Bickel Block Building, 1883
The Bickel Block Building underwent a complete renovation the last couple of years. Many great old signs were lost in the process. Some of the signs attested to the building's early years: "BOILERS" "MACHINERY" and "LOGGING" were a few that were visible before being painted over. Read more of the building's history below. You can see this colorful building from the corner of NW Couch and Naito Parkway.
Thanks to thrift store cowboy for use of his "before" 2006 photos.
The gothic Bickel Block Building was designed in 1883 by Justus Krumbein. It has complex geometric patterns in its detailing and is an example of cast-iron architecture built in downtown Portland in the 1880s. The intricate cast-iron columns were made by Architectural Iron Works of San Francisco—the western branch of the famous foundry begun by Daniel Badger in New York in 1842.
The Bickel Block was owned by German candy-maker Frederick Bickel. He was a business partner of Frank Dekum, and the two opened their first confectionary shop in Portland thirty years before this building's construction. With the success of their candy business, both men began to invest in real estate development in downtown Portland.
The Bickel Block Building originally housed the Parke & Lacey Machinery Co., which used the north half for retail and the south half for manufacturing and warehousing. Parke & Lacey made and sold engines, boilers, sawmill machinery, logging cars, and so forth. The Fraser Paper Co. bought the building in the 1950s.
Three historic buildings—the Bickel Block Building, the Skidmore Block Building, and the White Stag and Hirsch-Weiss Building—will form the new White Stag Block that will house the University of Oregon's Portland programs.