Guild’s Lake Courts, c1942

Today’s post is a followup to yesterday with more information on the Guild’s Lake Courts shipyard worker housing. This photo looks slightly to the left of yesterday’s image and gives good detail about the back yards of these units. No oil tanks are in evidence and it looks like those wooden bins are for coal storage. The accompanying map shows that these units were along NW Tunis St., just west of NW 35th Avenue (our view is to the east). The detail shows the floor plans of the Type “F” buildings in this area.

A2001-025.260 Guilds Lake war housing c1942

guilds lake court division 35098(City of Portland Archives)

14 thoughts on “Guild’s Lake Courts, c1942

  1. I think the old train station building is still standing at 35th and Saint Helen’s Rd, I was told that it was used by the those who worked in the ship yards. it is real close to this spot anyway.

  2. I love how their front yards are absolutely immaculate (as if no one lives there) and their backyards are covered in stuff. Also, interesting that these buildings had so many 3-BR apartments. You don’t see many 3-BR in buildings like these anymore.

  3. I wonder if the reason the front yards are so clean is that they had rules about keeping the front yard clean.

  4. From a history of the court ” Some specifics:
    — No central heat. A coal-burning space heater sat
    in the middle of the living room.
    — Cooking was done on a two-burner woodburning
    stove. A small oven was below the firebox.
    The stove likely measured 18 inches wide and stood
    counter high.
    — An icebox provided refrigeration. It was a fourdoor
    with ice kept in the top left cabinet. One of the
    amenities of the project was the fact that we never
    had to empty the drain pan beneath the icebox. Since
    the project was build on sand and silt dredged from
    the Willamette River, a rubber tube ran directly from
    the base of the pan through a hole in the floor and the
    water drained into the sand under the house.

  5. More from a person who lived in the court ” —Two other perks: The Portland Housing Authority
    that managed the project for the Federal Government
    delivered free ice twice a week. Trucks would come
    down the street and deliver 25-pound blocks of ice
    to each apartment. And coal for heating was also
    free. There was a coal bin, measuring 4 feet x 4 feet
    by 4 feet next to each apartment’s kitchen door. Coal
    trucks would come by on a regular basis to keep the
    bins full.
    — There were no cabinets in the kitchen. The
    kitchen sink was open plumbing. The small counter
    was made up of 1-inch planks over a 2×4 frame. It
    may have had a linoleum-like surface on it but I can’t
    remember. The cupboards above the counter were
    open-faced 1×8 shelving.
    — The floors were made of sanded fir. They were
    not hardwood. I can’t remember if we tried to cover
    them with linoleum. I remember they were hard to
    keep clean.
    — Walls between the apartments were thin and not
    insulated. We were able to talk to our neighbors
    through the walls without raising our voices.
    — We did have an electric water heater—the only
    “modern” amenity in sight. But it was small and slow
    to replenish.
    — No screens on any of the doors or windows. In
    the summer that was a pain. We needed to keep the
    windows open for air circulation. But that meant
    being constantly bothered by mosquitoes and flies. I
    learned to sleep at night with a sheet covering everything
    on my face except my mouth for breathing.

  6. The likely reason the front yards appear to be “clean” is that they were freshly seeded as the several string fences suggest. The baseball bat to the contrary not withstanding of coarse. Mosquitoes were the bane of all Portland summers in those golden years before DDT and vector control and this area ( NW) was especially cursed by geography with the nearness of all that stagnate water and the sheltering west hills cutting off the refreshing westerly zephyrs enjoyed by the remainder of the city. Every household in western Oregon was equipped with at least one hand pumped “Flit” sprayer as a defense and the folks residing in this neighborhood likely had one in every room.

  7. A while I posted a link to the 1943 Portland Improvement study carried out by Robert Moses. One interesting detail in it is basic demographic information for 137k wartime workers, specifically a map of the nation showing which state they came to Portland from. I’m linking this again here as it may be of interest in connection with these posts about Guild’s Lake.

  8. If you go to and search for guilds you will get several arial photos of this area from the 1950’s as it changes from housing to industrial

Comments are closed.