Aerial View of Downtown, 1938

This 1938 aerial view gives us a distant overview of several images we discussed earlier this week. It’s also a good comparison with a photo with the same approximate perspective from 10 years earlier.

A2010-001.75 Aerial of Downtown Portland c1938 24k(City of Portland Archives)

11 thoughts on “Aerial View of Downtown, 1938

  1. A slight correction,,,not the Morrison in the photo. It hadn’t been built for another 20+ years. What’s in the picture north of the Hawthorne Bridge is actually the Madison St Bridge.

  2. I’m fairly sure the bridge north of the Hawthrone bridge is indeed the Morrison Bridge. Its just the old swing-span Morrison Bridge, which was replaced in the 50’s with the current one.

    The Madison Bridge had an alignment roughly equal to the Hawthorne Bridge. There were two of them (sequential, not at the same time) and they both predated the Hawthorne bridge.

  3. I didn’t know (or forgot) about the little rail yard just west of Union (MLK) between Main and Belmont.

    On a modern satellite view ( the blocks bounded by Madison, Main, Water, and 3rd show some odd building shapes that I think are a ghost of the curved tracks that once led into this yard.

  4. What we know as the “Hawthorne Bridge” is actually the “new” (its not that new now) Madison Bridge completed in 1910. Its just that over the course of time its become commonly referred to as the “Hawthorne Bridge”.

  5. No big pile of sawdust next to PP and L’s Lincoln power plant didn’t think that they had switched over to oil this early but looks like they did.

  6. @Chris: (ding!) You get the prize. It IS the ‘new’ Madison St. Bridge. Good call!

  7. Where is the USS OREGON in the picture? I thought it was moored S. of the Hawthorne Bridge by 1938.

  8. Yes, the bridge north of the Hawthorne is of course the second Morrison Bridge built in 1905.

    As for the USS Oregon, I think you can just barely see it at its original home on east side of the Broadway Bridge. This site says it was moved to the Hawthorne Bridge site on Aug. 11, 1938.

    However, it appears in the photo above that the site isn’t even close to being ready and it was significantly altered with the creation of the “bowl” area where the ship was moored. So I don’t know, may be it’s early ’38 and they worked really fast to prepare the site??

  9. Mike, I remember they still had the sawdust pile in the 1950s, but the size varied. Maybe they re-stocked it in summer and used it up during the winter. I had my eye on it because in the late 1940s we lived in a house that had a sawdust-fueled furnace. The sawdust deliveries were a big deal to a 6-year old kid.

  10. Interesting that there was a mini rail yard occupying four blocks north and south from Main to Taylor in between 3rd and Union. You’d never know that now looking at it.

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