St Johns Bridge Construction, c1930

East side approach ramp construction was underway in this circa 1930 photo of the St. Johns Bridge. Cabling and main bridge decking had not yet started. The old St. Johns City Hall building on the left was covered with ivy and a fountain once flowed in the street.

A2009-009.863 St Johns Bridge construction south from N Burlington c1930(City of Portland Archives)

9 thoughts on “St Johns Bridge Construction, c1930

  1. The City hall history is very interesting, I wonder just how the architect W. W. Goodrich died? seems a little questionable

  2. 1907 Oregonian obituary says he died after 2 months of heart trouble. But I did find the following article, too, from Oregonian March 9th 1905. Sorry to all in advance for posting this up here because it is long and off-topic, but fascinating…

    Captain W. W. Goodrich One of the Survivors.
    Captains Creager and Hemphill Will Come to Portland This Summer —Today Is Forty-Third Anniversary of Naval Battle.

    Captain W. W. Goodrich, of the firm of Goodrich & Goodrich, architects, of Portland, is one of the three survivors of the gallant crow of 37 men that fought on the Monitor in its great naval battle with the Merrimac. The others are Captain Creager, now sailing the Proteus out of New York, and Captain Hemphill, now in command of the Kearsarge. These two men have arranged to attend the Lewis and Clark Exposition this Summer and Captain Goodrich is awaiting their visit with a great deal of anticipation. They will hold a small, but nevertheless one of the most eventful and interesting reunions ever held as a result of the Civil War.

    “Forty-three years ago tomorrow,” said Captain Goodrich yesterday afternoon, “I was aboard the Monitor in the famous engagement with the Merrimac. I still carry with me marks of that famous fight,” continued Mr. Goodrich, holding out his right hand, which was slightly disfigured from bones being broken. “The drum of my right ear was also ruined by the terrible concussions of the two 11-inch smooth-bores carried by the Monitor.

    “As everybody knows,” went on Mr. Goodrich, “John Ericsson was the designer of the Monitor. The money for the building of the ship was furnished by Charles E. Bushnell and as I was employed by them as a marine architect, I laid the Monitor down and superintended her construction. At the time of the engagement of the two ironclads, the Monitor belonged to Ericsson and Bushnell, although it was afterwards purchased by the Government.

    Ridiculed by the Populace.
    From the very first the vessel was ridiculed by the populace and even the Government experts. The vessel was built with the understanding that if it proved successful it would be purchased by the Government. President Lincoln gave Ericsson and Bushnell his word to this effect. The boat was launched in New York amid hisses and sneers. Everyone believed it would sink when launched and were greatly surprised when it righted. “The vessel was manned by Lieutenant Worden and 38 men of the United States Navy. I went along with the vessel as a representative of Ericsson and Bushnell, but was given an appointment as acting ensign. When we left New York harbor there were three dead negroes hanging to a lamp post. The mob assembled, composed of sympathizers of the South, threw rotten eggs and jeered at us. Several men even went so far as to try to tear down one of the dead negroes and throw him upon the boat. We left, however, before they could get the noose from off the negro’s neck.

    “After we left the capes of the Delaware we encountered a West Indian hurricane. Three times our fires were put out by waves pouring over the smoke-stack. Several times one of the men and myself were obliged to go out on the deck and hold a mattress over the stack so that they could get up steam in the boiler.

    “We arrived in Chesapeake Bay March 8, after four days of the hurricane. We got there early in the morning. As we were crossing the harbor we saw the old frigate Congress blow up. That was our first intimation that the Merrimac had gotten in her work. We dropped our anchor and reported to the commanding officers of the Minnesota. The sailors on that ship made great fun of the Monitor, calling her the ‘cheese box.’ At about six bells that morning we were ordered out, as the Merrimac was seen coming down tile Elizabeth River. We circled around and around our giant antagonist and at 8 bells the first shot was fired. The great battle between ironclads was on. This fight made the navies of the world obsolete and useless.

    Terrific Naval Duel.
    Our shots would strike the Merrimac’s sides rather high. Several of the Confederate crew afterwards told me that each shot made kindling wood of tile backing under the Merrimac’s plating. The impact from the 8-inch gun rifle of the Merrimac on the Monitor’s turret was awful, and the concussion of our 11-inch smooth-bores was indescribable. Seven or eight of our crew were rendered deaf.

    “I remember one man who was backed up against the inside wall of the turret when the impact of a solid shot threw him over both guns and down the ammunition hatch to the lower deck. The Merrimac rammed us several times, expecting us to turn bottom up, but the Monitor always remained righted or else I would not be here to tell thin story. At times the ships were so close to each other that we could hear the men on the Merrimac swearing. One time one of our 11-inch shells struck the muzzle of one of the 8-inch rifles on the Merrimac. The force of the shot was so great that it forced the rifle of the Merrimac clear across her deck against the other side. It killed six men and wounded a number of others.

    “Once we were abeam and our guns less than four feet from muzzle to muzzle. So terrific was the duel that it sounded like a continuous roar of a line of battleships. The fight, which began at 8 bells or 8 o’clock Sunday morning, lasted until 11:30 of the same morning. At 11:45 the Merrimac was in full retreat as she was leaking in a number of places, while the Monitor was practically uninjured. Several weeks after this memorable sea fight the crew of the Merrimac blew her up, as Norfolk had been taken and the ironclad had no base of supplies.

    Lincoln Gives Hearty Thanks.
    “Immediately after the fight I accompanied Lieutenant Worden to Washington to see the President. The Lieutenant had lost one eye and the other ore was in a dangerous condition. From the depot at Washington we were hauled in a carriage by a mob of people almost to the White House. The horses had been unhitched. When we met President Lincoln he first walked over to the Lieutenant, put his arms about him and thanked him. He then walked over to where I was standing and embraced me with these words: ‘I thank you, too, Goodrich, and all the brave boys of the Monitor. If you had lost that fight, the jig would have been up. We afterwards dined with the President, who carved Lieutenant Worden’s meat, as the latter, unable to see, was almost helpless.”

  3. According to on-line records that I’ve found, there is no listing of a Goodrich among members of the crew of the Monitor. Goodrich’s recounting of meeting President Lincoln has some merit as Lt. Worden did suffer temporary blindness as a result of wounds received while serving aboard the Monitor (he later fully recovered his sight), but it does seem *somewhat* embellished. However, there is also the possibility that he was familiar with the upper echelon of Monitor officers based on news and print accounts of the battles.

  4. Jim: I could not find any corroborating info either. I did find a similar story from an Alban. C. Stimers,

    who apparently was an engineer overseeing the construction of the ship, and remained onboard during the the battle with the Virginia (Merrimac).

    So, why would the Chief Engineer of the city of St Johns roll such a tall tale out in the paper, only to have if not be supported in his later obituary, or by any other source? Who knows…

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