South Portland Aerial, c1938

A fantastic aerial photo from circa 1938 showing old South Portland, from today’s Riverplace area and PSU campus through Duniway Park and the Veteran’s Hospital in the distance. The large industrial complex at lower center is the old Smith & Watson Iron Works, makers of cast iron architectural pieces for many of Portland’s early commercial buildings, as well as fire hydrants that can be found today.

A2010-001.93 Aerial of SW Portland c1938(City of Portland Archives)

7 thoughts on “South Portland Aerial, c1938

  1. Thank you Rolf. Those links were just what I needed to orient myself. So much has changed in this area that I barely recognize the ones that are the same.

  2. Gives a good view of the massive amount of fill and grade that was involved in the obliteration of Marquam Creek Gulch, from Terwilliger Blvd east to Duniway Park and SW Arthur. Decades of garbage, scrap lumber, and Joseph Buchtel’s glass plate negatives underneath there!

  3. i’ve been really obsessed with Coolidge Sq lately and this gives a great view of it! Piggot’s Castle almost looks alone up above it! Thanks.

  4. Upper Broadway Dr. was consider “in the country” back then. Easy to see why. Great photo. Thanks for posting.

  5. I’m pretty sure that the grouping of larger industrial buildings in the lower third of the photo, with the row of light-colored skylights visible, were from the Smith & Watson Iron works, established in the 1860s on Front St in this area. This firm used the old state penitentiary (1850s-1866) as its main building.

  6. Ooops. Skimmed over the caption. On the upside, I independently verified those buildings were Smith & Watson. I photographed the two-building complex visible just across Front St in about 1977.

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