19 thoughts on “SW 6th Avenue, 1964

  1. Here’s some Hilton company history from around this time:
    1963 Hilton establishes its first department of women’s services to stimulate greater
    interest amongst women traveling either in connection with a convention, or
    independently for business or pleasure. These services evolve into the Lady Hilton
    1964 Hilton International is spun off as a separate corporation, with Conrad Hilton as
    President. Two years later, Conrad Hilton’s son Barron succeeds him as president of
    the domestic Hilton Hotels Corp.
    1965 Hilton begins franchising hotels in the United States, becoming the first upscale
    lodging company to develop the concept of franchising hotels. Lady Hilton, Hilton’s first
    concept designed for women travelers is introduced, offering female-only floors or
    rooms and special amenities at select hotels.
    In 1962 the building was the tallest building in the city for three years until surpassed by the Harrison West Condominium Tower in 1965.
    The $12.5 million hotel was dedicated in May 1963 with a ceremony featuring Conrad Hilton, U.S. Senator Mark O. Hatfield, and Mayor Terry Schrunk.

  2. The 67th annual convention of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) was held at Portland’s new Hilton Hotel. The 2,000 members started arriving in Portland on Sunday May 12, 1963 for their one week convention which was the first convention hosted by the Portland Hilton.

  3. This is one of the buildings that inspired Portland planners to prevent sidewalks from being faced by blank walls downtown. This gutted any sort of public life on three of the four sides of a single block. I am puzzled why architects didn’t think of that originally….but their goal was to build a tower on a pedestal.

  4. This beautiful mid-century building was butchered by the architects who remodeled it in the post-modern style in the 1980’s. Aside from the dated and kitchy postmodern detailing the real tragedy was the the paint job which completely covered all the beautiful crush aggregate stone skin. The exposed aggregate was a splendid blend of 3 subtle colors of crushed river rock which was in perfect condition 30 years after construction. the rock itself was rust colored and was painstakingly selected for its color and durability by the architects, I can only imagine it must have come from some part of Eastern Oregon.

  5. I like remodel of the ground floor walls of the Hilton. Before it was ugly and depressing. Now it’s much better.

  6. I apologize: I don’t why my cut&pasted text is displayed like it is; it didn’t look like this until it was posted.

  7. The 1963 Hilton Hotel is a fine example of le Courbusian International style architecture, albeit one with more than a few pre-Brutalist elements. The “tower in a park” aspect of the hotel is pleasing, and gives a nice backdrop to the courtyard elements facing it, like the pool. However, this raised section over the obligatory underground parking lot presents the public with a cold, unfriendly facade that highlights the undercurrents of social change at the time it was designed, namely that buildings in the city ought to more resemble fortresses.

  8. Vlad, it can be both: Miesian in that it is International style, and Corbusian in that it follows the ‘tower in a park’ model.
    And I stand by “Pre-Brutalist” where it presents an unfriendly front to pedestrians and the street, anticipating the Brutalist stuff of the early to mid 1970s where it was anticipated that such buildings would be neighborhood fortresses where suburbanites in their cars can find sanctuary from the lawless gangs on the streets

  9. I was dropped off in late summer 1966 to live in the YMCA waiting for the college to open. I amused myself from my window ogling the women lounging at the Hilton pool below me and across the street.


  11. As a kid, my folks were members of the “International Club” because mostly because we could use the swimming pool, and I spent many summer days splashing and sneaking around the hotel. This photo makes so many memories return…we’d often walk from church, through the park blocks or past Abernathy’s (now Higgins) and stop at the mom-n-pop store next door, and buy 3 jolly ranchers for a penny on our way to the Hilton, towels in hand, flipflops flapping on the hot sidewalks…

    I remember the wide circular staircase from lobby to second floor restaurant. The ten foot metal grates over the air vents with warm air gushing–fun for a quick blow dry. On the Broadway side terrace, the large cement raised beds and trees–during the Rose Parade they’d add bleachers, and we’d have one of the premiere spots to watch the floats each year–back when local high schools had bands and the golf cart pooper scooper clowns were big hits. My first forays into swimming happened in that pool, from tip-toeing at the shallow end playing Marco Polo, my first pencil dives into the deep end, my first diving board dives–the jackknives, cannonballs, and failed front and back flips–splat, right on the back or belly. Getting good at breath holding, I’d discover the cracked floor of the pool, cracked by unfortunate skulls that dove too deep–ahhh, remember the days when we had no safety measures?! Good times. At least we had life guards to yell “no running!”. Eventually, I could swim underwater the length of that pool four times, up and back on one breath, or stay under sitting still for almost three minutes. Eventually, as a teenager, I decided I didn’t need the lobby or locker room, and I’d just jump and push-up the wall where it was shortest, the southwest corner on Salmon and Broadway. I’d leave through the metal gray utility door next to that corner, via the secret stairs behind. I remember when the BeeGees were sunbathing. My sister road the elevator with DuranDuran. One summer, the hotel hosted a dwarfism convention, and what a joy it was, as a child, watching dozens of them enjoy the pool and diving board–I marveled at how they could do double and triple flips like it was nothing! And the Easters, my family might brunch at the International Club Restaurant, and the giant white tuxedo-topped Easter Bunny, that would roam the tables handing out pink, green and gold foil wrapped chocolate eggs….

  12. Even though I was only a child, I felt Portland had really “arrived” when we got a Hilton. That and the Memorial Coliseum.

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