29 thoughts on “Help Us Out, 1962

  1. Also, this street comes to a T with another—there aren’t too many in the Albina area that do that. I looked around on Google Maps couldn’t find a house quite like that. Of course, it may not still be standing, but most of the ones I looked at had houses that pre-dated the 1960s. But also… this street could’ve been destroyed during the Emanuel expansion. Or the construction of i5? Although, by 1962, it probably would’ve already been razed to make way for the freeway but maybe not.

  2. No driveway cuts are visible so there must be alleyways behind the houses. The house at the end of the street is easy enough to make out. Almost looks like N Commercial St. looking south from Beech to Fremont: http://goo.gl/maps/Uayo6. Doesn’t seem quite right from everything else though.

  3. Brian, I think you’re right. It’s Commercial looking towards Fremont. The house at the end of the street in this street view matches the house in the photo. It difficult to see if the other houses match because of all the foliage.

  4. two cents worth before reading previous replies: in the early to mid 60s, near Emanuel; close to Vancouver Avenue and Fremont street; grew up in the area and this is certainly familiar territory. All the comments are “right” !

  5. at first glance, i agree with Brian, based on driveway/alley observations, and the house at the south end of N Commercial fronting onto Fremont looks right. But like he said, I can’t find anything else that places it there with certainty. And I should really get back to work…

  6. Very strange — I agree with (other) Brian and Jim that the house and the end of Commercial looks identical, however, I can’t match a single current house along Commercial to it’s place in the old photo.

    The photo definitely shows a cross street — if you enlarge it you can see the street sign on the right side, right next to the only house not facing the street (white, 6th house down on the right, clearly facing the cross street). If this were indeed Commercial that would be Beech and the house on that corner today was built in 1971 so no help there. However, the several houses around it today are all old enough to be in the photo but not a single one comes close to matching (not even close enough for any kind of remodeling). There’s just no way to make the visible houses match, even though the one at the end of the “T” seems a perfect match.

    Also to Jim’s point on the foliage, if you count the number of houses (I can count at least 11 or 12 going down the right side before they become too hard to distinguish and at at that point we’re still not even to the end of the block so there are obviously more than that) then that would put the vantage point well north of Beech, probably very close to Failing, as (other) Brian suggests. That section of Commercial between Beech and Failing doesn’t have too much foliage to see the houses and none of them match.

    So in short, I agree that the house at the end across the “T” looks an exact fit, but nothing else matches so it doesn’t seem like it could be Commercial, but it’s very confusing (I mean, how may T-streets can there be with an exact match?).

  7. It seems like it might be a little far, but do you think that this could maybe be taken a whole three blocks up, on the stretch of road that was “deleted” as part of the construction of Unthank Park a few years later?

    I *think* that I’ve seen photos of that block just before its demolition, but I can’t seem to find them at the moment to have a glance to see if things line up.

  8. Looking at the 1944 Pittmon map, Commercial street used to continue north. Looking at the existing house on the SW corner of Commercial and Failing, it is the same as the 7th house down the street on the right of the photo. According to Portland maps, it was built in 1900.

  9. Yeah, it’s a little hard to tell from the Sanborn maps, but, at least the porch outlines on that now-gone block of Commercial seem to line up reasonably well.

    If you’re curious, you can double-check it, too, by looking at “Portland 1908-Dec.1950 vol.5,1924-Aug.1950, Sheet 575” (https://www.dropbox.com/s/8jgooqirircuoho/Screenshot%202015-01-15%2011.35.26.png?dl=0) and “Portland 1908-Dec.1950 vol.5,1924-Aug.1950, Sheet 591” (https://www.dropbox.com/s/n79ux6vwbc994oe/Screenshot%202015-01-15%2011.34.50.png?dl=0); that volume is available online via multcolib.org.

  10. The way it looks to me is that the end of the street is more of a jog, than a T. The closest I could get to that is NE Stanton St looking towards 7th. There are new apartments on the street, but I don’t feel any of the other houses match. Any other “jogs” that can be picked out?

  11. Adam Coddington nailed it. That explains everything.

    The house on the corner in the photo (the one across from the white house 6 down the right side — i.e. the house 7 down on the right side) is a perfect match to the one on the corner of Failing and Commercial. The giveaways are the 45 degree corner window, the single post on the porch (which is like a half-porch cut into the front of the house) AND if you look closely at the photo, the roof line, just where is disappears behind the white house has a vertical line (that almost lines up with the house behind it). Looking at the street view today that is where the roof changes pitch on the back half of the house to allow for upstairs windows. You can also add matching details like the windows upstairs and the “wrap around” roof edge at the front corners of the house.

    Also, though they are hard to make out, the next house down has a covered porch, and the next house beyond that has a significant staircase from the porch directly to the sidewalk, exactly like the 3rd house in from Failing has today with it’s steep 8-stairs directly off the sidewalk.

    Combine that with the exact match at the end of the street and that is far too many matching details to be anywhere else. Also, it probably explains the photo. The city often document properties that were being taken and with the construction of a park, which I didn’t know was new, it all makes sense now.

  12. And… I hadn’t even looked at Adam’s Sanborn link yet when I wrote the above post, but that row of eight houses going south along the west side of Commercial between Failing and Beech all match EXACTLY the lot placement and shape of house (right down to bay windows, and the “half porch” thing on the corner house) EXCEPT for house 4 (built in 1980) and house 8 (built in 1971).

    That’s a lock — this is looking south down N. Commercial from the corner of N Shaver through what today is a park. The seventh house down is on the corner of Failing and Commercial.

    The depth of field of some of those older black and which photos is amazing and has thrown me off more than once, but if you really look you’ll see there’s another cross street way down beyond the first one. It is hard to see, but there’s a crown on the road at the intersection — it’s beyond the huge tree, but before that last group of 3 cars on the right and there’s a utility pole on the corner — that’s Beech (also, note how the farthest car and 2nd farthest are partially hidden by the crown of Beech street — that also helps throw off the depth perception; there’s a lot more of Commercial street there but it’s hidden beyond the crown at Beech street.

  13. you folks rock.
    Here’s some other interesting bits: destruction of the houses started approx 1966, and the park was built with complex playground structures

  14. I agree with George Deutsch about the cars…I’ll take the ’60 Plymouth Fury convertible…skirts and all!

    Oh…John Hitzfeld…as far as who’s sittin’ in the ’57 Chevrolet…looks like a 2 dr 210 sedan…a fleet car…so…maybe a salesperson…Avon Calling? Fuller Brushmen were usually men and vacuum cleaner salesmen usually had 4 dr models or wagons…but whoever she is, she looks a bit tired and a little frazzled…probably a slow sales day perhaps?

  15. The lady in the car is the photographer’s partner. They’ve been all over town by this time taking photos. Very tiring.

  16. I’d love that ’59 Impala. The most expensive car in the photo today. I still have trouble picturing if we are looking through the middle of Unthank Park or if this is one of the boundary streets of the Park.

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