Thursday, May 29, 2008

American Bank Building

American Bank Building, 1912

Hard to say how long this sign has been here; it's definitely not a ghost sign but it has been nicely maintained and looks great. In the heart of downtown at SW Broadway and Morrison, you can see it from a block away at SW Alder.


Thursday, May 22, 2008

Pioneer Park Bldg.

Pioneer Park Building, 1913

The Pioneer Park Building sign is not old but it's in the vintage style, classic and classy. See it on the north-facing side of the building at SW Broadway and Morrison.


Tuesday, May 20, 2008


Strowbridge Building, 1878

So little is left of this sign that you'd almost never know one ever existed, but a few extremely faded letters remain. Originally built to house the Oregon Furniture Manufacturing Company, it was also used as a furniture and household retail warehouse, was part of the Yamhill Sanitary Market and housed a bar, grocery store, and tool store over the years. Partially condemned, it was purchased in 1978 and renovated.

The building is at SW 1st and Yamhill; the remains of the sign can be seen from SW 1st and Morrison.


Thursday, May 15, 2008


Powers Building, 1878

The furniture store that was advertised here is long gone but, happily for ghost sign fans, most of the sign remains, although the top has suffered water damage.

Originally named the Rensselaer Building, it was the site of several hardware and furniture companies over the years. It was the site of the Harbor Club beginning in 1946, one of the few gay bars in Portland. The US Navy declared it off-limits soon after it opened and the city shut it down in 1965. Paddy's Irish Bar now occupies the ground floor of the building at SW 1st and Yamhill.

The sign is on the north side, and is visible from half a block up 1st Avenue.


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Auditorium Building

Auditorium Building and Music Hall, 1894

You have to really be looking to find traces of the original "Auditorium Building" sign painted at the top of the building. It's now so faded that it's almost unreadable. Originally, the building was occupied by a liquor store on the first floor, dance hall on the second, and a concert hall on the third and fourth floors. It's still a fine looking building.

You can see this from the street at SW 3rd between Salmon and Taylor, or for a closer look, head up to the sixth floor of the parking lot across 3rd Avenue.


Friday, May 9, 2008

Zell Bros Update

Dental Arts Building, 1908-2008

Following on the heels of the "Dental Arts Bldg." sign destruction from my previous post, the Zell Bros sign on the adjacent wall fell to the crane's bite today.

R.I.P. May 9, 2008:

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Dental Arts Building Update

Dental Arts Building, 1908-2008

The "Dental Arts Bldg." sign from a previous post no longer exists. Building demolition started today, and the sign's corner was the first part of the building to fall. By noon the sign was gone forever.

May 7, 2008:

Monday, May 5, 2008

Hotel Lotus

Hotel Lotus, 1906

This is a terrific wall on the back of the Lotus Cafe building. The signs span almost the entire history of the building. Apparently built as the Hotel Albion in 1906, it was renamed Hotel Lotus in 1924. I'd guess the "Hotel Lotus" at the very top is original and dates to that time.

The "Lotus Cafe and Cardroom" mural is dated 1994 and reflects Portland's waterfront bar and speakeasy history.

The building is at SW 3rd and Salmon; this view is from 2nd Avenue.


Thursday, May 1, 2008

St. Francis Hotel

St. Francis Hotel, 1925

The St. Francis hotel, and her sign, no longer exist. The tired old hotel was demolished in 2001 to make way for the shiny new St. Francis Apartments at the corner of SW 11th and Main. This view is from 10th and Main.

Cinema sidenote: The Tom the Priest character played by William S. Burrows in Gus Van Sant's Drugstore Cowboy lived in room 204.

Thanks to Hendrik from Germany who stayed at, and loved, the St. Francis for eight weeks in 1997, for kindly contributing the top photo.