19 thoughts on “SW 1st Avenue, 1959

  1. The image here doesn’t quite show 1st street, but you can see part of the Portland State campus and how buildings were being torn down to make way for the freeway.

  2. Possibly a ’52 Studebaker Champion? I’d take it!

    HSKP ROOMS…Oh…that’s right…Housekeeping Rooms!
    I haven’t seen that kind of a sign in years and years…and years!

  3. Can anyone read the name of the hotel? I can read ‘BOU… and thjen HOTEL.” It seems odd that some letters of the sign appears to be missing for a window.

  4. The enclosed balcony with three windows provided light from, and views in three directions. Some newly built, small apartments have one window on a flat wall.

  5. It is a 1952 Studebaker Commander V8. You can see the V8 insignia on the center of the crest of the trunk lid.

  6. The name on the building is the “Southern Hotel.” It was built in 1891, had about 65 rooms, and supposedly hosted one of Portland’s first theaters. It was substantially renovated and replumbed in 1948 and leased to new hotel managers by owners Harry and Bessie Breall. The hotel and surrounding structures (some abandoned) were damaged by fire in April 1959; they were never repaired (judging also from this photo from 1960) since they were slated for urban renewal demolition. The correct street address of the hotel was 2517.

  7. jonxwood:

    I was thinking the same thing…BOU…but then, the next letter looks like a possible “T”, so…instead of BOU…maybe SOUT…so maybe SOUTHERN HOTEL? Also…with all the overhead cables, lines and wiring in the way, it could very well be an “S” instead of a “B”…

    Not that it makes any more sense, but the “black” arches almost look as if they were “cut-n-pasted” onto the photograph at one time, and by playing around a bit, it almost looks like there’s part of an “E” and an “R” under the larger middle arch…or maybe I just want there to be an “E” and an “R” and my eyes are playin’ tricks on me…who knows, but considering the “font” style of lettering, it could work! Also…considering where the actual “hotel” is, in regards to the lay of the land…SOUTHERN would fit the location. I’ve tried looking up the date as well, the date above the middle “arch”, which looks like 1891…but I didn’t get anywhere and gave up!


    You beat me to it! Here I was, playin’ around, lookin’ up stuff, playin’ with the photo and you got there before I did! Well, I just thought I’d send in my reply to jonxwood anyway and to reply to your comment too! Hey…at least I was on the right track! 🙂

  8. The missing pieces of the hotel sign confused me too. Perhaps when the name was painted on the building, the missing pieces were on inserts placed inside/over the arches, which were removed later, maybe when it was renovated.
    “We buy live poultry” – love that. Bring in a chicken and barter it for a stick of salami!

  9. Jim Kahn:

    No worries. Your eagle-eye sleuthing of variations on the hotel name as shown in the photo definitely was on the right track … and adds good confirmation. I tried just staring at the painted inscription, magnifying, etc., but gave up. I resorted to source of first resort for my two cents worth: the good ole Oregonian archives.

  10. As I recall, there is another city archives photo taken of this building at around the same time, but from a different angle, where you can see the same car in front and you can see right through the upper floor window and there’s no roof! This was definitely shortly before demolition.

  11. Its a fancy pattern brickwork infilling arches over the windows called “sawtooth” in the craft of masonry.
    The Hotels name letters are painted upon the sawtooth set bricks, but makes the lettering difficult to see if viewed off axis as this image was taken.

    Great picture Btw, Notice many of the windows broken out, & am happy such ratsnests of overhead wiring are becoming extinct.

  12. Thank you for your sleuthing Richard, Jim Kahn and KN. I find it interesting that a multi-story masonry building was built this far south of the downtown core in 1891. I wonder who this built to serve: sailors? people doing business with South Portland mills? train customers or staff?

  13. This is only barely informed speculation, but I’m guessing that this hotel was built in large part with railroad money (O&C RR and its partner-future owner Southern Pacific) to serve train passengers. Maybe it was owned by a chain. I’m sure there must have been a significant nearby train depot in S. Portland … in the years before Union Station opened in (?) 1896. I think I read about this in one of Kimbark Maccoll’s books. Anyway, I notice there were a great many so-named “southern hotels” or “great southern hotels” across the US in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

  14. The address is listed on LovejoyPettygrove.com. The only historic record currently on file is the 1956 listing for the Portland Kosher Market, which is still prominent in this photo. As Richard noted above, the address for the hotel itself is 2517 SW 1st. Our site shows 9 records of people living there in 1901.

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