, Fruit Juices in the center, and something else on the right.

    Were the shops open at night? Why else the large lamps?

    How were the shops protected during closing hours? Did those heavy looking doors slide around to the front?

    Is that a boardwalk in front of the shops?

    So many questions!

  11. This photo is from the Irene Archer / Cody Bottorff photograph collection, snaps taken during the 30s by an intinerant photographer. A few of their pics are viewable, perhaps the Pickle Man is in one of them.

    The entry for today’s photo is on Page 3 of the collection; assuming the photos in proximity to it in the records were taken the same day, nearby entries include photos of the “Columbia Restaurant” and “a MacMarr store.” Perhaps those are clues to its locale; or perhaps they have nothing to do with it.

    Also note that most of these photos aren’t visible online, Dan has gone through the TOS or whatever to obtain copies of them for our edification/frustration.

  12. There seems to be a lot of light coming in horizontally from the right. It is diffuse, unlike photo floodlights. A low sun would make deep shadows. Maybe it is reflecting off of a lake or other body of water.

  13. There used to be or still may be a pickle/cabbage plant in Scappose on Rt 30 perhaps this will be of some help

  14. You mean Steinfelds in Scappose? I wish we could find some interior pictures of Grand Central Market because I believe that is where this is. I have checked the list of vendors in a Google scanned catalogue of the Lewis and Clark Expo. and I didn’t fnd anything about a pickle vendor. Remembering that the GCPM had more than one floor, this looks like it could have been a “bump out” near the side walk. And yes, there was a pickle factory and tannery in the market.

  15. Now that I think about it, maybe the picture above which Dan posted yesterday is the same picture from the Archer/Bottorff collection?

    Laura – a majority of the “itinerant photographers” images in that collection were taken within the Portland city limits, so there’s only about a 50/50 chance that our pickle picture was snapped in Camas.

    That’s a great site which KLR linked for us. In the past I’ve seen that many pictures on this website originated from there. Unfortunately, the “A2008-001.156 : Exterior view of a pickle shop” image isn’t viewable.

    The caption – “View of a man standing behind a display of pickles and other bulk foodstuffs. Storefront is located within an interior mall. A sign indicates “Fruit Juices” are for sale. Date is circa.” certainly makes it appear that it was taken at the GCPM, as I’m not sure that there were many “malls” around in 1931!

  16. Haha no problem Eric. I appreciate your effort. A short while back when a picture of the east end of the Steele Bridge had been posted at this site, another poster had found an image of some old buildings that had been at the foot of the old Steele Bridge. Unfortunately, the image wouldn’t appear, only the caption. I found the actual image link in the source code, and posted the link here. But whenever anyone tried to use that link, another random image would appear.

    By the way, was the image of the pickle store at the site which KLR linked the same as our pickle store?

  17. Market details from the Steinfeld Story:

    “As the business with the sauerkraut and pickles grew a little bit, Dad would go out and get testimonies and sell them to a restaurant, like Henry Thiele’s. He would get a testimony and say that he uses Steinfeld’s kraut. The market started down at Yamhill Street. The market ran from First/Front Avenue to Fifth Avenue. This is the area where Fred Meyer started his first store. In the early days, they used to have to cast lots for stalls, never knowing from one day to next where they were going to be located. After awhile, they became much more sophisticated and they allocated permanent stalls, so when a person came down to buy pickles or kraut they knew where to go. Our stall was located between Fourth and Fifth on the North side of the street. Elsie quit school at a very young age, possibly thirteen or so. I went down on weekends and sold sauerkraut. Weekends were from Friday to Saturday, because it wasn’t open on Sunday. We’d sell sauerkraut and pickles there. Of course, it was right in front of the Manning’s Coffee Shop. A good looking guy by the name of Arthur Ames was in there selling coffee and he’d shoot rubber bands at Elsie, and they became acquainted, and eventually married.”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s