14 thoughts on “SE Morrison Street, circa 1953

  1. Today’s view (location is actually a block east of Water, at the railroad crossing, on what is essentially SE 1st St.)

  2. Can anyone tell me what that little half-timbered, hoisted-up building is by the railroad tracks? Some kind of signal station? And Cody, thanks for today’s view. It looks ghastly now!

  3. Looking West on SE Morrison with the old Morrison bridge in the distance and if you look closely the twin towers of the old Portland Public Market can be seen.

  4. That is an awesome photo VP! Outstanding work this morning.
    I’m guessing this is the ‘before’ picture of the new Morrison bridge plan. Thanks to Cody and Brian, we’ve seen the after.

  5. Interesting, Portland a few months before I was born…
    That’s a cool elevated signal house at the crossing, where ever this once was.
    That looks to me like the two big Portland Public Market building spires sticking put in the background.
    Living in Portland was probably much nicer then, but businessmen and politicians in suits are always up to no good (behind the scenes) in their pursuit of money and power; so it never lasts.

  6. Those little raised shacks were located at most grade crossings all the way south to Hawthorne Blvd. I believe they were manned by the railroad employees who operated the crossing signals before the automatic crossing gates shown in the picture were installed. The old signals were the wig-wag type, which consisted of a large metal disk with a red light in its center. The disk was connected to an overhead mechanism with a metal beam a couple of feet long, giving it a banjo shape. In operation the disk, with the red light illuminated, would swing back and forth while a bell rang.

    Crossing gates were, and are, expensive to install but the railroad more than made it up over time through the elimination of the crossing operator jobs. This picture was apparently taken not long after the gates were installed because those elevated shacks were removed fairly quickly after the changeover.

  7. Robin Thompson: I think you are right that the “little half-timbered, hoisted-up building is by the railroad tracks” is some kind of signal station. I wonder why they suspended it above ground. I suspect this little building was taken out when they built the current Morrison Bridge.

  8. It’s a ghastly sight under those viaducts, but imagine if a train could still completely cut off SE from downtown, the way they still do infamously on SE 11th on the same tracks. A train would cause gridlock on I5!

  9. Oilstove inside the guard tower !
    Its wonderful those towers are gone. Replaced by ground level tents.

  10. The VP photo on June 19, 2013 shows this location in 1915 and the small elevated tower. If you enlarge the photo you will see what looks like a person sitting inside, and the tower has a bell attached on the outside. @oldwxwatcher left a comment on that date the tower allowed the person to see approaching trains, and he would start ringing the bell on the outside as a warning, the bell were later replaced by manually activated wig – wag signals, and finally by automatic crossing gates in the 1950’s.

  11. Mommy when I grow up I want to work in the little signal house, like that guy. What a job, eh?

  12. Couple of comments: yes, the elevated building was a manned station to operate the gates. Second, the tower faintly on the background is one of two atop the Oregon Journal building on front street (former Public Market).

Comments are closed.