26 thoughts on “Ross Island Bridge Approach, circa 1926

  1. In these weeks of isolation, “social distancing”, I find this photograph kind of depressing and I’m inclined towards personification much more than I usually would be. This structure, this building, this house, was once a home. It’s lost its address, it’s occupants, it’s worth, its reason for being.

  2. Netflix not fulfilling that hobby, Lou? if you’ve got some family, you should be with them since that’s your “home.” Plus you’ve got a good amount of time to find a hobby if you haven’t developed one. With the increasing amount of moralities outside of the virus in the UK, I’m concerned this quarantine is starting to reflect how little people have cared for themselves and they’re realizing what is actually important (and whether they’ve got it or not). Find it in yourself to get in touch with people you know and stay in contact about how you feel. Most importantly, work on being able to entertain yourself and find fulfillment in doing something for yourself. That’s a general message to everyone..

    I love this picture by the way. Looking at this house makes me wonder why we ‘evolved’ the modern house since this seems to have everything a PNW house family would need except a garage, which still could be in the back. Thanks.

  3. I wondered if anyone knew the actual location of this house. My great great grandmother owned a couple of houses just north of the west side bridge approach and I’ve been scanning the various pictures posted here of the construction project trying to figure out which ones they were. The addresses were on Corbett but family lore put them across from the old grade school and not on the south side. I’ll have to look for the letter I found from the fire marshal ordering her to clean the places up (!) – love to know more about that.

  4. Beth, you nailed it. Thanks. And thanks Lou for your thoughts, exactly the feeling I had when I first looked at the photo.

  5. yes, beth – they are!
    looks like this house was removed to make the underpass by the kelly ave intersection. couldn’t make out the house number.

  6. my best guess is 177/179 water st, but the porch isn’t right. house backs up to the gully, tho, and seems to be similar angle.
    there is a house with outline similar to the one in photo on 167 woods, but it is on wrong side of gully slope. sanborn, 08-09 vol 2, sheets 167 and 171

  7. 752 front is also correct outline, but seems to be above gulch, rather than on slope. 754 water (at corner of woods) fits position, but not outline. does have a building behind w/ porch on correct side. noted ‘planked platforms’ were apparently removed before photo. marked ‘stable b’ … stable boarding? stable bank?

  8. Beth, I think those are the houses, still around 90+ years later. Lou, I had the same sad feeling when I looked at this photo. It reminds me of the book we all read as kids — “The Little House”, the Caldecott Medal- winning book by Virginia Lee Burton (1942). It was about a little house out in the country and all the transformations it went through over the decades before it wound up surrounded by the ever-growing big city. But eventually it was picked up and moved out into the country again, and occupied by a new young family. I hope the house in this historic photo was also moved and re-purposed, and is still around today, housing a family who needs a home.

  9. In my family archives I have a 1 cent postcard addressed to my grandmother in 1917 at the address of 228 Kelly SE. I assume it was destroyed with the construction of the bridge and/or the construction of McCloughlin blvd. I am new here and do not have the research skills many of you have.. Could someone direct me where to find a possible photo of the home(unlikely) or at least a plot map of that area showing the address. Or any other pertinent information.
    Many Thanks

  10. This house is such a classic example of a scaled-down “Shingle Style” house. These were first built around 1890 for the wealthy in Newport, R.I . The style spread westward eventually reaching the West Coast 5-10 years later. It was one of the less-ornamented alternative styles that were the antidote to Victorian excess. Hallmarks of the style included, of course, wood shingles, and a very pronounced triangular gable. Palladian windows were also common. Larger versions of the style, similar to their Newport cousins can still be seen in NW Portland, and especially, Willamette Heights. Much smaller bungalow versions like the sweet house here can be found in most every turn-of-the-century middle-class neighborhood. They are Portland classics!

  11. If you’re wondering why all the Ross Island Bridge photos on here, it’s my fault. I’m working on a project in the area, and requested a bunch of photos from the City Archives from the time before, during, and after the bridge was constructed. Trying to track the changes to the neighborhood over time. When people request scans of photos that are in the archives, but not yet available digitally, they will often end up getting posted to this blog and the City’s eFile website.

    I will say that you folks are excellent researchers, and have helped me figure out the location of photos that I couldn’t figure out myself. It’s helped me filter out locations that are and aren’t in my study area. So, thank you and keep up the great sleuthing!

  12. As for this location, I know exactly where it is (was). The house was located at the northeast corner of SW Water Ave and SW Woods St. It was likely demolished or relocated for the original construction of the bridge in 1925-26.

    PortlandMaps link: https://www.portlandmaps.com/detail/property/3040-SW-WATER-AVE/R128800_did/

    The house is visible in Sanborn maps and other photos from the RIB construction projects. In this photo, and others taken from different vantage points, you can see how deep and steep the ravine was that got filled over time–both with garbage and with dirt for construction of the original bridge approach, and further filled and regraded later for the current bridge ramps. The ravine was located between SW Woods and Grover Streets and ran from Marquam Hill to the Willamette River.

  13. Doug B – 228 Kelly SE should be easy. Are you familiar with the Great Renumbering of 1933? https://efiles.portlandoregon.gov/Record/2685610/ It should be easy, just look up the old street number and it will tell you the new one. Except that didn’t work when I tried it. 228 Kelly SE apparently didn’t exist when they did the renumbering. So I’m flummoxed. Maybe I missed something? Anyone?

  14. Doug B –if you go to efiles portland there is a Pittmon Map of Portland from 1915– on that map you can see that SE Kelly only went east of SE Milwaukie for a short distance–not west of SE Milwaukie–I’m figuring that the house you are looking for was in that very short stretch of SE Kelly–the old address system was mess but in general it was 20 numbers per block–so the old address of 228 would roughly now be about 1100 1200 SE Kelly so right near SE Milwaukie and SE Kelly

  15. kb – thanks, that is the lot at 754 water. odd that the sanborn does not show the bay window and porch correctly. and a big thanks for being the source of all the rib pics! let us know how to read your research when done.

    doug b, that address is on east side, was probably near milwaukie blvd.

  16. doug, mystery deepens – in 1909, se kelly starts at 530. in 1901, it was named cole… and even cole starts at 500 block.

  17. Thanks to Susan, Mike and wl for your assistance in trying to locate the 228 address on Kelly st.
    I ve spent the last couple of hours pouring over the maps and sites you mentioned.
    From what maps I could magnify and not lose focus it appears that 2nd and Kelly would have been on the banks of the Willamette. Yikes!
    The post card was rubber stamped, I guess that means it was delivered. Maybe the address was wrong but the postman knew her by name?
    The lowest address number on Kelly st. as Mike and wl found is in the 500’s. And from the 1915 map Kelly does not appear west of Milwaukie ave. But even today there is a Kelly st (albeit a block long) between 6th and 7th that is west of Milwaukie ave.
    Mike, thank you for directing me to the “past Portland” site. Good info.
    Its sad that I wasn’t more interested, when I was younger and my grandmother was still living, that I didn’t ask more questions and have her identify all of the people in the old photos I eventually inherited..
    Be Safe Everyone

  18. What a great community VP contributors are! This set of posts is one of the very best I’ve seen in my six years’ reading VP. Thanks especially to KB for explaining not only the number of Ross Island area photos we’ve been seeing, but the process by which photos often get chosen for the blog. And echoing Doug B., Be Safe, Everyone!

  19. Doug B – if you could get to the library, there are City Directories and Reverse Directories so you could look her up. Or go on Ancestry and check the 1920 Census records. Or WWI draft registrations if there was a male in the household. Lots of ways to figure out. And possibly if the address is correct, it could have disappeared when McLoughlin was built.

  20. Thanks Susan. When this crisis is over I will visit the library.
    I guess I’ll have to join Ancestry.com also.

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