Ross Island Bridge, 1926

Just an absolutely brilliant photo of the Ross Island Bridge under construction. The view is to the northeast as the main span girders are joined in the middle. Although it’s mystifyingly dated 1937 on the front, this is almost certainly 1926, as the bridge opened in December of that year. 

A2004-002.6387 Ross Island bridge 1926(City of Portland Archives)

10 thoughts on “Ross Island Bridge, 1926

  1. A great shot of the Ross Island Bridge under construction. And that Portland was still very much a working port and town by the river traffic, endless east side docks and the adjacent manufacturing and transshipment facilities. Would like find out the name of the twin stack steamboat, looks like dredge to me..

  2. I say dredge also. Notice what seems to be a pipe suspended upon pontoons leading from the rear of the vessel. This is how some dredging is still done today.

    Btw, the guy without a harness..
    Safety sure not what it is today.
    During those times up until about 1950s or so, most every construction or machine shop crew looked like the cast of a Pirate film. There was always guys missing fingers, limb, an eye and so on.

  3. Damn right they were. I worked industrial construction for a while, I was a rebar ironworker, one who tied and installed the reinforcing iron for concrete once the steel framework was erected. It was amazing to watch an ironworker climb a 20 or 30 foot vertical I beam without any aids and sit on top waiting for the horizontal beams to be craned into place so he could bolt them together. It is a different world and takes a very different type of person to do this kind of work. It is not a job for the 99% of the population who are nowadays nannysitters. I wouldn’t do it but I would not encumber a person who knew how to do his job with endless safety regulations which actuality make the job less safe.
    Karen, as far as industrial safety it was accepted that you were going to have a few injuries. I still have everything I as born with but have had serious injuries to every finger on my hand, three of them working in a supposedly safe restaurant industry. Came within 20 mins of loosing my right leg in a factory accident almost 35 years ago. But in those days we were getting paid more than most college graduates and had great benefits. When the plant shut down I went from paying over 1\3 rd of my income in taxes to not paying taxes for the rest of my working life. Great thing Reaganomics. Today the Chinese produce the items I and 4-50 million Americans used to produce at our jobs. Bitter, you’re damn right I am. I am afraid that by time my grandchildren are my age the US will be a province of China.

  4. There were three ship building companies on the west side of the river between Sheridan and Gibbs Streets during World War I. The bottom left of this photo looks like a set of barges tied up at what would have been Coast Ship Building Company, which was between Woods and Gibbs Streets. This is shown on a map I found at Harvard Library “Industrial Portland 1920.” I agree that the vessel is a dredge; looks like a stern wheeler. There are two barges in front of the dredge in the photo, one of them has “Port of Portland” on it’s side.

  5. I remember a widening of the traffic lanes by making the sidewalks narrower probably in the 50s. It appeared they removed about a foot from each sidewalk which would have added about six inches to each lane.

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