14 thoughts on “SW 5th Avenue, circa 1905

  1. Does anyone know if that is a rooftop sign there in the distance on the left? Looks like Labrode on the part of the sign that you can see.

  2. Efiles says: Circa date. Banner : Buy Christmas Stamps – The White Plague (tuberculous [sic]). Carriages, businesses and pedestrians visible in cropped photograph. Organization : Meier & Frank Department Store Keyword : Pacific Coast Biscuit Company delivery wagon

    But I’m not seeing the banner. I do see the Meier & Frank sign on the corner.

  3. Thanks, William Muny.

    About the biscuit company — Wikipedia has this initial paragraph: “The Pacific Coast Biscuit Company was a conglomerate of baking companies headquartered in Portland, Oregon, United States. The company, also known as Pacific Coast, was formed in 1899, and it was purchased by the National Biscuit Company in 1930. It was the only baking company in the United States to trademark a swastika.”

  4. The building on the left that reads & King is the Olds, Wortman & King department store at 5th and Washington

  5. I love these streetscapes. The half block Meier & Frank store was built in 1898. About 1910, a 5 x 6 bay, 10 story annex was built at 6th & Alder. About 1913, the building we see in the picture was torn down replaced by a 12 story structure. In the early 30s the block was completed when the 12 story, 3 x 5 bay was built. Possibly, useless information but fun to think about.

  6. Turn 90° to the left, and you’d see this about the same time (1907).

    Today’s photo was posted before, and an eagle-eyed commentator pointed out the use of the swastika as a logo on the Pacific Coast Biscuit wagon…

  7. Thank you, Drew! I was wondering when the M&F building added the additional floors. I like the “lumpy” mannequins in the window and the awnings. That store’s windows were such a big part of downtown street life and personality for so many years. It’s never been the same without them.

  8. These were times of many labor strikes across the country. Portland would have its share too (1906, 1907) with a number of lumber & woolen mill strikes as well as sewer workers strike against the imposition of a 9-hour workday.

    Bicyclist certainly didn’t get any special treatment (painted green lanes) back in these days. The bike messenger seen here had his work cut out for him weaving through car, horse & pedestrian traffic on trolley tracked wet cobblestone roads and such.

    In these days too, pedestrians carried umbrellas to stay dry because the natural fibers used for coats these days, went from wet to wetter pretty quickly. Today, even though people look like they’re prepared for an impromptu “hike” at a moment’s notice, waterproof clothing (Columbia – Omni-Heat) and shoes (Keen) have really made a big difference for people living in these climes.

    It’s funny the ways our perceptions have been altered over the past eight months of the pandemic; when I spotted the two occupants sitting in the parked car in this photo, I thought, ‘it looks like they’re wearing white face masks’.

  9. My thought on the bicyclist was that things never change. Here he is, blowing through a group of pedestrians, sure that everyone will stop to keep him safe.

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