SW Washington Street, circa 1951

SW Washington Street looking west from SW 6th Avenue, circa 1951. This image shows the street after implementation of the “one way” grid. The Plaza Hotel, United Artists Theatre, Weiners, Sherman Clay, Payless Drugs, and Roblee are visible.


City of Portland Archives, Oregon, A2005-001.697

City of Portland Archives, Oregon, A2005-001.697


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21 thoughts on “SW Washington Street, circa 1951

  1. Mike D. Oh come on…let it go…I’m sure you’ve repeated yourself once or twice in the last five years!

  2. Mike, there are some minor differences in photo quality so I think this is a different print from the same negative (not to mention the “circas” are slightly differently estimated). This print probably has a different catalog number than the previous one. When you consider how many thousands of prints are stored in the archive, PARC seems to be doing a pretty good job. I’m going to give them a pass on this one.

    (Plus they haven’t been VPers as long as you and I). 🙂

  3. I meant no offense by my comment; I even jokingly stated that I needed to get a life. I just knew that the photo looked familiar…and still just as interesting the second time!

  4. And Ireland’s restaurant, once a great eating place. Remember Arthur Leonard’s pipe and tobacco shop too. A sophomore at Cleveland HS then.

  5. I see Irelands Restaurant on the right, and further up the street on the left, a childhood favorite of mine the Blue Mouse Theatre!

  6. ’49 Chevy Fleetline sedan, ’50 Chevy sedan, ’48-’51Chevy pickup, ’49-50 Ford sedan, ’49-50 Olds Rocket 88, “50-51 Studebaker, ’46-48 Cadillac pulling from the curb….talk about too much time on my hands…

  7. Larry Dodgion, I was 1 when this photo was taken. But we boomers growing up in the 50s were so lucky to have all of those neighborhood theaters. We went to the Bob White on Foster every Saturday to see a double feature, 2 cartoons & a Newsreel. All for a quarter! Unfortunately most of them shut down in the 60s.

  8. Looking at this picture makes me feel like in those days downtown was like a big shopping mall were people would go to buy stuff and have fun. With parking restrictions and bike theft it feels like the only reason you’d go downtown is to work or provide for other people who work.

  9. Downtown was the center of everything. Even after Lloyd Center was built. I loved downtown & spent my teen years exploring it. I had a friend who grew up in La Mesa outside of San Diego. She said downtown was creepy. Maybe that’s how suburban people felt. I was from Irvington.

  10. I guess it depends on one’s taste–I’d rather go downtown than to a mall any day. It’s easy to get to by bus or light rail, usually not too hard to find a spot in a parking garage if I drive, and it has lots of shops the malls don’t, plus theaters and Central Library, and interesting restaurants.

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