New Market Theater, c1872

The New Market Theater is shown here on SW 1st between Ankeny and Ash Streets, probably in 1872, the year it was completed. Construction appears to be just starting for the New Market Block, North Wing, which was completed the following year. The North Wing was demolished in 1956 but the cast-iron arches were saved and are in place today. It will be another 16 years before the Skidmore Fountain makes its appearance. It would be placed probably about at the end of the wooden sidewalk at lower center of the photo.

New Market Theater & North Wing LOC c1873(Library of Congress)

11 thoughts on “New Market Theater, c1872

  1. When my older son first moved here in 2000, he worked at Berbati’s Pan which is/was near here–I’m not sure about which part of it still operates. Anyway, when his brother first visited him in 2001, one of the photos that he took to show me some of Portland was of the Skidmore Fountain. I’m so happy that I live here now where my two sons live and that I get to see places that they see. I’m even more happy to learn the history that I learn here at Vintage Portland, from the photos, the posts about the photos, and the comments.

  2. Some readers may be wondering why windows were built on the North face of the main building if they were only going to be covered up by the North Wing. The North Wing had a roughly triangular shaped courtyard, which I believe served as a loading bay. You can just make it out in these previous VP photo.

  3. “these”= this. Too early on a DST time shift.

    On a different note, the sliver of building on the far left is the Bank of British Columbia (demolished 1928). This is roughly today’s Ankeny Square.

  4. Memory lane time..
    I worked in this building around ’84 during its renovation. It was the first building of its type I worked on, I was shocked at the low standards of structural and mechanical systems that were allowed during its original construction. But that’s just the way things were built then. I wonder if they originally had no real intention of these building to last more than 50 or so years. ( I am glad a good number have survived…)

    Then on, was a shame the property management company who renovated, went broke and the building received a number of low class tenants for a time what took a toll on its freshly renovated condition.

  5. I read somewhere that the original street lights burned whale oil. If you look on the left side just past the edge of the Ankeny block (on 1st and Ash), does anyone know if that could be one? The light in the center looks to be a “modern” gas lamp but the one at the end of the block looks a lot older, if it is a light at all.

  6. Dan S,

    I think the object you are talking about on the corner of Ash and First is a pharmacist’s sign (mortar and pestle), not a street light.

    The large and handsome brick building, designed for market, was commenced over a year ago by our enterprising townsman Capt. A. P. Ankeny.

    The New Central Market, as it now stands, is an architectural ornament to the city and a credit to this enterprising community.

    Two large and capacious sewers extend along the entire length of the building on the outside, so that filth cannot accumulate, and neatness and cleanliness can be strictly observed.

    It is well worthy of a visit, and we advise all to call and ado the new Central Market and examine its handsome interior by gaslight.

    Morning Oregonian, Page 3, 6 Oct 1872

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