13 thoughts on “Downtown Portland, circa 1935

  1. All those wonderful buildings will soon be destroyed to build Harbor Drive. I think this photo also shows the buildings and parking lots that were in the photo a few days ago.

  2. I’m struck by how many streetcar lines used to serve that area. There’s not really a block that didn’t have tracks.

  3. Referencing the Gadsby’s Furniture Co. billboard seen in this photo, here is a link to see some ads from the Oregonian taken out by the company. There are also detailed color photos of actual furniture pieces manufactured by the company. The furniture store was at Washington & First Streets and the furniture was made at the Gadsby Building in the Pearl District.

    That beautiful freighter moving upriver is empty and is perhaps about to pick up another load of cargo somewhere before returning to another port. When I was a boy living in Montara California (a coastal town 25 miles south of San Francisco) my friends and I used to watch freighters and tanker ships off the coast from our expansive vantage point. These were still, quiet moments spent in the golden light of many afternoon suns, that made us dream of traveling to far off places. We could also see the Farallon Islands from the Main St. Container ships just don’t have the same charm these wonderful freighters did.

  4. Elliott, it appears to me to be the same day just moments before. The cargo ship passing the bridge at the same time is in the 2014 picture you linked to this one

  5. Vlad the link that Elliott has with his comment shows what could be the original 1919 tug Portland standing by to assist, and this photo could possibly be from 1939 when only 5 cruisers were part of fleet week.

    Here is a story of from the Oregonian August 15, 1939

    Sailor Forgiven For River Splash

    The sailor who “missed the boat” or, rather Seaman Carl Schmitt, who fell overboard and was left futilely splashing in the Columbia river (near Cathlamet) as the USS Nashville left Portland recently, will not be penalized for being A.O.W.L. from his ship, the Navy recruiting office learned Monday. It was while the five United States cruisers were slipping down the Columbia at the end of Portland’s fleet week that Seaman Schmitt, up late the night before, dozed near the stern of the vessel, fell overboard and swam to shore.
    Order received
    The unfortunate sailor then returned to Portland and was ordered to rejoin his ship at San Pedro. According to a letter received here from Captain W. W. Wilson, commanding officer of the cruiser Nashville, Seaman Schmitt will be reimbursed for expenses incurred in traveling from Portland to San Pedro and will escape any disciplinary action.

  6. I’m surprised someone else hasn’t commented but is there a reason to revisit this photo which is linked under the related post “Downtown Portland, circa 1935” (above) from last September?

  7. I love this photo and don’t mind seeing it a second time. It’s significant because it shows Portland still with remnants of its origin just before a huge transition that would wipe those remnants away.

    I see the location where F. W. Pettygrove built the first wood frame store, Front and Washington. I see the parking lot NE corner Front and Morrison where John Waymire’s cabin sat and think of his daughter who later said “Our nearest neighbors’ dogs could be heard barking somewhere in the woods, and the smoke from their fires could be seen curling up above the trees but we could not see anyone because of the heavy timber.”

    I see Portland’s first commercial district alongside its first Chinatown. I can only imagine the scene at 2nd and Alder where the Chinese Theatre played into the early hours of the morning.

    I see the the back of the W. S. Ladd building, first brick building in Portland, west side of Front. I see the old hotels: St. Charles, Gilman House, New Occidental and The Esmond annex which also wore those famous bay windows that the main hotel was known for.

    I see the banks: Ladd & Tilton, SW corner 1st and Stark, First National, SE corner of 1st and Washington, Commercial National and Portland Savings Bank, SW corner of 2nd and Washington, all gone now but I see buildings still in place. Hallock-McMillan and a small piece of Fechheimers & White and the Northrup, Blossom & Fitch all on Front Street. On 1st there’s Strowbridge, Harker, Love and Van Rensselaer. On 2nd still exist even more.

    From a historical standpoint I think this is the most important photograph ever posted on Vintage Portland.

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