Union Block, Part 2, 1955

Yesterday’s post showed the intact Union Block in 1955 shortly before its demolition. Today’s photo is the same corner, SW 2nd and Stark, during demolition. Not much remains of the staid old building. Here a pedestrian walks past the cast-iron-fronted corner entrance.

union block 9797 1955(University of Oregon Libraries)

9 thoughts on “Union Block, Part 2, 1955

  1. All of the mid-1950s and later color transparencies of Portland buildings credited to the University of Oregon Libraries were taken by UofO architecture professor Marion Dean Ross. He deserves a shout-out, if not a credit line. I believe he is listed as the creator of all said images in the catalog entries at oregondigital.org.

  2. Notice the old Fire Call box, they were all over town before the phone service was common, there was one up on N W Cornell by Westover road too

  3. The wall to the left of the debris pile was the south side of Cook’s Block. The building survived another 10 years but was eventually demolished in 1965. The Union Block wrapped around Cook’s Block which had similar cast iron elements, window placement and styles. Except for the fact that the bricks of the Union Block were stuccoed over while the Cook’s Block bricks were left bare, the two buildings presented a relatively uniform facade on Second Avenue.

    If you do a Google image search for “Cook’s Block” Portland, the first image takes you to the Portland Architecture website which has a beautiful picture and a bit more info on the building as well as some other lost treasures.

    Another wrap-around cast-iron building was the Dekum & Reed Block, which wrapped around the extant Packer-Scott building near the Skidmore fountain.

  4. How progressive of us . . . we nearly obliterated what little cast iron architecture we had all in the name of growth . . . shameful

  5. In addition to giving praise to Marion Dean Ross for capturing and preserving the images of these fine old buildings, we should also extend a debt of gratitude to Eric Ladd for saving and preserving the actual cast iron features of many of these lost treasures. He was also instrumental in saving whole structures that had been slated for the wrecking ball.

    And of course, many thanks to today’s preservationists and Portland history enthusiasts. I’m looking at you, Dan.

  6. bill:

    That feeling still exists today. Think of O’Bryant Square (aka Paranoia Park) in downtown Portland. When it was built it won an award for forward-thinking design. But then a homeless shelter and runaway teen shelter got built across the street and the park filled up with tramps, bag ladies, teens high on IV drugs and punk rockers. The fountain broke down and rats started living in the bushes. Now days it looks like a rundown, slightly dangerous example of what people thought was futuristic in the 1970s. The city of Portland has been thinking about what to do with it, including getting rid of it. That’s the way the Union Block looked in the 1950s.

  7. weird how there were no fences or anything to keep people from walking right into the rubble, or possibly having something fall on them as they walk by.

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