33 thoughts on “NW Wilson Street, 1939

  1. dependable upholstery was at 2029 nw 26th (likely the industrial strength gym building today). and he can’t take a picture through the ball park, can he? so the picture can’t be 23rd. i’m sure someone will point out a detail proving me wrong, as usual LOL!

    digging through the sanbornes, i was surprised to see that chapman elementary was originally across from the ball park – basically in the vacant lot to the right. i’m sure that interfered with
    classwork!

  2. Is that a Vaughn Street Park fence on the left? I thought the original Chapman was located to the immediate WEST of Vaughn Street Park (not north).

  3. From the looks of things there may have been high hopes for this street before the depression as the south side of the street is side walked and curbed and sidewalk is in place on the north as well. Looking closely there appears to be some evidence of curbing on the north as well. also note the hydrant on the south side which suggests that sewers may present as well as they were generally put in at the same time. Apparently the depression struck before the street was paved.
    With the economy improving the photo was taken to document the scavenger’s usurping of the right of way. Improving business conditions (1939) have made this property ripe for development

  4. If this was taken at NW 23rd and Wilson, wouldn’t we be looking straight through Vaughn Street Park? Add me to the group that thinks this was taken at 25th and Wilson.

  5. I thought the Park spanned Vaughn to Wilson… so this would be on the back side of the park (I’m guessing). Seems more like it would be today’s 24th NW (looking through what now would be ESCO).

  6. Following up on my own posting: I just looked at an aerial photo of VSP taken in 1955 and it would appear to be 2 blocks deep. So, Don’s comment is a good. Maybe this was taken at 25th? Weren’t the street numbers changed by one at some point?
    SO, I’m going to vote for 25th and Wilson.

  7. I THINK THAT THIS WAS THE ROUTE OF THE RAILROAD TRACKS THAT WENT INTO THE BASEMENT OF MONTGOMERY WARD STORE . THE M.W. STORE SERVICED THE CATALOG SALES FOR EVERYWHERE EAST OF THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER AND FREIGHT TRAVELLED BY RAIL BOTH IN AND OUT THROUGH THE PORTAL AT THE END OF WILSON STREET. OLD ARCHITECT RENDERINGS SHOW A STEAM ENGINE ENTERING AND EXITING THIS LOCATION.

  8. I agree that this is 25th and Wilson. The tire tracks in the mud suggest that this is a T-intersection. The 1908 Sanborn map shows that the ballpark extended almost a full block north of Wilson, creating a T at 25th and Wilson. The ballpark would have been behind the photographer’s back. The map also shows the old Chapman school in the empty lot on the right.

  9. i was on wilson just the other day – if you go to the end by monty park, it STILL is unpaved! gravel, instead of mud and large logs (see lower left of pic), but unpaved.

  10. Looks like the big neon sign got slid over about two letters to the right when “Montgomery Ward & Co” was changed to “Montgomery Park”. I had never noticed this when the change was in process.

  11. If memory serves, and lately it serves poorly sometimes, years before the sign was changed to Montgomery Park, the “& Co.” had been removed and the sign re-centered. I remember that at night it flashed between “Montgomery Ward ” and “Go Ward.”

  12. It’s odd that there are tracks in Wilson street now, that weren’t there in 1939. They go east into the Esco plant and are buried in asphalt there. Was the Esco plant built on the site of the ball park?

  13. Esco is all over that area (I live on the hill above it). The home-plate part of the ballpark is now a parking lot (24th and Vaughn) – there is a plaque on a short brick wall at that the corner that marks the stadium and recognizes the long-time groundskeeper (Rocky Benviento – SP?).

  14. Regarding the incorrect street name, the second major renaming was 1933. Only 6 years later I don’t see it as a huge stretch for a then old-timer to still think of this as 23rd instead of 25th. Heck, how many of you still refer to it as 39th Ave? Or Portland Blvd? Or Front Ave?

  15. The blog post title does but read the photograph itself. On the bottom it says, “N.W. Wilson & 23rd St.” That would make me think the photographer thought he was on 23rd.

  16. What is that company name written on the water tower? The building is a parking garage now (I have some really cool B&W pics of the place from ’99 when I was an intern at Freightliner). I’m just curious what that building originally was.

  17. Ah, I found the answer. It’s the American Tin Can Company. It looks like at one point the largest tin can manufacturer in the world. Looking from an aerial view, I see the building in front of the parking garage is actually connected to it. I’d venture a guess that the parking garage was the factory and the building in front was the business offices. Last time I was in town a couple years ago, I noticed that the front building was being used by the Grimm TV show producers, which explains one of the show’s fight scenes taking place on the roof of the parking garage.

    When I was taking pics in ’99, I also found an old rail street car parked at the site of the tin company. It looks like it serviced China town. Either way, I thought it was very strange seeing it there:

  18. Jim,

    The ‘Can’ looked like it was off center, making me think there was another word in front of the ‘Can’, on the other side of the tower. I was trying to find the full name. I should’ve made that more clear in my question.

  19. But then again, maybe it just did say American Can Company. I may be getting two different companies mixed up.

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