Before & After: N. Ivanhoe, 1975


We return to the wasteland of St. Johns in 1975, here at  the corner of N. Ivanhoe and  John St. Today a USPS office and safeway occupy the vacant lot.


Mystery Location


This is a little confusing. I have this as SW 1st and Gibbs, 1977. But when I look around there for an ‘after’ shot I get nothing. Maybe this was mislabeled or simply doesn’t exist?

If you can ID the house, I will put that up!

Update: House is located at 3333 SW 1st Ave. Thanks for solving this one guys!


Before & After: Vermont @ 30th 1975

This picture reminds me how few I have of SW. A real shame as we can see here, the changes are more subtle but still interesting.

Some things I noticed: the old bus stop signs and shelter. Passing was allowed in strange places in 1975. This intersection was signalized and curbed probably shortly after. The fire hydrant is unchanged. The powerlines are more annoying now.

Before & After: Division @ 32nd, 1977

Such a shame what happened to this once humble neighborhood, now teeming with corporate relocates and culture vultures. I really think someday we will regret all this sloppy construction.


Steigerwald Dairy Milk Bottle

The annals of early 20th century roadside architecture are littered with the sad reality that novelty buildings in strange shapes hold little promise of future adaptability. This was never truer than the tortured fate of the Steigerwald Milk bottle at the corner of Sandy and 37th Ave in Portland which has managed to look sadder with every passing iteration since its original glory as a giant milk bottle.

The bottle/building stood 75-ft tall and was the tallest structure in Northeast Portland when it was built in 1926. Inside, an iron spiral stair permitted access to the circular roof, atop which a Christmas tree with electric bulbs was erected every December. Ten years later the dairy was sold and with it the building to Pabco Paint. The bottle was blunted to become a couple of paint cans stacked on end. In 1940, 7-Up made use of the bottle and placed an iconic art-decco sign with animated carbonated bubbles rising.

By 2002 the derelict neon was repurposed as a Budweiser sign built on the same base and thus looking quite amorphous. Most recently the sign has morphed into its ugliest version yet: an ad for Director’s Mortgage, consistent with that firm’s tradition of aggressively ugly advertising. Lets hope the shocking rise in property values leads a wise developer to see the potential for this landmark building and does something imaginative with it.

Before & After: SW Bancroft and Moody, 1974

Another rough February day back in 1974 when this shot looking South at Moody and Bancroft when this pic was taken. This shelter is the terminus of the fledgling Willamette Shore Trolley (WST) which operates in the historical novelty attraction mode.

Some interesting history on the trolley:

edited for length from WST

The Right-of-way of the WST dates back to the 1880’s as a narrow gauge steam railroad linking Portland to Oswego (as Lake Oswego was known back then) and south into the Willamette Valley. The Southern Pacific acquired the line and converted it to standard gauge.

In 1914 the line was electrified and Red Electric Interurban service was born. One could board a Red Electric Car and ride to Portland, Beaverton, Hillsboro, Newberg, McMinnville and Corvallis. In 1921 the Elk Rock Tunnel was opened replacing a wooded trestle then went around Elk Rock. In 1929 passenger service ended. Freight service continued until 1983.

In 1984 the Southern Pacific filed for abandonment of the line from Lake Oswego to Portland. A Consortium of local governments and agencies acquired the line to preserve for a future transit use.

The line was extended north to Riverplace at one point, but was later cut back to Moody St to permit Portland Streetcar to enter the south water front district. In recent years the line has been cut back to Powers Marine Park to permit construction of the Sellwood Bridge. It is hoped service to to South Waterfront will be restore later in 2016.

Before & After: SE Bybee @ 23rd, 1977

Some fantastic clunkers on display here at SE Bybee @ 23rd back in 1977. Not a whole lot has changed at this particular intersection. Though the striping, service poles and crosswalk have all been edited. I think that is a ’57 Plymouth but I am no expert. Hard to believe such florid car design was but 20 years old when this pic was shot, the modern day equivalent of seeing a 1995 car today.