Portland Waterfront, 1935

This aerial from 1935, gives us a great view of the ships arriving at the Portland waterfront for the rose festival. In this image we see the old (second) Morrison Bridge, the Burnside Bridge, and the Steel Bridge. This is a wonderful example of what the waterfront once looked like before the waterfront park existed.


Aerial view of ships arriving for the Rose Festival in downtown Portland, 1935 : A2005-005.1396.3

Aerial view of ships arriving for the Rose Festival in downtown Portland, 1935 : A2005-005.1396.3


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14 thoughts on “Portland Waterfront, 1935

  1. Is the USS Oregon one of the ships in the picture? wasn’t it tied along the seawall after it was decommissioned and before WWII when it was sent to be scrap for the war effort?

  2. I’m probably wrong, but the inboard ship by the Burnside Bridge appears to be a Northampton or Pensacola-class heavy cruiser; the ship just upstream from it may be a Portland-class cruiser. No idea about the light cruiser in foreground or the large outboard ship. Any Navy guys in the audience? I found nothing in the Oregonian archives with Fleet Week or Rose festival ship listings so far.

  3. That’s one of three Fire boats leading the way. It could be the last of the old boats
    Portland Fire Boat David Campbell.

  4. Per my search of Oregonian archives for 1935 at Rose Festival time, the only naval vessel that arrived for the celebrations was the Coast Guard cutter Onondaga, based at Astoria. The organizers invited other ships to make a port call, but the US Navy had to decline since the only available ships were on maneuvers in the N. Pacific and could not be detached from the flotilla. The date of the photo may be wrong. For example, in 1933 four naval ships visited for the festival: the USS Greer, Tarbell, Yarnell, and Upshur. There appears to be 5 ships in the photo. Other years in the 30’s also featured slim USN representation at the Festival.

  5. I am with Richard on this one. No fleet week in 1935. There was a big effort to get Portland a Fleet Week. The first one was held Aug 3 to Aug 8th, 1936. The ships were arriving on Aug 2, a Sunday. There is a good chance this photo was taken on Aug 2nd. it was planned to have as many as 21 vessels and 6,700 sailors. This was a really big event with a lot of advance articles in the Oregonian. Some of the ships in the photo might be the Houston, Chicago, Detroit, Chester. The most popular one was the cruiser USS Houston, which should be the ship just north of the Morrison bridge.

  6. “Eighteen naval vessels coming here to participate in Portland’s first annual fleet week, August 3 to 9”
    June 4th 1936, Oregonian, page 2, Page 7 too

  7. I’m reasonably sure that is not the Chester in front, but there is a good chance the Chicago and Houston are moored side-by-side. One of the problems with IDing warships from this era is that the masts and superstructures changed through the years, so two ships of the same class could look entirely different. Also, that is not a destroyer north of the Burnside, so if this is the first Fleet Week, either the party has ended or ships have yet to arrive.

    Did ships-of-the-line routinely moor here, or would this many arrive only for a special event?

  8. such a great photo. While we have lost a great deal of these wonderful old buildings in this photo, we certainly have made improvements along the waterfront on both sides of the river. I love seeing the really old photos of Portland with the river downtown being a hub of industry, but by the 1930’s it was quite a mess of derelict buildings and streets. At least now we can enjoy the river and the industry is further north.

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