SW 6th Avenue, 1914

Wood frame buildings were still common on SW 6th Avenue in 1914. The street looked like an entertainment area of sorts with many bars, pool halls, theaters and restaurants. The new and elegant 12-story Wilcox Building, at left at the intersection with Washington Street, was a sign of a growing city. This view is south from Stark Street.

A2004-002.1162 SW 6th Ave 1914(City of Portland Archives)

19 thoughts on “SW 6th Avenue, 1914

  1. On the right side of the street we see the Oregonian Building, the Selling Building,the American Bank Building (? – is that the building that replaced the Marquam Grand?), and part of the Portland Hotel. Past the Wilcox, I think we see the first stage of the Meier & Frank building?

  2. “Rong Kong”
    “Merchants Lunch”
    “Chop Suey – Noodles”


    Two theaters and possibly three bars, along with two pool halls; all within the one block. Business in the financial district in those days must have been very interesting.

  3. How cool is the Pale Bohemian Pool hall? The detail is just incredible. Curious as to the sign on the left side of the street just behind the POOL sign … something Metro. Such a great image.

  4. Yes. The one cyclist I see is taking not just the lane, but the street.

    I wonder if this stretch was the designated entertainment district.

  5. Bingo Mike D., no painted lines… if people could think for themselves and others now, like they could back then, think of the money that could be saved from not buying paint. :o)

  6. If you look close below that Bull Durham sign you’ll see a Foster Kleiser logo a very old Portland company ( 1901) which got it’s start in Portland later became Clear Channel

  7. Are you serious Mike? Yes maybe Trimet didn’t exist in 1914 but the vast majority of the population relied on public transportation in the form of streetcars, and there were far more tracks through downtown than there are now. There were rails for streetcars or interurban trains on Front, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, Broadway, 10th, 11th and 13th.

  8. To add to Eric’s comments, I wanted to point out that at the time they were installed, many of these old transit lines were owned by different companies which received franchises from the City of Portland. Usually the franchises were granted depending on which major investor or owner was in office or held the most sway with office holders at the time.

    If I’m not mistaken, I believe there was no transfer system. If you needed to take two or three different streetcars to reach your destination and each line was owned by a different entity, you had to pay three times.

    Ah, the magic of the gilded age.

  9. To be fair, by the time this photo was taken, most of the streetcar lines had been consolidated and Portland had entered its “age of enlightenment” when it was no longer primarily a government of the plutocrats, by the plutocrats and for the plutocrats.

  10. Wow, Mike. Way to completely go off-topic just to gripe about Tri-Met and cyclists. Do you by any chance go by “Tombdragon” on Oregon Live? You sure have his tone: gripe, gripe, gripe.

  11. Mike: The days of yore are indeed missed dearly… times when one could think for themselves, unless you were poor, a minority or a woman, of course. Pollution, segregation, sweat shops, rampant disease, effective corporate tax rate at 1% and essentially no traffic laws . Oh, them good ol’ days where freedom was free!

  12. If you go to You Tube and search for “1930’s Car Dashcam / Rumble Seat Cam” there is a remarkable video of traffic on Wilshire Boulevard before the advent of traffic lanes or center lines. It was a free-for-all. More or less like driving in Athens today.

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