12 thoughts on “SW 1st Avenue, circa 1932

  1. They could trust having the crabs out on the sidewalk. small crabs were 25 cents that would be like $4.13 today,

  2. There’s a PDF of the September 1929 “West Coast Fisheries” periodical with an ad for Steve Duemovich’s Western Fish Company at http://aquaticcommons.org/16047/1/1929_09.pdf
    See page 62 of the 68 pages.

    He’s listed as owner and manager, with wholesale distributions. He had branches in Bay Center, Washington, Walport, Oregon, and 124-126 First Street, Oregon.

    For those of you who are interested in facial expressions in old photos — notice that the women in this one are smiling!

  3. Good, solid Croatian name, Duomovich. My grandparents came from the Dalmatian Islands in the 1920’s and settled in the Croatian community in Tacoma. My grandfather was a deep sea fisherman in Alaska and restaurant owner. Seafood is definitely a Croatian ‘thing’. Excellent photo. Especially the smirks and smiles.

  4. @Liz Cooksey: Great find you made in a back issue of a fisheries industry trade mag.

    Steve (originally probably Stjepan or Stipan) Duemovich (1880-1947) must be the man on the far left of the photo; I matched the face to an obit photo in the Oregonian. He emigrated to the US in 1902 or 1903 from his native town of Stari Grad on the Dalmatian island of Hvar in what is now Croatia. He came to PDX in 1905 after stints on fishing boats and fishmonger stands in San Francisco and Astoria. He started his fishmongering career here in 1906; I don’t know when it grew into the Western Fish business. After being partnered with another man for some years, he became sole owner and proprietor in 1923. He was in business with this brother Louie, who may also be in this photo somewhere. Both brothers and their wives started an extended Duemovich family in Portland.

    Dalmatian Croats and their descendants made (and are still making) large contributions to fisheries and agriculture on the West Coast, among other places.

  5. 518 SW 1st would place this on the east side of 1st between Washington and Alder. The reflection in the window seems to match the building to the right of the Corbett Building in this previous VP post.


    I’m guessing that this business was in the unidentified narrow storefront between the Berger Bros. building and the First National Bank building shown in the building identification map index in Hawkins’ “The Grand Era of Cast Iron Architecture in Portland.

  6. @Richard C: Thanks. I found various “business card” ads for Duemovich’s enterprise, listing “R.J. Johnson” as well as Duemovich. One such is in the Oregon City Enterprise, August 11, 1922. Several of the ads say, “Get your fish orders before you take the cars, which stop at our doors. Next door to depot.”

    Tantalizing — a Google listing for a September 2011 Oregon Daily Journal article which says, “Steve Duemovich, the fish peddler who was arrested yesterday afternoon by patrolman Humphries, whose slumbers….” I’ve tried, but cannot find the full text of this digitally without paying for it. Maybe someone at one of the libraries holding a back run of the newspaper can find it for us?

  7. @Liz Cooksey: Thanks to you too.

    I read the 1911 report about poor Steve D. being nailed in 1911 by local constables. A more complete report about this is in the Oregonian, whose digital historical archives you can access for free with a Mult. Co. library card. The Journal report was much briefer. Anyway, it turned out that Steve was hawking his fish from a cart below the windows of a rooming house (420 Eliza St. wherever that was) where two off-duty cops lived, one of whom was patrolman Humphries. It was 11:00 AM, and Steve was tooting some kind of horn as he yelled out to advertise his fish catch. The Oregonian quoted Steve as loudly yelling “Fresh feesh!” This upset the two room-mate cops who had been asleep after their night shifts. Humphries threw on a bathrobe, ran down to the street, and arrested Duemovich for disorderly conduct and disturbing (their) peace. They then called for a patrol wagon to pick up the fishmonger. This seems like excessive law enforcement even for 1911! I saw no further reports about the outcome of this case. but Steve D at least went on to have a long and pretty successful career in the fish business.

    R.J. Johnson was the business partner in the Western Fish Co. who was bought out by Duemovich in 1923.

  8. This is what I love about this site. @Richard C. my grandmother came from Stari Grad on the island of Hvar in 1922. I will bet she knew his family back in the ‘old country’. I will ask my mother. My grandfather came over in 1919 from the island of Solta. From your journal @Liz Cooksey, my grandpa would have sold his wonderful Alaskan salmon to one of those canners in Tacoma. Thanks for that great find!

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