29 thoughts on “SE Belmont Street, circa 1959

  1. The e-files copy says that Golden’s Sewing Machines is pictured, and when I downloaded and magnified the photo, I think I can see it on the left.

    The Oregonian had numerous ads (in the regular classified section) in 1955 such as this one (November 21, p. 31) reading: “GOLDEN’S — Come to us and save on new and used straight and zig zag machines incl. famous Phoenix pushbutton automatic. 2402 SE Belmont ____ BE_6-0575”

    On October 20, 1976 (p. 40) this notice appears in the same paper: “GOLDEN — W.J. Jack, Hetarts, formerly Portland. Golden’s Sewing Machine Co. 20 years. Husband of Elizabeth; father of Edna and Doris, both Mich; Doneida Wiles, Beaverton; Robert McPhail, Portland; 9 grandchildren, 2 great grandchildren. Funeral services Thursday, Oct 21.”

  2. Okay, I am a total nerd. The phone number in Liz’s post is BE 6-0575. I think BE was short for Belmont. How many remember when numbers had exchange names? Back then you knew the approximate location of a number based on the exchange name. Also, I believe Portland switched to seven digit dialing on September 1, 1955. Spokane switched to seven digit dialing on August 4, 1956. By the way, I drive my wife crazy when I recount information like this.

  3. Drew — I purposefully typed in that phone number just for the sorts of rumination you provided! Thanks! (P.S. I grew up with the exchange name LI, for LIBERTY — down in California.)

  4. Drew, I grew up in SW Portland. I remember an ATwater number, then we moved and got a BEacon number. Then it changed to 7-digits, and we got a CApitol-3 number. So I’m pretty sure that it was Beacon and not Belmont.

  5. I lived one house west of this intersection in the early 1980s. Many people missed that turn and ended up in our front lawn after an evening at Belmont Inn. I always wondered why the City didn’t buy the abandoned streetcar alignment that was featured in a recent post.

  6. When I lived in Portland, I used Tri-Met exclusively, and whenever I rode bus 15 back into the city, they would have some difficulty negotiating this sharp uphill curve with the right rear wheel hopping over the curb and clunking back down on the street.

    The ‘Olympia Beer’ (my grandmother’s favorite as she was born in Olympia) billboard has been replaced with a homely little building.

    Having lived in numerous “leafy” neighborhoods in Portland (Woodstock/Eastmoreland & Kings Hill areas) and experienced the mess they make in winter, I’m not as keen on all the trees as I once was. I think Portland went way overboard with the tree planting. In the current photos of the area, one can see they’re an obstruction – making it harder to spot pedestrians at the cross-walk. A tree planted on an island in the roadway is not a happy tree. There have been quite a few times when I look at VP photographs and I find myself thinking that I sort of prefer the uncluttered look of the old photographs over many views from today.

    I like all the car “action” in this photo. It’s the best post we’ve had a quite a few days. Thank you.

  7. I lived on 45TH and thus area was frequently traveled. This is what it looked like for a long time. My phone, which was EA 5488 was a 2 party line.

  8. that couplet has been in place for almost 100 years- wow!

    re: tel exchanges, there was also one up on Tabor. Not sure what its letters were.

  9. add on to the BE (belmont) telephone exchange. I recall our number was BE (belmont) 4-XXXX. I also the a cab company that advertised on their lighted car roof sign, CA (captiol)7-1234. “Captiol Cab right to your door.”

  10. Re Telephone Exchanges In addition to SE Portland’s BElmont and CApitol (which seemed to dominate the West Side by the early 1960s), ATlantic, PRospect were both East Side exchanges. I want to suggest MOhawk, OLive and CHerry as well but I might be mistaken. Or they might have been in the suburbs such as Oregon City. Mitchell now that I remember was a Washington county exchange. They begin to fade into Oregon’s history in the early 1960s. I think we’d all embraced seven digit dialling by the end of 1962.

  11. A aerial photo of this intersection from 1955 it shows that Belmont was still a two-way street.
    Sunday Oregonian May 18, 1958 page 18

    SE Belmont and Morrison Traffic Changes Due Monday
    The one-way street grid in southeast Portland will be extended Monday when SE Belmont St. from the Morrison Bridge to 25th Ave. and SE Morrison St. from 25th Ave to 11th Ave. become one-way thoroughfares. The changes will be put in effect at 10 am The City Bureau of Traffic Engineering said changes are being made now to acquaint the public with traffic pattern to be followed when the Morrison Bridge is opened May 24th.

    Regarding telephone exchange names Wikipedia has a list of exchange names, but the next time you hear the exchange KLondike (55) used in a old Film or TV show it was only used for for this purpose, and was never a real exchange.

  12. As for telephone exchanges, MItchell 9 (649) was Beaverton / Aloha and MIdway 8 (648) was Hillsboro / Forest Grove. However, I will date myself by saying our first phone on the farm in Tualatin Valley was a “wall cranker on a party line” and we had 4 rings… (2 longs…1 short…1 long). That was in the late 40’s or early 50’s, (I think)

  13. Chris — Those two videos you gave us links to are fascinating! I didn’t realize how new the concept of rotary dialing was to the majority of Americans until I saw the one on how to dial a number. And as for what went on in the exchange buildings — I’d taken using a rotary telephone for granted and was interested in learning how the system worked. Now, however, I can’t get past thinking that communication via wifi is magic .

  14. Oh, and 1 more bit of trivia! If you look at a dial on an older phone, you will notice that there is NO LETTER Q. When you go past MNO on the dial, the next set of letters is PRS (Why no Q.. I don’t know.) Maybe it was so nobody could call a prefix of Quincy, Quacky, or Qwazy?

  15. Belmont was a SE exchange but Cherry was an outer SW, think Hillsdale/Raleigh hills are around Wilson High School and Alpeonse Dairy area. Our old exchange was CA 7 2345, which was changed to 227-2345. Long gone with the 405 freeway built in the area of 5th and Sherman.

  16. I can’t resist: our phone # in Spokane was FAirfax 5****. After move to Wallace, Idaho, it was SKyline 3****. Mullan was PRospect, Kellogg was SUnset, Coeur d’ Alene was MOhawk.

  17. Our first phone number was EAst 5481, pretty close to Judy C. We lived near 55th & Halsey, got the phone in the mid forties. Later Ma Bell changed us to WEbster 7557 which later became ATlantic 2-7557. It first we had a 4 party line, we would only hear a short ring or a long ring, can’t remember which we had. That was followed a 2 party line where we would hear just our ring. Finally we got a private line, that was heaven.

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