27 thoughts on “SE 92nd Avenue, circa 1931

  1. There seems to be very little about this establishment in the historical newspapers. (I’ll look forward to see what Dennis can find!) Here’s all I could find:

    RESTAURANTS RANK HIGH: East Side Methods Told By Health Officers. Majority of Places Make “Good to Fair” Ratings or Better, Dr. Abele Finds. — Ratings of east side restaurants were announced yesterday by City Health Officer Abele. The report calls attention to the fact that in rating the restaurants no attention is given to the quality of food served, but that the rating refers to equipment, methods of handling foodstuffs and general cleanliness of the premises. … The complete report follows: [here follows a very long list of restaurant names and addresses, including Tom’s Coffee house, 5940 Ninety-second street Southeast, 93} (Earlier in the article the number ratings were explained. Excellent was 95 or better, 90 to 95 was good, etc.)
    — Oregonian, July 28, 1926, p. 6 (I left the capitalization as the paper has it.)

  2. Every picture tells a story and this one certainly is a standout in that regard. I feel for this man, he looks like he’s been riddin’ hard and put away wet.

  3. Liz
    I found the same info. that you found on restaurant ratings, which makes the following story about Tom’s rather interesting.

    Oregonian July 15, 1930 page 11
    Restaurant Man Arrested
    Thomas Bresseau, 80 was arrested by Deputy Sheriff Talley and Kelly yesterday on a charge of keeping a restaurant in an unclean an unhealthful condition. The restaurant is at 5940 Ninety second street Southeast.

    Mr. Bresseau was mention in one other newspaper story when a police patrolman stood up after dining at his lunch counter and dropped dead of a heart attack.

  4. Thomas Bresseau is listed in the Portland City Directories for several years, beginning in 1901, where he is shown as “hlpr Joseph Supple.” (hlpr is “helper.) In 1914, he’s listed as resident, Goodnough Building. By 1927, we see his name paired with “restr 5940 92d SE h do.” In 1933, simply “5940 92d SE.”

    According to the U.S. Death Index for Oregon, 1898-2008, Mr. Bresseau died in Portland on January 17, 1935.

    We know of Dennis’ report from the July 15, 1930 Oregonian. On July 4 (p. 18), the same paper listed him along with several others under a headline, “GRAND JURY INDICTS SIX – Burglary, Robbery, Forgery and Dirty Café Among Charges.” The other five people were not involved in Bresseau’s matter.

    Intriguingly, there are very few Bresseaus in the sources available via the Multnomah County Public Library, but knowing from the July 15, 1930 Oregonian that Thomas Bresseau was 80 years old, I wonder if the following might be the same man? There is a 1924 naturalization record for a Tom Bresseau, 71 years old, born in Quebec, Canada on April 18, 1853 but in 1924 residing at 9128 Woodstock Ave., Portland, Oregon. He promises to renounce his allegiance to George V, King of Great Britain and Ireland. The record states that he arrived at the port of Edward in New York in 1867. He is described as white, medium complexion, 6 ft. 2 in. and weighing 160 pounds, with grey hair and brown eyes. His occupation is listed as confectionery. (One reason I think he may be “our” Thomas Bressau is that I did the search globally for Thomas or Tom Bresseau, not limiting it to Oregon, and still came up with only this one!)

  5. This was taken 2 years into the great depression, and I am sure that Tom was working long hours, and not making much money, I believe that this photo depicts the great hardship of those days.

  6. I really like the font used for the sandwich sign.
    Woody Guthrie lived on 92nd, about 2 blocks over (6109 92nd), while he was working for the BPA… a few years later?

  7. Dennis, I see the resemblance. I realize Mr. Bresseau probably had a difficult life; it’s written in his face. And 1931 was a hard time to be in business, just two years following the disastrous stock market crash. I take back my earlier sarcastic remark. What do any of us really know about how it would be to walk a mile in his shoes?

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