20 thoughts on “SW Barbur Blvd & Bancroft, 1953

  1. Wow, what a sad change. That horrible de facto parking lot is really hard to look at. If this is your home, I’m sorry to be so critical. I’m sure it’s lovely on the inside.🙂

  2. What a change is right : (
    The bend in the road looks the same, but everything else very generic and ugly now.
    When I look at Google Maps to see today’s view, I find myself travelling up and down the road to see what is around it. Then when I go back to the vintage photo, I find myself trying to do the same thing. How I wish that it worked that way! Every photo leaves me curious to see and know more. I do love this web site; Thank you SO much for it!

  3. I used to spend quite a bit of my lunch breaks walking and running around in that area and I always thought it had a decent mix of old and new honestly. Maybe the fact that Barbur is a pretty major roadway reminds me of the street I grew up on in Southern CA or something.

    One thing I always wonder though when a house has been replaced by an apartment is where are all those people supposed to live if the house was still there? There’s a a fair amount of mourning the loss of these (admittedly awesome-looking) old houses but at the same time there’s a lot of scorn for suburban sprawl and new growth in Portland. The population is going to keep growing so where is everybody supposed to go?

  4. I forgot to mention that on the other hand I do agree that particular parking lot could really use some sprucing up.

  5. This my ‘hood and the worst blight in my estimation is the former home of Cook Paging on the east side of Barbur. The combination of fake Mansard and prickly antennae is hard to stomach….

  6. Dave, the city used the kerosene lamps until the 70’s for A frame barricade lighting. Some older technologies died hard.

  7. The house that I own, live in, and really treasure is just beyond the frame of this picture. It was built in the teens, then modified by the families that lived there in the 50s and 80s. In the late 30s, they built another house on the lot. It burnt down or was removed in the early 40s.

    I love the transitions this neighborhood has made (including the weird 60s era captured by Penny Anderson in “Property” http://www.talltalestruetales.com/2011/01/property-1978-field-workjan-16-200-pm/ -shout out to Walt Curtis and Gus Van Sant- but I ain’t sentimental about what is gone. This neighborhood as it is and as it will be — with the input of those who live here — is a delight.

  8. This is the old highway to get across town, a few years later we would look down on I-5 being built and could not wait for it to open because Barbur was often like driving in a parking lot.

    Kevin, sprawl is just people choosing to have a home with a yard and maybe a garden or more. Like most of Portland was, in this photo.

  9. And now driving on the 5 is often like a parking lot! Heh, sorry, couldn’t resist.

    And there’s wanting to have a yard or a garden and then there’s places like Tucson where huuuge tracts of houses that all look the same stretch out for miles and miles and miles into the desert.

    I just find it interesting how the two seemingly opposing sentiments are both pretty active in the Portland area in general and thought I’d comment on it since the earlier post got me thinking. I wasn’t criticizing anyone around here or anything.

  10. When I was a kid in Wisconsin in the 1960s, the old black, round steel smudge pots were the preferred warning light around construction sites. Dietz and Toledo were apparently big names in smudge pots.

  11. We had those also in Portland and other parts of Oregon. I had almost forgotten about them until you mentioned them.

  12. I found some smudge pots at a estate sale had to buy them, just for nostalgia.

    Kevin, my only point was, it just depends where you choose to live and how that affects your perspective, of where others live.

  13. I understand, sorry if I misinterpreted. I was just saying there’s probably a difference between “sprawl” like what you were saying and spwraaal like what you see in some other places with huge tracts of housing.

  14. I just wanted to add that I had no idea what smudge pots were before reading Dan’s comment so I had to go look them up. Thanks for a bit of a history lesson!

    And, here’s a photo of them being used as construction warning lights.

  15. One reason the kerosene lamps went out of use was that kerosene became UN-available in bulk in the northwest. Real kerosine that is. Jet-A was substituted by the refiners and sold as kerosine. However if the buyer insisted on written warranty suddenly there was no kerosine available. Big problem if you try to substitute Jet-A for some applications such as lamps or Kero-Sun heaters. True you could by kerosine by the gallon at the local hardware but not practical for the bulk user. Things you learn in the tank truck business.

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