SW Front Avenue, 1930 Posted on May 19, 2023 by Vintage Portland 15 SW Front Avenue and SW Stark Street (SW Harvey Milk Street), 1930. City of Portland (OR) Archives, AP/55122. View this image in Efiles by clicking here. Rate this:Share this:FacebookPinterestTwitterEmailRedditLike this:Like Loading... Related
The original 1872 Pittock’s Block front and center with the J.S. Smith Building(s) to the right.
Numbers man hard at work
Edited to add: The 1887 date at the top of the building came about when a third floor was added to the 1872 structure. The cast iron pattern on the 1872 portion was the same as used on the extant Smith Block.
Source: The Grand Era of Cast Iron Architecture In Portland by William J. Hawkins III.
On further comparison, I see there are some minor differences between the Pittock’s Block and the Smith Block.
The second floor window arches share a single pilaster on Pittock’s Block whereas the second floor windows on the Smith Block don’t. The first floor of the Smith Block has applied cast iron filigree in the spandrels between the arches, and Pittock’s Block appears to be missing them in this image. Of course, it could be that both buildings were altered at some point with the Smith Block losing its second floor pilasters and Pittock’s Block losing the filigree.
The younger number man. It’s been awhile since he’s been in photo posted here. I wonder what that plaque says on that corner post.
Looks like Savinar Co. Inc eventually moved out of the wholesale livestock business into what is now a Private Wealth Management firm with son’s Thomas & Alexander Savinar.
Keystone Press may have also survived to the current day only, in New Hampshire; where they do digital, offset, large format, graphic services, bindery & print making.
I can’t really tell if there is a driver at the wheel of the car on the right of the #Man. The oval clear spot on the dirty windshield of the nearby delivery vehicle is sort of noteworthy.
The rectangular wood and wire produce boxes look the same as the type I used to pack lettuce in at the organic farm (Stone-Free Farms) where I worked part-time in Davis California, back in 1989-90.
The Savinar family has a long and influential presence in Portland. According to The Oregonian, in 1914 “Articles of incorporation of the Savinar Company, a mercantile firm, were filed yesterday by Moses Savinar, Jacob Savinar and Harry Savinar.” (3/20/1914 p. 14)
During subsequent years there were dozens of classified ads like this one:
“POULTRY WANTED: Will pay 15 cents per pound for ordinary hens and 15 ½ and 16 cents per pound for extra heavy and fat ones. Checks mailed daily. No commission. THE SAVINAH CO., 207-8 Stark St. Marshall 687 Portland Or.”
Occasional “help wanted” ads like this also appeared: “WANTED—A bright girl to assist half day in office work; must be very accurate in figuring; steady position. Apply in person. The Savinar Co., 100 Front.” (3/17/1918)
By 1930, articles featured members of the family engaged in civic matters, such as this one: “Water-Front Plan Offered. Harry Savinar…has suggested a plan for the development of the water front by the construction of a huge building from Oak to Salmon street, in which would be housed public markets, storage for automobiles and even an airplane landing field. He suggested that the rent from the facilities proposed would produce $2,259,000 a year on an investment of $6,720,000.” (12/15/1930)
Today’s photo shows the company engaged in the produce business. Looking for information about the move from meat to produce, I found a wonderful interview of Norman Savinar (1916-2010) done in 2004 available at https://www.ojmche.org/oral-history-people/norm-savinar/
Among the information provided in an accompanying transcript
“It is significant as a byline that when my father and my uncle decided to go into the chicken business, the president of the company who could neither speak nor understand English was Moses Savinar who was my grandfather. I have the original papers of incorporation. I have a picture of their first building down on Front Street in Portland. It was more than a chicken business; they were called a commission merchant.
“We called it the chicken business because it was one of the products which we handled. They were among the first so-called “commission merchants” in Portland. My father and my uncle. The name of their company was the Savinar Company. The commission merchant’s job in those days [involved] most of the animals that the farmers grew, like chickens and turkeys and beef and hogs, [that] were “farm slaughtered.” The farmer would slaughter the animal and bring it to the commission merchant who would in turn sell the product to the butcher shops and the restaurants.
[When Norman came home to Portland on leave from military duty during the Second World War] “So what Dad did was to tell me, “Son, there is a business that is for sale. I’m going to buy it and we’ll see what happens.” I said, “Dad, no deal. You will buy it and then I’ll be tied up. I don’t want any part of it.” And he said, “There is nobody running it right now.”… The business was the Portland Ice and Cold Storage Company. It was a refrigerated warehouse and an ice manufacturing plant. … Eventually, at my suggestion, we got into the business, with the Schnitzers, of running our own operation. We were probably the biggest growers of strawberries and processors of strawberries in the state of Oregon at one time.”
Minor White photographed the reverse angle for the WPA on Dec. 14, 1939:
The Pittock Building shown here was burned in a fire on the on the night of August 16, 1931 when it was discovered by the night watchman at 7:30 pm, and burned for 5 hours. The Oregon Journal headline said the building was destroyed in their August 17 edition, and the Oregonian headline August 17 said the building was wrecked.
Excerpts Oregonian August 17, 1931
Three alarm fire hits waterfront.– Building occupied by produce and press concerns badly damaged; chickens burned.
Fire that spread rapidly through oil soaked floors last night wrecked the upper two floors of the building at the southeast corner of Front and Stark streets, erected in 1871 by Henry L Pittock and occupied for 20 years by The Oregonian. Damage was estimated at more than $35,000
and the efforts of three fireboats and 19 companies of motor driven fire apparatus were taxed before it was placed under control.
Fireboats and engine companies threw immense amounts of water upon the fire, flooding Front street in front of the building to a depth of more than two feet (Oregon Journal said 18″). Clouds of smoke hindered the firemen.
Two thousand live chickens on the third floor of the structure were burned to death, while 1500 chickens in the first floor as well as 35 carcasses of hogs, 125 lambs and 30 veal carcasses were believed destroyed.
Savinar Produce relocated to a building at Front & Washington which they purchased in December 1931 along with another produce company, I’am not sure if the Pittock building was repaired or demolished after the fire, but it was still owned by the Pittock Estate.
Mike the sign says —- Park, I think it is just a parking lot. The numbers man was photographed on the North side holding a block 29 sign on the same day with 2-3 cars parked abreast by the same type of post.
It was also known as the “Oregonian Building” during the years that the paper occupied it. From the Oregon Journal of 8/17/1931 p. 13, “Landmark Destroyed By Flame” it says that the fire broke out on the second floor occupied by the Keystone Press and 19 engine companies (including fireboats) flooded Front St. at Stark St. to a depth of 18 inches. The building was torn down in the months that followed.
Del Griffith’s photo is after the fire when Savinar had moved to the south end of the block at 112-114 Front St. (NE corner of Front & Washington).
Keystone Press was founded in Portland in 1905 by J. Edward Gantenbein. A story in the Oregonian on May 10, 1936 reported that Keystone Press was changing their name to “Glass-Krohn Press” . — J Edward Gantenbein had retired and Glass & Krohn were former employees.
1929 – 1930 Chevrolet, already with a big dent in the fender, to the right of the numbers man.
Wonderful picture — as always they are. Thank you!
The two cars parked to the left in Mulkey Park are (l. to r.) an early 1920s Velie and a 1926 Chevrolet Superior Sedan. As Chris mentioned 261-087 is a 1929 Chevrolet. I won’t bother with Savinar’s truck but the one to the right which is double parked is a 1925 Chevrolet light delivery truck.
love this type of building neo classical with arched windows doors !!!