21 thoughts on “Southwest Waterfront, 1941

  1. If you look at the seawall you can see all the timbers there that I assume were put there to protect the seawall from being bumped by ships tying up there. All gone now.

  2. I love these film noir-type images of Portland’s old waterfront; because they have such an atmosphere. The older art deco-styled buildings could be quite large but still pleasing to the eye. I don’t know about the date, but if the date is correct, chances are pretty good that this photo was taken before Dec. 7th. 1941.

    The two men near the water’s edge may have just passed each other. The man walking towards the camera looks to be balancing a box on his left hip and holding a bag with his opposite hand. The fellow behind him is glancing back at him over his shoulder wondering if he’s going to make it to his car without dropping the box. Perhaps the man was watching because the man with the box was cursing to himself because he’d already dropped the box a number of times. Or, perhaps the man carrying the awkward load had refused the help of the man watching him.

    I take it that people piloting the tug boats that are (docked?) at the water’s edge were parked there because there was some sort of stairway leading up to street level; at least it kinda looks like there might be a stairway leading up to the parking lot from the water. I think I see a man on the tug boat.

    There are also some hazy figures near the water’s edge more distant in the background.

    There are a couple of women wearing heavy coats exiting the market with bags heading for their car. There is also someone standing at a window at the pay station conducting business.

    More history on the Powers Goose is to be found here (one photo of 50′ Goose on top of a building). http://www.cafeunknown.com/2015/12/

  3. I think the 2013 photo is earlier than today’s. The “dip” where all the cars are parked appears to have been filled in and the goose building built in its place. So today’s photo would be later.

  4. What a fascinating 1941 photo of an area that has changed so much over the decades. When I was a kid (1950s) Harbor Drive ran between the river and the Portland Public Market Bldg., which was then occupied by The Oregon Journal newspaper. As you sped by in a car on Harbor Dr. you could see the big newspaper presses printing the paper through the large windows. Cody’s Today’s View presents the same scene transformed into Riverfront Park.

  5. One of my favorite VP pics, a treasure trove. Some sections of cement seawall leaning against the massive wood warehouse. The signage, shoppers, cars, and old Morrison Bridge. Might be the best pic of the PPM yet. I agree with Vlad, and wonder if anyone saved the glass tower tops. But my favorite is the goose reflection…I wonder if the photographer knew.

  6. I agree with Susan. In the 2013 photo offered by ssssteven I see the St. Charles Hotel on the southwest corner of Front & Morrison which was torn down in August 1940. So that date of 1941 is clearly wrong.

    Also, I would argue that in the 2013 photo the “goose” building is out of view to the south. It was on the south side of Main Street, so, about 320 feet between it and the Public Market. It’s an optical illusion. The immense size of the Public Market makes it appear closer to the “Foster & Kleiser” (goose) building than it was.

  7. If you count the seawall sections between the ’Goose’ building to the boat access stairway, you will find over 20.
    The picture without the Goose building shows 15 or so.
    Location of the goose building is just out of frame on the aerial photo.

  8. sssteven the June 28, 2013 photo I believe is a postcard image from Sawyers that was taken during early days of the Public Market which opened in December 1933, but the popularity of the market diminished and in 1942 it closed, and the building was then leased by the US Navy in 1943. The VP photo on March 22, 2013 is from 1938 but shows the area between the Public Market and the building with with the Powers Goose on it. This building was likely demolished when Harbor Drive was completed and ran along the seawall behind the Public Market.

  9. Powers Furniture Company was advertising in The Oregonian as far back as the 1870s. For 1941, in addition to numerous entries advertising “SPECIAL TERMS…A YEAR TO PAY,” the company hosted a three-day cooking school in its fifth floor auditorium taught by Miss Anne Hunt, “popular cooking authority.” (January 27, 1941 p. 12)

    An ad they ran on March 6, 1941 (p. 17) was for Virginia House American-Modern Bedroom Ensembles for $99.50 (3 pieces — bed, dresser, and vanity with hanging mirror).

    On April 10, 1941 (p. 13) the paper reported that a $30,320 personal injury damage suit brought against the company by Grace H. Barzee had been settled out of court. “Plaintiff alleged she was injured … when she was struck on the head by an iron rod, part of the framework of an awning, while she was walking past the company’s store at S.W. 3rd avenue and Yamhill street.”

    The company took out a full-page ad on June 18, 1941 (p.3) touting “POWERS DIAMOND JUBILEE: 75 Years of Service to the Home-Makers of Oregon” — replete with photographs of officers and employees from 1866 to 1941, along with a short history of the business, “Oregon’s Oldest and Largest Furniture Store.”

    And two days later (June 20), an article titled “Dad” Thurlow is 91″ said, “It is a very great pleasure to relate that Argumento Thurlow, sometimes called “Archie” and other times, “Dad,” is 91 years old today. In November of this year he will have rounded out 67 years as an employee of the Powers Furniture company…. The Oregonian believes that it speaks for a great many people…when it congratulates Mr. Thurlow… it seems as well to congratulate the Powers organization, too….”

    [All capitalization is as it was in the original newspaper]

  10. Kind of a mystery here regarding the Goose symbol for Powers Furniture Co. in
    the photo. According to the Oregon Historical Society, the Gevurtz Furniture Co., located at 2nd & SW Morrison for close to 50 years “The company used a pelican as its trademark, and its advertising slogan ‘A Little Down on a Big Bill’ became a local catchphrase.” Growing up in Portland and going to school with the Gevurtz family children, I remember that company slogan. So did Powers Furniture use the goose symbol and Gevurtz use the pelican with a bit of down above its bill? Any answers?

  11. Robin if you google ” Cafe unknown Powers Furniture Goose” they has a small story on the goose and a photo of the 50 foot tall goose sign on top of their store at SW 3rd & Yamhill. Powers furniture also had a furniture factory and warehouse that was built in the 1920’s that is still standing at 123 NE 3rd ave in Portland.

  12. Robin, wploulorenziprince provided the link to the Cafe Unknown story Dennis just wrote about. It’s the 6th of today’s comments. It is interesting to think about the choice of pelican for one company, and goose for the other — thanks for pointing that out!

  13. the market building is just so cool solid as can be so well crafted art deco masterpiece don’t know why they demolished it ! so stupid Portland !! WHY ?

  14. Patrick,
    It comes and goes, but Portland has done stupid things since the mid 1800’s.
    Sadly, The past few years are abundant with stupidity. Portland is allowing if not outright encouraging all manner of permitted, unpermitted and criminal destruction to various buildings and properties.

  15. mike,
    the timber on the Seawall was there to protect a ship’s hull and it’s paint from being gouged, scratch and/or dented from the concrete of the Seawall. Damage not only inflected by ‘bumping”, as you call it, but also by tidal fluctuations as well. Now-a-days they use Yokohama’s floating pneumatic fenders for ship protection at the NWPSW.

Comments are closed.