SE Hawthorne Blvd., 1951

A 1951 view of SE Hawthorne Blvd. at SE 20th Avenue, looking west. The three buildings on the right side of Hawthorne are still standing.


 SE Hawthorne Blvd. and 20th Ave. looking west, 1951: A2005-001.301

SE Hawthorne Blvd. and 20th Ave. looking west, 1951: A2005-001.301


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21 thoughts on “SE Hawthorne Blvd., 1951

  1. So typical of many Eastside intersections. The probably 1920’s apartment building, single story corner building with the original house’s roof peaking out above, and it looks like a billboard in the front garden. Also a very good example of the over head power lines which were an awfull blight on much of Eastside Portland.

  2. For some reason, I have always loved that little “tweak” in the road on Hawthorne at 20th…something rather comforting…don’t know why, but even after all these years, it still makes me feel good! 🙂

  3. Hawthorne blv. use to be called Asylum way. Because on that street Oregons first Asylum was up the street.

  4. I remember it well, Sam’s Plaza Pharmacy and Durrie’s restaurant on the corner and the theater to the right out of the picture. Dr Hawthorne’s asylum mentioned above was down the street at Tenth rather than “up the street”.

  5. To the Editor: For years and years we who have been driven east and west on Hawthorne avenue have negotiated the slight “zig” in the street at the intersection of 20th avenue with reasonable dispatch and comparative safety, guided solely by a couple of yellow ribbon lanes painted on the pavement.

    The cost was low and the security sufficient. What a change has come about since the first of the year.

    The intersection is now strewn with concrete islands of various shapes resembling diamond- half-moon, crescent, triangle, kidney and teardrop, each island illuminated by one or more mushroom style light fixtures, signs to the right, signs to the left, signs hanging overhead or stuck in the sidewalk, saying “Don’t do this or don’t do that when such and such, etc., a sign with a bent arrow reading “To Elliott Street Only” – I presume those who live on Elliott street have found out by now the best way to get to Elliott street is to go around by way of Division street and sneak up on it from behind.

    Every available spot has some sort of gadget hanging on it on or stuck on it. Walk-wait, blinkity-blink, green and red, overhead, hanging from wires are a flock of flashing signals resembling ‘possums hanging by their tails.

    Truly a remarkable and gigantic transformation for such a little zig (or is it zag?) in the street. And, just to think, my humble little parking meter nickel helped to pay for all of this. Am I proud.

    I would suggest to Mr Fowler (or whoever one suggests to) that on each of these islands there be hung a couple of bird cages with singing canaries and then we can probably rename the intersection the “The Canary Islands”
    Walter Rogers
    5908 South East Madison Street.

    This is May 21st 1950, The Sunday Oregonian, page 67
    Mr Fowler is the city traffic engineer.
    Part of the change the writer references is the introduction of 3 color signals, introducing amber and having the signals suspended from overhead cables.

  6. A good deal of the power line blight in these earlier years can be put down to the electric buses as here on Hawthorne, and the trolleys.They required 16 feet of vertical clearance above the roadway minimum and in addition a large number of poles to support the overhead. This results in the need to go even higher to obtain right of way for phone and power lines. True then, true now. Then consider the vulnerability to the systems thus exposed. In much of the world these vulnerabilities have been mitigated by putting these systems underground but we can’t afford it we are told.
    I would also like to express my solidarity with Walter Rodgers and ask Mr. Fowler how would he like to negotiate these narrow lanes with a 53 foot long 102 inch wide grocery truck. Folks enjoy the convenience of their neighborhood supermarkets here in the future so what do you and your successors plan to do to ameliorate this chicane, I’ll look forward to your unhelpful response(s). Oh and buses are not going to get any smaller and folks seem to enjoy the bicycle a lot more here in the future so, plan accordingly.

  7. I love the street lights. It appears that even way back in the “old days” people understood that the light should be shining down, not all over. Our engineers could learn some lessons from back then.

  8. Love the Kraft billboard, though I despise cottage cheese. Interesting fact, though: Cottage cheese is an English delicacy created in the early 17th century by a chef who dreamt up the receipe after slipping in vomit on a pavement outside a public house.

  9. Speed sign is 23 MPH?

    They allowed a left turn from Hawthorne to SE Elliott. I think this is still a legal turn, but the drivers behind a turning car today don’t seem to think so.

  10. Just to the right in this picture would be “CineMagic” today. Does anybody know if that location was a theater during this time-frame? I ask because it doesn’t look (from its outside appearance) to have been built as such.

  11. Randy…you are indeed correct!

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  12. I used the 92nd & NE Thompson Halsey bus, then transferred downtown in front of the gated old Post Office, after having a snack at Newberry;s, or Kreses, then I would catch the Hawthorn bus and it would take me to 64th and Division. 2 blocks past the Dentler’s store on 62nd. My Grandma lived just down the street on 64th. It was a good neighborhood back then.

  13. Wallace…

    So…that’s why YOU’RE here…right?

    Hey…just sayin’…

    Oh…would you care to define what you meant by “lisp and all” ?

  14. Hmmm, the lower cafe foft S on my keyboard keepf appearing as the medieval style “f,” perhapf that’f what he’s talking about?

    Alfo, I have no doubt there are some gay folkf that work at PARC, but I ftill don’t fee what his point is. If he means that they affect the quality of this fite, by all meanf, hire more. They muft be doing fomething right.

    Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to find an online fix for thif damn S key.

  15. Adam…
    Sorry…I always forget the “troll” thing…however, by feeding those trolls, it’s the only way they’ll choke to death…on their own obnoxious and ill-mannered words and comments! I’ll try my best to restrain myself in the future! Thanks! 🙂

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