13 thoughts on “Portland Panorama, 1883

  1. The only bridge I see is the one on the east side over Sullivan’s gulch. On this small iPad screen, can you see Stephens ferry?

  2. Great posting.
    You can see the Park Blocks running diagonally in the foreground.
    The following was taken from They Oregon Encyclopedia:
    While America’s premier landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmsted, traveled the country in the mid-nineteenth-century, encouraging mayors and town councils to add parks to their growing cities, early Portlanders were already setting aside land for parks. In 1852, a year after incorporation, Portland accepted a dedication of a row of twenty-four narrow blocks west of town from developer Daniel Lownsdale. Lownsdale, whose native Louisville had a similar row of “park” blocks, may have intended the blocks to serve as both a promenade and a firebreak between his real estate investment and the wooded hills above his new townsite.

    After the death of the Lownsdales—Daniel and his wife Nancy in 1854—Portland’s claim to the twenty-four blocks gave rise to a tortuous, two-decades-long legal fight between the Lownsdale heirs and the city. The city’s title to the blocks was subsequently held insufficient, because Nancy Lownsdale had not signed any documents transferring ownership. Six of the central park blocks were lost to development in 1873, because the city council was unwilling to purchase them from the Lownsdale children. Two years earlier, the city had purchased the land that would become Washington Park and was not disposed to put up more money—which it likely didn’t have anyway—to purchase the blocks.

    By the 1870s, the South Park Blocks had become a prestigious residential district lined with Italianate mansions and churches. Through the end of the nineteenth century, the Park Blocks developed as a “promenade ground,” complete with Dutch elms planted in rows and even, briefly, a racetrack.

  3. Also noteworthy is that Portland “The Old Church” at 11th and Clay was built one year earlier in 1882. Unfortunately, I think it would be located outside this picture. It appears that we can only see to 10th Ave. Nevertheless, it’s neat to see what Portland looked like when it was built.

    The First Congregational Church and First Presbyterian churches had not yet been built, having been completed in 1895 and 1890 respectively.

  4. When did they start building bridges? There appear to be pilings started just behind the prominent white steeple, and something stretches nearly completely acrost the river to the north. Did the Burnside swing take 10 years to build?

  5. Looks like this must have been a Sunday morning, as there are no people! More than likely the shutter speed of those cameras blurred out any movement. Phenomenal photo!

  6. This view is just to the right of this earlier VP post. The earlier post looks like it might be another half to this panorama.

    The large dark-colored house near the middle left of today’s photo would have been the Morris Fechheimer/Edward Failing house, with the bright white John Whalley house to its right. The Whalley house is now the site of the Blackstone apartments and where the Fechheimer/Failing house stood is the new home of the Simon Benson mansion. The mirrored Ralph & Isaac Jacobs mansions would have been just out of site across the street from the Fechheimer/Failing house. They are visible in the earlier VP post.

  7. so judging by the crenellated top of the Fisher, Thorsen building, those are the pilings for the Morrison Bridge. Not sure what is further north.

  8. On East Park St., between Montgomery and Harrison Streets, you can see two buildings (with bay windows) under construction. These twin buildings were addressed as 384, 386,388, and 390 E Park. They are now the site of Smith Memorial Hall, Portland State. In 1923/24, William C. Gable (Clark Gable) lived in a flat here, apt. 384 Park St. He also performed on stage at Lincoln H.S., (now Lincoln Hall) a few blocks north of his apt, with his future 1st wife, Josephine Dillon, who also directed the play, “Lulu Bell”.

  9. The double-house Kelly mentions was built by Henry Fleckenstein, though he initially did not live there himself. The northern half was occupied by Emil Frank of Meier & Frank and his wife when the house was first built.

    According to my source material, the houses were built in 1884, so the date of the photo might be wrong (or the photo could have been taken in 1883 before the house was completed).

    The houses were gone by 1932, so I’m just going to go ahead and speculate that they were dismantled piecemeal by Clark Gable’s adoring fans.

    The source I used for this information and the Whalley/Fechheimer information in my previous comment is Donald R. Nelson’s wonderful visual history book: “The South Park Blocks…A Neighborhood History.”

    All of Mr. Nelson’s books are entertaining, fascinating and educational. I highly recommend them.

  10. wl, Tillicum Crossing took a little over four years to construct, so I think the construction of the first Morrison Bridge could well have taken as long.

    As for the object further north, could that be the Stark Street Ferry and a river wide wake? If you look closely, you can see smoke coming from the center of the structure. The pilings on the east side could be the Ferry landing.

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