Front Street, c1910

Horse-drawn wagons were certainly the transportation of choice on Front Street in 1910; automobiles had not yet caught on in a big way. This view is south, probably at about Stark or Washington Street.

A2004-002.7738 Front Street 1910(City of Portland Archives)

20 thoughts on “Front Street, c1910

  1. This does indeed look like the intersection of Front and Washington. The building with the OWL sign on it was the Esmond Hotel, with the Jennings Furniture building just to the South across Morrison.

    You can even barely make out this prior VP gem North of the Hotel on the same block.

  2. To add to my previous post, the building from which this photo was taken was the old Dekum Building. Oldtimers might better remember it as Gadsby’s Furniture Company. This building predates the later Dekum Block two blocks up on Third and Washington.

  3. Looks like a west side version of Produce Row. Almost all the wagons are canvas sided, as most produce wagons were.

  4. Correction to my second comment. After posting my comment, I checked my copy of William Hawkins’ Grand Era of Cast Iron Design and found that this photo was likely taken from Stuart House. The old Dekum Block was on First and Washington.

    Sorry for the confusion.

  5. It seems unusual for the year 1910 to not see even one motorized vehicle in such an expansive view. Might it not be a few years earlier? Other 1905 photos of Portland usually have a motor car in them.

  6. Something I’ve never thought about…where did all the horses (required for people to get around and goods to get around) actually LIVE? (I realize there were streetcars, too.) Did a lot of people own their own horses?

  7. Jack Rescoe is correct I believe. The scene dates from the mid 1890’s most likely. Any date forward from 1892 is possible, The deck roofed trolley in the distance is a clue as it is based on a horse car design. Also the lack of track work in the cross street tells us this is a very early view. Doe’s not detract from a great view in anyway though.

  8. Caryn. most of the horses on the west sides were boarded in livery stables.Some of them were in Marquam Gulch. The recently Ladd Carriage House was an example of where you put your horses, carriages and your drivers if you were wealthy.

  9. Seeing the “Calef Bros.” delivery wagon in the foreground got me thinking more about the likely date of the photo. A search of the Oregonian Historical Archive produced an article from 16 Feb 1902, noting that a new furniture store named Calef Bros. would open for business on 17 Feb 1902. The brothers were native Oregonians H.A. and M.H. Calef. So, I guess the photo could date from 1902 to 1910 or even a bit later?

  10. There is a vehicle that looks to me like it might be an early motorcar, parked on the west side of the street, beyond the Calef Bros. wagon.

  11. This photo was most likely taken before 1890 or shortly thereafter.

    Dore & Cook ceased doing business under that name in 1890.

    In 1890, “The American Bookseller” reports under “Business Changes”:

    “Portland, Ore: Dore & Cook printers. Succeeded by Harry E. Dore”

    It’s likely the signage would have remained for long after the partnership dissolved.

  12. There is an automobile in the picture. Its half way down the street parked at the right hand curb. It appears to be a coupe of some sort. Hard to guess at the vintage but I would think from the teens.

  13. I question 1910 as a reasonable date for this photo. The famous 1906 film of San Francisco shows plenty of automobiles bouncing back and forth across the street car’s rails.

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