Pioneer Courthouse, 1915

Portland looked every inch the modern, sophisticated city in this 1915 portrait featuring Pioneer Courthouse in the center. The Portland Hotel hosted well-heeled travelers to the west while the American Bank Building and the newly completed portion of the Meier & Frank Building projected wealth and prestige. This view is to the northwest and the intersection at bottom right is SW 5th and Morrison.

A2004-002.1441 Post Office square 1915(City of Portland Archives)

SW Morrison St, 1949

Of all the most immediately identifiable sections of Portland’s central core area, this stretch of SW Morrison Street between 6th and 5th Avenues would be near the top of the list. This 1949 view shows the Meier & Frank building on the left with the fence and lawn of Pioneer Courthouse on the right. The next block holds the Kress department store on the left and the Corbett Building with the 5th & Morrison Fred Meyer on the right. Are those Valentine’s hearts in the M&F windows?

(City of Portland Archives)

Biplanes Over Portland, 1920

I don’t know why the artist felt the need to place dozens of biplanes in the skies over Portland but the planes give a rather dramatic, yet whimsical, perspective to the downtown core area of 1920.

(Library of Congress)

SW Morrison & 5th, 1907

The heart of downtown Portland is shown in this nice 1907 image; SW 5th Avenue crosses in the foreground as we look west on Morrison Street. Even though all the buildings except the Pioneer Courthouse on the left have been replaced, it’s a pretty recognizable scene even today. And as we’ve seen a number of times, today’s MAX Light Rail cars now rumble over some of the same routes that early streetcars did over a hundred years ago.

(City of Portland Archives)

Pacific Building, c1926

This gorgeous photo features the brand-new Pacific Building, on SW Yamhill between 5th and 6th Avenues. Taken from the courtyard of the Portland Hotel (a bit of which peeks out from the right side), it also shows the Pioneer Courthouse and those comfort stations on the corner.

(University of Oregon Libraries)

SW 5th & Morrison, 1949

It was a busy day downtown in this 1949 photo during Oregon Traffic Safety Week. Shoppers, workers on their lunch breaks, and sailors are among those who jam the sidewalks while the Junior Safety Patrol tries to keep them all separated from traffic. Three of the four corners are relatively unchanged today; only the Corbett Building, the photographer’s vantage point, is gone now, replaced by Pioneer Place.

(City of Portland Archives)