26 thoughts on “SW 6th Avenue, circa 1910

  1. maybe earlier? i see only one object (faaaaaar in the distance) that
    resembles a motorcar. Surely there would be more by 1910, especially by the flagship motel?

  2. It can’t be much earlier than 1910 – the blank wall on the right side of the image should be the first portion of the Meier & Frank building (NW corner of the eventual full block). It was constructed in 1909/1910.

  3. While I agree that it looks older than 1910, osmill is right that the Meier & Frank “Annex” building at 6th and Alder means it can’t be older than 1909. It also can’t be any later either, as the Selling building, built in 1910, isn’t there. That building, which still exists on 6th and Alder, should be directly across 6th street from the M&F “Annex”, and right behind the Marquam Building, between it and the old Oregonian Building. So that pretty much makes this photo 1909.

  4. i had faith someone would know the minutia of the other building dates – thanks, osmill! i know cars were rare enough that the oregonian was printing notices of who bought one as late as 1915, but there have been other posts from this time frame with far more motorized vehicles.

    perhaps they were all out being washed.

  5. @igor, I think the sign says “Orpheum” which by this time was the name of the theater attached to the Marquam Building.

  6. igor,

    It says “Orpheum.” This was the first iteration of a Portland Orpheum theater. The name was applied to several different theater buildings over the years with the final one being the theater that was demolished to build Nordstroms.

    The Orpheum in this photo was part of the complex of the Marquam Building and stood where the main entrance to the Rite-Aid on Alder is today. It was originally built as the Marquam Grand and the name was changed to the Orpheum in 1908. The T-shaped Marquam buidling, with its main entrance on Morrison, caused some spectacular news two years after this photo was taken.

    Dan Haneckow has a great breakdown (pun not intended) of the story of the Marquam Grand.


  7. Does anyone know the name of the closest building on the left? It looks like it could have been designed by the same person who did the Hotel Portland which would have been directly across Morrison.

  8. jim, hanekow’s marquam write-up shows this exact view, dated “1910 – 1912.” packed chock-a-block with tin lizzies!

    *note to our resident auto enthusiasts: i am aware that not all of them are tin lizzies. but i would love to know what they were!

  9. Let me re-phrase. Not the closest building but the next one north. The one with the pyramid roof at the top of the tower. That detail shows nowhere in any HP photos I’ve seen. Given that, the photographer appears to be mid-block, standing in front of the Pioneer Courthouse. So that 4 story brick building stood next to the courthouse on the same block? It certainly appears directly across from the north wing of the Hotel. I thought the courthouse always was by itself on its block. It was the presence of that building that made me think I was closer to Morrison and that building was on the north side of Morrison.

  10. @Steve – I think the four-story building on the right is at the NE corner of 6th and Morrison, not on the Pioneer Courthouse block. I imagine that several factors might be contributing to the illusion that it is closer forward (south) than it actually is: the angle of the photo’s view; the strong change in elevation across 6th; the fact that with no building on the SE corner of 6th and Morrison, we can see more of its south facade.

  11. The building with the pyramid style roof on the tower is the previously mentioned Marquam Building. See the link that Jim posted above from the excellent Cafe Unknown piece on the history of the building. It is across Morrison from the hotel. The four-story building is also across Morrison from the courthouse on the quarter-block south of the Meier & Frank “Annex” in the photo. Meier & Frank would eventually complete their full-block complex where that building stands in the photo..

  12. @Brian As an aside, the four-story building actually only covered roughly a sixth of that block – the M&F Annex extended along approximately two-thirds of the 6th Ave frontage (which might also contribute to the perception in the photo that the four-story building is closer than it actually is?).

    The 1932 completion of M&F very carefully stitched the Annex into a unified facade: the north six bays are part of the annex, while the south three bays are from the 1932 infill. From the street, there are subtle clues to the two sections: the three 1932 bays are slightly wider than the Annex bays; also, notice at street level how the terra cotta column wrap (three bays north of the south corner) is offset slightly to the south in relation to the pilasters above, while all the other street-level columns are centered beneath their upper pilasters.
    (Streetview: https://goo.gl/maps/UHERPz2UfK52)

  13. This photo appears to have been created on a computer. How could there have been a glass smooth road surface with horses & buggy ?

  14. Brian,

    It looks to be either late 1909 or early 1910 as the hotel that was adjacent to the Marquam Building has been demolished in preparation for the construction of the Selling Building.

    The name of the hotel escapes me at the moment, but if I recall correctly, it was named for the gentleman whose house was at the corner of Alder and Broadway.

  15. What a beautiful photo. Big-City Portland in 1909. They haven’t started keeping foliage on the west side of the Courthouse yet.

  16. Old 55, there were several stables in the downtown area. Three survivors off the top of my head are the Grand Stable and Carriage Building on Second Avenue, The United Carriage and Baggage Transfer Building on the corner of Second and Pine (Pine Street Market), and the United Carriage Building (Columbia Sportswear flagship store) on Broadway and Taylor.




  17. Old 55,

    There were several facilities right downtown. Three survivors that I can think of off the top of my head are the Grand Stable and Carriage Building on Second Avenue, the United Storage and Baggage Transfer Building (Pine Street Market) on Second and Pine, and the United Carriage Building (Columbia Sportswear) on Taylor and Broadway.

  18. I hope you all know how much you are appreciated for your knowledge of old Portland and your willingness to share.

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