27 thoughts on “SE 42nd Avenue, 1931

  1. Gasco Motor Fuel was made by Portland Gas and Coke.Had benzene in it I believe. Not sure what the difference was between Gasco Motor Fuel and Gasco Blue motor fuel.

  2. The plant nursery across from the gas station was a surprise. The automobiles take over of Portland was a done deal by this time. Looks like the photographer was getting some attention from the people in the photo. The person wearing the hat and pea coat looks right in style for today.

  3. Interesting article: “As Portland grew, its increasingly busy roads took a sobering toll on human life. Haneckow uncovered stats published by the Portland Traffic Safety Commission in August of 1940 that said 900 traffic deaths had occurred from 1925-1940. Streets were particularly lethal from in the 1930’s when there was a traffic death in Portland every five and a half days” https://bikeportland.org/2008/03/18/portland-in-the-1930s-a-look-back-at-traffic-safety-it-wasnt-pretty-6970

  4. The shape of Division doesn’t look right. I tried to look up the history of Division Street (or why 42nd and Division has that weird bend) but was not successful. The houses aren’t quite right either. The ones at 42nd and Division now were built before 1934 and it is POSSIBLE they were remodeled extensively, but it would have been nearly a complete rebuild to get the larger house morphed to what it is today. Anyone with more knowledge have information to help me see it?

  5. The configuration of that intersection has changed radically and I don’t see anything to relate to its state 88 years ago.

  6. Don’t know how to post a photo in a comment, but I think the aerial view is even more dramatic to show the difference. The only way the original image is 42nd and Division (which I do believe has to be looking SW) is if they cut off a giant chunk of the corner (remediating gasoline polluted ground?).

  7. I was just looking at the 1924 Sanborn, and the jog was already there, which raises suspicion that we may not be at Division.

  8. Decades ago I heard that the jog at 42nd and Division was because the road coming up from the West and the one coming down from the East were slightly off and the people making the roads decided to leave it that way. That story is why this picture grabbed my attention this morning.

  9. A 1927 ad in the Oregonian has a Gasco station at 42nd and Division, “Casteberry’s.” Ironically I found this because I used “Murphy” in the search because it is on the building in the image. J.E. Murphy was as 39th and Powell, across the street from Ptomaine Tommy’s.

  10. @Robert G, I’m sure you aren’t implying that this is 39th and Powell since the sign clearly reads E. 42nd St. This year was in the midst of the “great renumbering”. http://tinyurl.com/y2bzlybp Could this be part of the confusion as too where it’s located?

  11. Looking @Steven’s link it says 42nd St SE got renamed to SE Boise St. But Boise runs parallel with Division. The corner of 42nd and Boise looks good for the picture (as would almost any square corner) but that presumes someone made a major mistake on what they wrote on the picture.

  12. This view is looking NE. The 2nd house is still there, 4235 SE Division. Note the angled window on the corner of the house, also, the tall skinny window on the top floor matches up. 43rd is just beyond the house.

  13. Mike: “New Blue Gasco” was a gasoline that had Benzol added to it for anti-knock abilities, and also was claimed to increase gas mileage.

  14. The efiles classification for this photo is Cutting corners at “SE 42nd and Division St”. What does this mean? And in efiles I found another couple of photos taken from a different angle. http://tinyurl.com/yyheowr6. It looks like the address may be correct and they added the Division ‘swerve’ at a later date. I think one can see the alley to the right of the service station from this view that still exists.

  15. I believe Robert is right. This is looking NE. That gas station was removed so Division could go in a smooth curve.

  16. Portland has lots of streets that have jogs, don’t line up and appear and then disappear. All consistent with a city built as needed.

  17. Carter Kennedy: “This is looking NE. That gas station was removed so Division could go in a smooth curve.”

    Agree, and I was going to guess this photo may have been taken as part of the plans to “smooth” out that corner with a curve.

    On the “efiles” page in the title field is: “Cutting corners at SE 42nd and Division St” and in the notes field it says “Before work.”

    Also the photo is in the the “Public Works Relief Projects” classification so I’d be wiling to bet the curve was put in as part of a Great Depression relief work project, and this photo is part of the surveying or documenting of the site.

  18. The sharp corner on 42nd and Division was there until about 1965-66. It was made into more of a S curve due to all the semi-trucks with trailers side swiping the pole. In the 60’s the gas station was a small Hamburger stand and behind the stand was Erv’s Meat Market. The nursery across the street remained until the 1970’s. The big white house you see burned down and was replaced by a Nissen hut, it was an office for the nursery. Again in the 70″s the nursery property was sold to make room for apartments that sit there today. The original Smith’s Home Furnishing started in a building just behind where those 2 people are standing. Of all the buildings in the picture the only one that remains is the 2nd house, I think it was built in the 1890’s.

    Does anyone have more pictures of this general area?

  19. Looking further into the efiles, I see what they were doing. It was just a small rounding-off of the corners, not putting in the S-curve (which makes more sense, given David’s post above).

    Here is a photo labeled “after work” which shows the small change compared the photo in today’s post.

    The same was done to the corner directly behind where the today’s photo was taken.

  20. Erv’s Meat Market sold horsemeat. For a 20 something in the early 70’s with not too much money it allowed me to stretch my food dollar. It was very lean with almost no fat and 1\2 the cost of beef.

  21. Interesting road surface. Looks like gravel residue after a snowfall. Notice it stops just past the bends.

  22. The bungalow further on was a charming one. I always liked it. It was torn down for the micro apartment building.

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