SW Stark Street, 1894

The Chamber of Commerce building during 1894 flood, which was located on SW Stark Street (SW Harvey Milk Street), between SW 3rd and SW 4th Avenue.


City of Portland (OR) Archives, A2004-002.1841.


View this image in Efiles by clicking here.

16 thoughts on “SW Stark Street, 1894

  1. amusing how non-chalant people are. reflection at bottom indicates photographer appears to be (wisely) inside of a building – which building would it be?

  2. THE GREAT FLOOD: All Previous Records Broken — The Water is Still Coming Up — A Large Portion of the Business District is Flooded

    It is probable that the flood of 1894 will sometime today register the high-water mark in Portland. Yesterday at noon the high-water record of 1870 on the Ladd bank building had been passed. At 9 o’clock yesterday morning the gauge at Stark street indicated 28.1 feet, at 6 o’clock last evening it had gained nearly six inches, and during the night was still slowly creeping up….
    IN THE FLOODED DISTRICT. More or less excitement prevailed in the flooded district of the city yesterday. But little business was transacted and merchants generally looked glum over the prospects….. But there were hundreds of others who apparently had no business cares to bother them. They were out on a lark; the novelty of taking a boat ride down First or Front street was not to be overlooked. Boatmen who had boats to let were in constant demand by the sightseers, and men, women and children piled into the little crafts, gratifying their curiosity, and putting dollars into the pockets of the enterprising boatmen.
    — The Oregonian May 31, 1894, p. 6

  3. I’m fairly certain this is today’s view…

    The building was on the south side of the block (hence all the sun in the photo above). Where the main building was is still a parking lot, but where that church was is now Cameron’s Books building. Had to really zoom in on the James Wood Birdseye View Map of Portland from 1890 to be sure (https://www.loc.gov/resource/g4294p.pm007240/?r=0.438,0.281,0.109,0.087,0) . I think the Bishop House building was attached to the old church that’s no longer there.

  4. This is a fairly rare shot of the church on the right. It didn’t last long for how large and grand it was. It sat on the corner where the newly saved Cameron’s Books is now.

  5. Went down a rabbit hole on that old cathedral, it seems it was built in 1862 and demolished in 1895. What’s intriguing to me is the Wikipedia article on the Bishop’s House building – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bishop%27s_House_(Portland,_Oregon) – it said that there was a new, larger cathedral site to be located at NW 15th and Davis. St. Mary’s Cathedral wasn’t build until 1926. So that means, I guess, that there was another short-lived cathedral in NW?

  6. Ahhh! Political Correctness run amok! S.W Harvey Milk St.? No more S.W. Stark St.? Now I know why I moved out of that once fine “city on the river” that is now a “city on the toilet” along with L.A, and S.F. When are you guys gonna learn?

  7. Downtown Portland used to flood regular basis. Until a sysem dams were built on the Willamette and its tributaries. Even with them there have been a few close calls in the last 60 years. Think of what it would be like if the people who want to tear down the dams got their way..

  8. Wayne: not every city father is an Asa Lovejoy or Captain Couch. There are dozens of pioneers whose sole lasting legacy is a street named after them.

    125+ years is a pretty good run. After that much time, maybe it’s time to relinquish, even if—and perhaps even because—none of those 19th century white settlers would care for their replacements. We do know that the new names are more significant to today’s Portlanders.

  9. @ wayne r dietz, I suspect the conical object is indeed a street lamp. Remember that downtown Portland received electrical power from Station A at Willamette Falls starting in 1889 and street lamps were likely installed soon after.

  10. wl; The Chamber of Commerce building in this photo was built on the North side of Stark between 3 rd. & 4 th (NW corner 3rd & Stark). and torn down in 1934 for a parking lot that remains today. The building on the diagonal corner (SE Corner 3rd & Stark) Was the McKay building (400 SW 3rd) that was torn down in 1967, also the Davis building (412 SW 3rd) next to it was torn down at the same time, and both buildings were to be replaced with a parking structure, but it remains a parking lot. The 1884 McKay Building was a 6 story brick building, and the 1887 Davis Building was a 5 story brick building.

  11. The ghosted image on the bottom right of the image is not from a window reflection it’s an interesting darkroom goof. The image is of the same building from roughly the same vantage point (same negative possibly) and the photographic paper was double-exposed accidentally in the darkroom.

  12. Do you have a picture of the Methodist -church on 2nd and Taylor, or in that area. It had a high steeple, It was standing about 1900, not sure when it was torn down. Thank you Cynthia Gage Cmgage51@yahoo.com

    Sent: Friday, January 10, 2020 6:01 AM To: cmgage51@yahoo.com Subject: [New post] SW Stark Street, 1894

    Vintage Portland posted: “The Chamber of Commerce building during 1894 flood, which was located on SW Stark Street (SW Harvey Milk Street), between SW 3rd and SW 4th Avenue.     View this image in Efiles by clicking here.”

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