21 thoughts on “SW 16th Avenue, 1953

  1. I just love those cars! Wonder what these apartments were like inside? And I think 1953 was a decent year, I was born that year, and I’m still here, mostly. Have a good day.

  2. It’s hard to get the same perspective from Google Maps, as someone, who clearly wasn’t thinking about us at Vintage Portland, planted a tree in the way:

  3. That Bekins van looks like the same one that moved our family across Portland in 1950. I love all those old cars in the photo. Wow, the building looks almost the same as it did 66 years ago. (Wish I could say the same for myself.) Amazing! Thanks, Igor, for the current view.

  4. The file name indicates the photo is showing “fire damage”, and it appears the front of the building may be soot-stained, but I don’t see any evidence that the fire occurred in the building itself. Perhaps a vehicle fire at the curb?

  5. Built in 1911 for James N. Dezendorf. Architects were Claussen & Claussen who went on to design the old Heathman Hotel, the Roosevelt hotel, et al. The 2/28/1911 Oregon Journal notes that the apartment “plans call for the latest model of disappearing furniture, built-in bookcases, buffets and hall trees.”

  6. Mat: The Bonneville Apts. were heavily damaged by a fire that happened on the afternoon on Tuesday January 27, 1953. A 2 alarm fire started by an electrical short in the basement traveled up thru the walls, and out the eastern side of the roof which was had the heaviest damage. 20 fire companies battled the blaze for 90 minutes until the fire was brought under control. The residents of all 19 apartments were left homeless, and the building had heavy smoke and water damage.
    This photo was likely taken after the building was repaired.

  7. That appears to be a 1937 Chrysler Royal Sedan parked in front; love those suicide doors. From the looks of it, the Bekins cab over van pictured here is from the late 1930s.

  8. I was going to say ’38 Olds. But it could be a ’37. Its definitely an Oldsmobile. The bullet lights above the rear fenders give it away.

  9. debrald: Here is what apartments for the Bonneville rented for in 1933. 6 Room, 3 bed, outside corner $32.50 ($658.00 — 2019 dollars) Living room, kitchen, 2 bed, corner apt. $28.00 ( $558.00 — 2019 dollars)

    By June of 1953 the fire damage must have been repaired, ads in the Oregonian for newly redecorated apartment at the Bonneville were available.

  10. Val B. Several ads for apartments list the Holmes disappearing bed, which I had never heard of. There are photos on the internet, showing that the bed rolls into the wall, with the foot board being the lower part of a buffet, and the upper part of the buffet as a built in. You have to see it to believe it.

  11. I once rented an apartment where the bed went into a space under a closet (up two steps), hidden by door low doors.

  12. you can see the fire damage up at the top window of the upper left side of the pic in the building.boarded up, rest of the inside is sooted for sure.

  13. I knew a guy who lived there about ten years ago. Very small, but cool built ins, original woodwork, and a nice little hang out spot on the fire escape. The elevator was very sketchy.

  14. Son of which of the Bekins brothers ?
    The “lifer son” must have convicted & incarcerated a long time ago.
    The Bekins Brothers founded their moving company in 1890s.

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