W Burnside & N Broadway, 1933

Automobile shops ruled the corner of West Burnside at Broadway in 1933. In fact automobiles were big business up and down Burnside at this time. This building is on the northwest corner; you can see a few trees in the North Park Blocks to the left.

W Burnside and N Broadway 1933(City of Portland Archives)

10 thoughts on “W Burnside & N Broadway, 1933

  1. Here’s a page on historical traffic signals with an example of that kind of sign, which was used in Long Beach, the “banjo” model it was called. Two years after this photo signals in the US became standardized, so motorists criss crossing the country wouldn’t have to deal with a plethora of devices. I thought this was a pedestrian signal at first, there sure were a lot of different designs for these. Photos from this era show different types of signal around town, I believe. Some were manually operated. Some you could change by honking your horn!

  2. I believe this photo date is wrong. Much closer to 1923 I’d say. Lot going on here in this wonderful picture non the less. Really can’t believe the electrical service dangling down to that period piece traffic signal would have been tolerated as late as 1933 for starters .

  3. The sign that advertises $50.00 cars caught my eye. I have bought a few at that price in my younger years. Of course with 1933 being the depths of the Great Depression, $50.00 was a lot of money. I also noticed the pick up with a convertible top. Also looking at the cars parked on the street, the automobile tops shop on the back of the building should have some customers..

  4. I was trying to figure out by the looks of the cars what year and found that the cars all look pretty much the same for both years. But there is something to it may be the earlier date mentioned buy Rod Taylor. The fenders on the front wheels of the cars is the givaway for that. My guess is earlier than 1933

  5. Tried posting twice to no effect. Let’s try it without the link:

    An earlier VP post shows the same block photographed from 8th Avenue. It is dated 1928, but the words “all script[sic] accepted” on the gas station sign indicates a date during the Great Depression. Scrip is an alternative to legal tender that many local governments issued to their employees at the height of the Depression.

    In addition, considering both photos come from the Portland City Archives, it can be argued that they are city photo-documentation of Burnside in preparation for the 1933 street widening project.

  6. It’s the cobblestones that impress me the most. A jarring ride in those cars, with those tires, on that street! No wonder there were a number of dentists doing business in the same area!

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