NE Union & Alberta, 1936

A great view looking north up NE Union Avenue at Alberta Street. Auto-related businesses, a theater, drugstore and fountain and a business school give this place and time a great neighborhood feeling. No lack of utility poles and overhead wires either.

A2005-001.667 NE Union Ave north from Alberta 1936(City of Portland Archives)

25 thoughts on “NE Union & Alberta, 1936

  1. In so many of these photos, we see that things really haven’t changed much in 75 years, but the change here is dramatic. Piedmont drug on the right is now a largely vacant plaza, car dealership, as pointed out above, is a giant empty lot. The streetcar lines are gone, as is the giant thicket of overhead wires..

  2. I’d forgotten about the Walnut Park Theater. It was still in operation in the ’60’s. There was also the Alberta Theater on about 17th and Alberta. I graduated from 8th grade at St. Andrews on 9th and Alberta. My niece just got hired to teach there. I think it’s called something else now.

  3. The Alberta theater has been reopened, I think it is now a live theater, it is on 30th and Alberta, it was used as a Church in the mid 80s

  4. Correction, I think the theater that is now called the Alberta Rose Theater on 0th and Alberta was actually called the Alameda theater back in the day!

  5. I’m pretty sure it was called the Alberta Theater. Alameda is quite a ways from 17th and Alberta. The one Dennis mentioned on 30th and Alberta is in Alameda and I think it must’ve been called Alameda Theater. The Alberta Theater became a church way back in the early 60’s. It was an Evangelical group and the nuns at St. Andrews told us we were not to go there!

  6. Correction Dennis, it was the 30th Ave. Theater. This was my old childhood neighborhood. I went all 8 years to Vernon and lived on 23rd and Alberta and remember the sights like it was yesterday.

  7. Larry,
    Isn’t it something how we remember so much from our childhood but can’t remember much from 10 years ago. Everything is new to children so, of course, we remember that time of our lives

  8. A very familiar area to me from 1940/s to 1950’s. Building on South East corner was my dentist office. Also was witness to the results of an Alberta Street Car, ran over a man, about 1943. Went to the Walnut Park theater for years, and just down the block or so Fred Meyers.

  9. Again, wow. And again, it is great to come on here and read the other comments – I learn so much. I was born in ’74 so I remember Union but obviously this area was way different when I came down here to visit my grandparents as a kid in the early 80s.

  10. Yet another great picture. I recall in the 50s and the 60s just to the north of this photo on the west side was Frank Chevrolet and a bit further at the intersection with Killingsworth was Walnut Park block dominated by a JC Penney store. Across the street on the northeast corner was a Rogers Variety store and of course on the southest corner Freddie’s complete with roof top parking.

    Just to the south of this photo on the west side was Rancho Rambler.

  11. When the Portland Motors moved out the place became an appliance store called Whiteman’s. Across Alberta going south on Union was the candy store where I pigged out on divinity. It was on the other side of Union from Whiteman’s. There was also a bowling alley and I don’t remember whether it was on Alberta or Killingsworth, but there was a miniature golf park just beyond Union heading west.

  12. This is a fantastic picture. This is what I grew up with for UNION ave. I went to google and had to remember that they changed the name. The blank lot says it all about how commerce and population moves around. Some day perhaps this area will get a better reputation and more businesses will come back and build up on that lot again.

  13. I grew up during the 70’s. My grandma and I would come up to Freddies weekly. There was some kind of restaurant we would visit if I was good. I think it was called “The Brown Derby”. It was on the same side of the road as Freddies. I loved the trips with her.

  14. So what is a ‘Safety Lane’? It shows painted on the street behind the speeding coupe on the right heading north. Aren’t all lanes suppose to involve safety? Maybe we could use some downtown today among all the tracks, especially for bikes. My shoulder will attest to that…

  15. The Silk Hat was at Sumner and Union. Chuck refers to a bowling
    alley on Union. The Portland Bowling Lanes were on the west side of Union , just north of Fremont. Run by Jack and Ivor Soleberg (sp?)

  16. the Walnut Park theatre and sign was still up when I moved here in ’87. nice little drugstore on the SE corner in this photo!

  17. I grew up just a couple blocks from here on Mallory & Wygant during the 90s and it’s incredible to see the effects of gentrification on the neighborhood. When I was growing up nearly 50 percent of the buildings and businesses were run down and there were crackheads and hookers on every corner. Now things are definitely changing for the best but I’ll never forget how bad the area became at one point.

  18. It still has the bad rep, Marshall. Probably not to those that go there often but for the diaspora like me it will take a longer time.

  19. To the right on Alberta St. just past the Drug Store was a barber shop where I got my hair cut in the 1940’s. Saturday afternoons at the Walnut Park for kids serials and cowboy movies. Just behind where the photographer is standing off to the left was a bowling alley where I learned to bowl.

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