Monday, December 31, 2007

Vinton Building

Vinton Building, 1925

Most traces of the Vinton Building signs are now gone; faded, painted over, or marked with graffiti. Even by 1996 the descriptive sign down the right side of the building was indecipherable.

Adjacent to the A.G. Long "Fire Apparatus" building (my previous post), this can be seen from NW 6th and Couch.


Friday, December 28, 2007

Fire Apparatus

A.G. Long Building, 1904

Alexander Gotwald Long erected this building in 1904 to house his fire apparatus business. The signs are still nicely preserved and very visible from the corner of NW 6th and Couch. The building is adjacent to the Neville Bag Company in my previous post.

"While conducting his business at No. 170 Second street, in the Strowbridge building, Mr. Long erected his own building at 45-47 North Fifth street, near Couch, a three-story brick structure, fifty by one hundred feet into which he removed. He then began the manufacture of small apparatus but continued also to represent the large eastern factories. He continued in the location on North Fifth street until 1910, when he leased his building there, that property becoming very valuable. During the summer of 1910 he erected a fine brick three-story building, fifty by one hundred feet, on Sixteenth street between Marshall and Northrup, in the new warehouse district near the Hill terminals, and has recently removed his stock to the new location."
- Portland, Oregon, Its History and Builders, Joseph Gaston

His building on NW 16th also carries a ghost sign.


Thursday, December 27, 2007


Neville Bag Company, 1905

The Neville Bag Company manufactured burlap, bags, twine, ropes, etc. in this building in the early 20th century at NW 5th and Davis. At least one paint-over makes this hard to decipher. You can see this from NW 6th and Davis.


Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Bow Yuen

Bow Yuen & Co., 1889

Bow Yuen & Co. sold general Chinese merchandise from this building at the corner of NW 4th and Davis. "69 N. 4th St. - Oriental Goods & Brasswork" is still barely visible. It's tough to see any of this from the street, I took this photo from NW 5th between Couch and Davis.


Thursday, December 20, 2007

Empire Uniform

The wall that held the "Empire Uniform Mfg. Co." sign is gone but the building remains. If you look closely at the brick building on the left, notice that the top floor was removed and the arches lowered; they are now level with the top of the building on the right. A new multi-story apartment building was then added above that in 1998.

Notice also to the far right of the 1996 photo, above the brown brick, you can see an "&" peeking out. That is the same "&" as in my previous Kleiser Signs post.

You can see this view from the corner of NW 4th and Everett.


Monday, December 17, 2007

Kleiser Signs

At one time this read "Foster & Kleiser Signs" and was visible from the corner of NW 4th and Flanders. Erected in 2003, The Pacific Tower apartment building now stands there.

Walter Foster and George Kleiser were outdoor advertising's original pioneers. They began doing business as Foster & Kleiser Outdoor Advertising in 1901 and were probably responsible for many of Portland's old painted signs I've illustrated in this blog. Their business grew tremendously in the 20th century, being sold and acquired several times throughout the years. It's now known as Clear Channel Outdoor, a division of giant Clear Channel Communications.


Thursday, December 13, 2007


The Biltmore Hotel, 1905

Harry must have had quite a nice little business to afford such a prominent and elaborate building ad like this. Unfortunately it's fading significantly and probably won't be readable for many more years.

See it from NW 5th and Everett.


Thursday, December 6, 2007



Several ads graced this wall at various times. Not much left except "Tires" and "Liberal Credit." Stand at NW Broadway and Flanders to see what's left.


Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Boxer Marcus Co.


You have to step way back to NW 4th and Glisan to see this sign almost three blocks to the west. "Boxer Marcus" seems to be painted over an older "Boxer Fixtures" ad. These are probably earlier iterations of the current "Boxer Northwest" restaurant supply business in this and adjacent property.


Saturday, December 1, 2007

Office and Factory


Not having written the location of this building on my 1996 photo, I thought the two buildings had been demolished because I had trouble finding either sign or buildings. Happily, the building on the left (with sign) remains, while the one on the right is gone. While the "Office and Factory" sign is still in existence, it's butted right up against the new high-rise to the east. Barring a catastrophe, we'll never see it again.

What kind of "Office and Factory" this was, I'm unable to determine. It may have been "Columbia Window Shades" or one of the other businesses advertised along the building's north face. The building stands at the corner of NW 5th and Flanders. The new building alongside is Old Town Lofts.

Look carefully from NW 5th and Flanders and you can see the tip of the backside of the sign, butted up against the new building to the east.