15 thoughts on “SW Broadway, 1894

  1. Robert, I agree. Autos in 1894 still looked like buggies. I’m guessing it’s around 1920 though someone better with old cars should be able to narrow it down some more. Also, the date of the addition to the west on Oak and before the addition south on broadway could narrow it down.

  2. The Benson Hotel financed by lumber baron Simon Benson and designed by Albert Edward Doyle was built in 1913. Doyle modeled the design after the Blackstone Hotel in Chicago. A short article with several early photos can be found in the Oregon Encyclopedia authored by historian William Willingham.

  3. In addition to the information Bob mentioned in The Oregon Encyclopedia (https://oregonencyclopedia.org/articles/benson_hotel/#.XzKtdzVlA2x) the Oregonian has had numerous mentions of the hotel over the years. Most of these are notices of social and civic club meetings there, but the following may be of interest:

    August 1, 1919 (p.1) BENSON HOTEL SOLD ON $900,000 OPTION: Ex-Governor of North Dakota to be New Owner. “Transfer of the Benson hotel, under terms of an option obtained about July 15 by ex-Governor L.B. Hanna of Fargo, N.D. will be effected today. … Mr. Hannah, who was formerly governor of North Dakota, and for one or two terms was a representative from that state, is already a heavy taxpayer in Oregon, though the fact is not generally known. As his chief interest, he is principal owner of the Benson Logging company, which he purchased from S. Benson a few years ago.”

    October 11, 1921 (p. 5) BENSON HOTEL FIRE FOUGHT FOR 2 HOURS: 195 Patrons are Aroused by Stubborn Blaze. Fireman Braves Peril. One Lowered Outside Building to Thirteenth Floor so as to Get Hose Into Window. “The 13th floor of the Benson hotel was the scene of a stubborn fire early yesterday morning which took more than 100 firemen and the use of 15 pieces of apparatus nearly two hours to extinguish.”

    [After describing that the fire originated in the carpenter shop on that floor, and who notified whom through a chain of informers until the clerk on duty telephoned the fire headquarters, the article goes on to detail how guests were notified.] “On the 12th floor are eight sample rooms and bedrooms for commercial travelers. All of these were filled with valuable samples, estimated to be worth at least $50,000. The salesmen were notified and hurriedly packed the furs, gowns and flimsy millinery in trunks, which were taken down elevators to safety…. “Policemen went through the hotel knocking on the doors of the rooms…. One guest, on learning a policeman was at the door, hurriedly threw his precious bottle out a window to the courtyard below…. Traffic on Broadway was blocked for over an hour, hindering hundreds of early workers. [Streetcars were diverted and] the streets were filled with spectators….”

  4. DJ — Yes the Benson was called the New Oregon Hotel. Oregon Encyclopedia states that the Benson was built as a annex to the Oregon Hotel next to it on the South side, but was soon called the Benson. The older Oregon Hotel was torn down in 1958-1959 and a addition to the Benson was built.

  5. Recine Tires (sign) were heavily advertised in such magazines as the Saturday Evening Post in the ’20s, highlighting their “Multi-Mile Cord” tires with their “absorbing shock strip”.
    Some trivia: Jimi Hendricks drummer, Mitch Mitchell died at the Benson on 13 November 2008.
    “Erin Patrick, a deputy medical examiner in Multnomah County, says Mitchell was found dead a little after 3 a.m. today in his room at the Benson Hotel in downtown Portland. She says Mitchell apparently died of natural causes at 62. An autopsy is planned.” Seattle Times, 11/13/2008

  6. Looking at the autos, 1924 sounds about right. Was that the tallest building in Portland when it was built?

  7. Robin– Wikipedia indicates that the Oregonian Building was the tallest at 194′ from 1892-1913, and from 1913-1927 the 207′ American Bank Building which was formerly known as the Northwestern National Bank Building which is located at 6th and Morrison was the tallest.

  8. I question the 1894 date because of the automobiles in the photo. And another comment said the building was not constructed until 1913.

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