SE Union Avenue, circa 1929

A number man at 315-319 SE Union Ave (Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard), circa 1929. For more information on the number man, click here.


City of Portland Archives, Oregon, A2009-009.2441

City of Portland Archives, Oregon, A2009-009.2441


View this image in Efiles by clicking here.

14 thoughts on “SE Union Avenue, circa 1929

  1. Wow. What I wouldn’t give to be able to walk around the streets back then. I’d want to poke into every storefront to look around. And not an ‘artisinal’ anything to be I love the little L.E. Williams building.

  2. Mike,
    I’m pretty sure the upholsterer and shingle manufacturer would be considered artisans today.

    Fortunately, not all of the cast iron architecture in this area is gone. Here is the street view of a survivor that sits down the block on the other side of the street at 330 SE MLK. I went with an older view that shows better detail than the current gray over black paint job.

  3. Really enjoy seeing these vintage photos. My mother (long deceased) graduated from Commerce high school and often remarked how bleak and colorless the homes and business buildings were back in the 20’s and 30’s.

  4. We comment about how we’d like to go back to those days and then you read a quote from somebody who lived it and they say how dark etc. the buildings were. Interesting. As a collector I’d like to go back and see all the old “stuff”.

  5. RE: Bleak buildings in the good old days – How come these buildings, circa 1890 (at 40 years old), look the same as the unrestored 126 year old circa 1890 buildings look today? Is it that the materials of that day didn’t hold up as well? But, to counter that, why have some lasted into the next century?


  6. I think the lack of street trees makes it seem darker and bleaker. And the old buildings hold up much better than the modern ones. Those from the 50s 60s 70s 80s for the most part are pretty ugly, run-down and undesirable. I shudder to think what those that we’re building today will look like 50 years from now, but I’ll never know.

  7. Don T,

    There is a submit/contact link under the banner at the top right of the page. If you’ve got some pre-WWII photos I’m sure PARC would be happy to post them here.

  8. Must have been “No Smoking Day”
    The Numberman is missing his trademark pipe !

    Also, Love the distorted images reflected. The times before Float Glass !

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