30 thoughts on “SW Barbur Boulevard, 1953

  1. I remember when telephone numbers had exchange names. Not sure what EA stood for but today would be 32. In Spokane 32 stood for FAirfax. When this picture was taken phone numbers had 2 letters and 4 numbers. The switch to 2 letters and 5 numbers happened in Portland in 1955. Not sure when phone numbers switched to all numbers.

  2. The VP photo from April 23, 2014 shows a better view of the work happening here to add a additional southbound lane.

  3. If I’m lining up things correctly, the gas station has been replaced by a small office building that I used to work from. One of the current tenants is The Hardy Plant Society of Oregon which has over 3,200 members and is one of the largest garden / horticulture organizations on the west coast. The roofline of the building just past the gas station is probably Swan Market which is still there.

  4. regarding Lady Bird Johnson – there’s a new podcast about her that is absolutely fascinating. She did audio recordings and wrote extensive diaries. The podcast includes her actual voice speaking about things plus additional information from a researcher who has recently written a biography. It is a terrific podcast and will be especially interesting to those who lived during that point in history. It’s called “In Plain Sight: Lady Bird Johnson”

  5. Drew— Wikipedia has a list of old telephone exchanges and they show EA is for EAst or EAstgate #32

  6. Susan: Lady Bird Johnson’s Highway Beautification Act of 1965 did remove many billboards, but it never was able to remove the large Uncle Sam Billboard on I-5 near Chehalis WA.
    The sign still stands, along with its ever-changing message.

  7. Lady Bird certainly had an impact, but I don’t think that was the case here. A couple of the billboards here disappeared as buildings were built, and it looks as if the biggest of them remains:

  8. The billboard behind the woman walking with her two boys is an ad for Francis Ford. An article in The Oregonian from Feb. 9th, 1982 says “Oregon’s fourth oldest Ford dealership, 68-year-old Francis Ford is the latest to close its doors.” The poor economy and an inability to move cars were given as reasons for the closure.
    Francis Ford opened for business in 1925 and most recently was owned and operated by James A. Woods and John Manougian.

    With the latest closure, Ford has lost five Oregon dealerships in little more than a year, including three in the downtown area. The automaker now has nine dealerships in the Portland metropolitan area.

    This looks to have been a most pleasant, weekday afternoon. I wonder where these people were headed or coming from? Perhaps the woman and her kids had just dropped their car off at the gas station for repairs or had eaten a snack at what might be a restaurant/cafe next to the Signal Gas station, and were walking home.

    The elderly gentleman next to the roadside might perhaps be waiting at looks like it might be a bus stop next to the roadway; since he’s off the footpath.

    Barbur Blvd. looked nicer back in 1953; more open space, fewer streets branching off of it, but always heavily travelled and billboarded.

    There look to be a few tradesmen finished for the day heading home in their pickups.

    I can’t identify the car merging into traffic on the left…possibly a 1952 Studebaker Commander.

  9. The billboards, gas station, pickup truck, sidewalks..
    So much racsism in that picture. It’s a shame to Portland.

  10. Yes Lawanda, It’s inconceivable that such a pleasant image could actually be something that could be enjoyed by ALL Americans who may gaze upon it. .
    Oh the Political Inhumanity.. !

  11. Car looks like a Kaiser. Francis Ford at Hawhorne and Grand. Far left billboard is for “Sunbeam bread” baked at Davidson’s bakery at roughly 21st, and Sandy. I think the building is still there. I like the billboards for nostalgia reasons. Friend of mine was a lot boy at Francis when a lady brought here 47 Buick in to trade on a Pinto, He bought it for 300 bucks and sold it in the early 80’s for I believe around 3000.

  12. The Oregonian on May 16, 1971 (P 129) has a story that State of Oregon had been dragging it’s feet on the Highway Beautification act of 1965 to remove billboards & outdoor advertising until the Federal Government told the State they would loose 10 percent of their Federal Highway dollars. The Oregon legislature introduced House & Senate bills that could lead to removal of 681 signs on Interstates and nearly 3000 signs on State highways.

  13. Guess I’m not understanding the racism others are seeing. In the billboards, truck, sidewalks? Can you spell it out for me.

  14. White bread, white people, even the truck has the cab and doors symbolically painted white to indicate where the control of power takes place. There’s more if you look.

  15. I’m about as liberal as it gets. To say this is racist is totally absurd. Keep it up and we’ll have more presidents like Trump.

  16. wploulorenziprince, If you recognize a 1952 Kaiser you can recognize a 1951. From the photo angle the only difference is larger tail lights on the 1952. Identical body.

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