Perhaps it was a big shopping event that drew all the cars to the Portland Public Market on the westside waterfront in 1941. Wholesale destruction of Portland’s cast-iron buildings in the nearby area had not begun by this time but the coming decades would provide even more parking as many of the old buildings along Front and 1st Avenue fell to the wreckers.
This 1938 aerial view gives us a distant overview of several images we discussed earlier this week. It’s also a good comparison with a photo with the same approximate perspective from 10 years earlier.
Although this photo is labeled as “SE” Water Avenue, a close examination of the stamped concrete on the corner shows this to be the intersection of Water and Columbia Street, which is on the west side. The vantage point today is roughly the center of the bowl in Waterfront Park at the foot of Columbia Street.
Construction of the westside seawall and sewer continues in this 1928 photo. All this activity is taking place between the Burnside (behind) and Morrison Bridges, with the Hawthorne Bridge even farther to the south. The building at right is the 1882 Starr block, on Pine Street, demolished in 1942.
The newly constructed World Trade Center 1 looms in the background behind The Old Main Tavern at SW 1st Avenue & Main Street in 1975. Neither the Old Main nor the cast-iron building to the left would survive the next few years. Read more about the Old Main Tavern at this previous VP post.
It’s almost hard to imagine today’s Riverplace and South Waterfront areas looked like this almost a half century ago. Construction of the west end of the Marquam Bridge passed over property that had seen highly industrial riverfront activity since Portland’s founding over a hundred years prior to this. The area once covered by Alaska Steel is still largely undeveloped but the SW Moody Project and TriMet’s light rail line signal further development.