SE Powell Boulevard, circa 1932

SE Powell Boulevard, looking west from SE 39th Avenue, circa 1932. Ptomaine Tommy eatery is to the left of the image with a Texaco service station to the right.

City of Portland Archives, Oregon, A2009-009.895

City of Portland Archives, Oregon, A2009-009.895

View this image in Efiles by clicking here.

28 thoughts on “SE Powell Boulevard, circa 1932

  1. I Think the name is “Ptomaine Tommy” with a “P” that’s partially obscured. The gasoline truck appears to have hard rubber tires.

  2. It appears that the white building 2 blocks down on left with the funnel shaped roof and unique windows has survived.

  3. Apparently, Ptomaine Tommy was a chain that originated in L.A. According to Wikipedia, the owner possibly invented the Chili Burger.

  4. I realize the location description is correct, but for the life of me, I can’t reconcile the line of trees on the ridge in the background running across the horizon of Powell. Has there been that much grading?

  5. Ptomaine…A rarely used name for food poisoning caused by bacteria.
    The owner of the place was Herman Wycoff.
    Manager was P.L. Lyden.
    Place was robbed periodically in the 30’s
    Once somebody reported a robbery in place when in fact it was the owner shooting a rat with his 22.

  6. the area around 29th and powell was leveled in the late 40’s for development. i believe this website has a link to it. look for clinton kelly or captain john kern house

  7. For what it’s worth, I just noticed William Powell’s 1930 movie ‘For the Defense’ advertised at the Piedmont Theater, for Saturday July 26th. The 26th was a Saturday in 1930, which sets the year back two years.

  8. Pretty sure the large white building on the right side of Powell in the background is the Children’s Home (once Parry Center, now Trillium) . Apparently the Children’s Home was originally founded to provide care for children orphaned on “the trail”. The Powell campus was built in 1926. Note: zooming the photo really distorts distance (Making objects closer than they appear!)

  9. Good work Mike G. That movie opened on July 19th 1930 according to rotten tomatoes.
    The title of the post does say “circa” however.

  10. Love everything about this classic Portland photo. Summertime during The Depression, the motorcycle, the hats on the women, the vehicles in general. Mt Hood Hwy, Gresham, Estacada to the east and City Center to the west. The driver of the Violet Ray Gasoline truck is hanging out while he’s pumping into a tank, I think!

  11. The Klappers store on the billboard refers to this store from the Portland Tribune” Mier Klappers Dry Goods store was on the southwest corner of Powell and Milwaukie”

  12. Was trying to figure out what film the second billboard was advertising. In the process found out there were 1351 films released in 1930??

  13. I’m curious about the devices that appear to be embedded in the center street, along Powell. Looks like there are two of them, nearly dead center in the photo. Could they be some sort of early traffic control light? Any ideas out there?

  14. In the fifties “Griff’s Chowder Bowl” was on the left beyond the station and “Allied Motorcycles” beyond that (BSA, AJS and Matchless dealer).
    The bumps in the middle of the street were stop markers with a red light and aligned with the stop sign on the right.

  15. The block on the near left is now occupied with its fourth Safeway. The late 1930’s store was on the corner, the next two (a brick store and then an arched roof) against 40th and now with a two story back on the 39th corner.

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