Friday, March 28, 2008

Seward Hotel

Governor Hotel, 1909

Originally opened as the Seward Hotel in 1909, and renamed Governor Hotel in 1932, the building still has a small slice of its original painted sign showing on the SW Alder side between 10th and 11th.


Friday, March 21, 2008

Entrance on 14th Street

Cotillion Hall Building: 1913

On the east-facing wall of today's Crystal Ballroom is this barely visible "Entrance on 14th Street" sign. It may have referred to Cotillion Hall or, later, Ringler's Dancing Academy.

View this from SW 13th and Washington.


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Hotel Joyce/Fish Grotto

Hotel Joyce: 1912

The Hotel Joyce building has been at the corner of SW 11th and Stark since 1912. I wouldn't be surprised if the "Hotel Joyce" sign has been there that long too.

The "Fish Grotto" website claims they originated as Zack's Oyster House and have been "a Portland icon for the last 100 years." The current sign is not nearly that old but I wouldn't be surprised if it dates from the 1960s.

Check these out at the corner of SW 10th and Stark.


Monday, March 17, 2008

Holmes Business College

Building: 1907

85 years ago the "Holmes Business College" white paint stood out starkly against the dark brick on the west and north sides of the building at SW 10th and Washington (see bottom photo below). Today they're faded, overpainted and marred by graffiti.

The "M.E. Dinihanian & Sons" is a beautiful sign but quite new.

2007 (from SW 11th and Washington):
This is the north side of the building. Just out of sight behind the neighboring building graffiti has covered the "School" at the end of the top line. You can also see part of the handsomely lettered "Eastern (something) Company" that you can barely make out in the image below.

2008 (from NW 10th and Stark):

1923 (probably from the top of the Blitz brewery at NW 12th and Burnside):

Friday, March 14, 2008

Fairfield 8

Fairfield Hotel: 1911

This "Fairfield 8" sign, like the Fairfield Hotel itself, has seen better days. Mostly out of reach of taggers, the ad nonetheless shows the effects of years of exposure to the elements. I assume the "8" refers to the price of a night's lodging years ago.

Now called "Fairfield on Stark," the building is a city-owned subsidized housing facility. See this sign from the corner of SW 12th and Stark.


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Ruby Mist

Whitney and Gray Building, 1919

Another endangered sign is the "Ruby Mist" ad on the west end of the Whitney and Gray Building, more commonly known as Jake's Famous Crawfish restaurant.

"Ruby Mist" appears to be a soft drink of some kind, and judging by the dress of the people pictured, the sign may have been painted about the time the building was erected. "Owens & Meek" above that appears to be of about the same vintage. "Registers" Butcher Supplies was obviously painted after, and on top of, Ruby Mist. Taggers further ruined "Ruby Mist" with graffiti, apparently in 1997.

A one-story building just below the signs was demolished in 2007 along with the building on the corner of 12th and Washington, creating an alley leading away from SW Stark. I believe this will be part of the 12th and Washington project currently under development on the south half of the block. Hard to say what the future of this sign is but I'd put it on the endangered list.


Monday, March 10, 2008

Fisher's, Part 2

Building: 1908

This was another old Fisher's Blend Flour sign, more colorful and complete than the one in my previous post. Sadly, this sign no longer exists. The brick building housing Veneta's Deli (and the sign), along with the old Outside In building on the right, were demolished in 2006 to make was for the First Unitarian Church of Portland's new Buchan Building.

Several iterations of "Grocery" and "Meat Market" appeared at the top of the wall, attesting to the building's businesses over the years.


Friday, March 7, 2008

Fisher's, Part 1

Building: 1923

This is one of those "reverse image" phenomenons that can be revealed when a neighboring building is torn down. In this case, a 1915 building on the corner of SW 13th and Washington bore the sign "Fisher's (Blend's Mah Friend)." A building was erected in 1923 that butted up against the sign to the north. Years of direct contact with the painted sign transferred a reverse ghost image to the adjacent building. When the original building, with sign, was demolished in 2007, the reverse ghost remained.

Fisher's Blend Flour once advertised with the caricature of a black baker proclaiming, "Blend's Mah Friend."

On the west end of the wall, "Ward Buick" is visible, apparently advertising a Buick dealership that once did business there.

The 22-story 12th and Washington project is being built on the south side of the block and will cover this sign forever. Now's the time to get down and see it.


Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Dental Arts Bldg.

Dental Arts Building: 1908

The wall adjacent to the "Zell Bros" sign in my previous post also carries a ghost sign, this one on the building's north face. There's not a whole lot of "Dental Arts Bldg" left to see, time having taken a toll. Below the lettering is a barely visible image of spectacles, indicating that the building's history of professional offices included more than dentists.

As with the "Zell Bros" sign, this is facing imminent demolition. You can see this from the street on SW 9th between Yamhill and Morrison, or do as I did and go up a few floors of the parking structure across the street for a better view.


Monday, March 3, 2008

Zell Bros

Dental Arts Building: 1908

If you want to see the Zell Bros sign, get downtown quickly; its days are numbered. The entire block bounded by SW Park and 9th between Yamhill and Morrison is empty and slated for demolition soon. This view is from the Park and Yamhill Nordstrom entrance.