Thursday, June 26, 2008


Oregon Trail Building, 1909

This unreadable ghost sign was uncovered in 2007 when the building at 525 SW Stark was demolished. That building apparently was the site of the Pago Pago, "America's Most Beautiful Tropical Room" when tiki bars were in fashion in the 1950s. It will become a loading area, gym and meeting space for the adjacent building at SW 6th and Oak being redeveloped into a Courtyard by Marriott hotel.

The sign is still visible from SW 5th and Stark but not for much longer as the new building's walls are already rising.


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Good 5c

Oregon Pacific Building, 1898

Vice President Thomas Marshall in 1917 supposedly quipped, "What this country needs is a really good five-cent cigar." I don't know if there ever was a Good brand cigar that was advertised for five cents, but this could be it. The word "Good" and "5c" are visible on this sign but the rest is not readable or visible.

You can see this sign from the same garage vantage point as my previous post. It's on the south-facing wall of the Greek Cusina restaurant at SW 4th and Washington.



2008 (from the Yeon Building):

Thursday, June 19, 2008


Oregon Pacific Building, 1898

There was very little left of this sign when I took the first photo in 1996. What still remains is painted over and faded almost to non-existence.

On the south face of the Greek Cusina Restaurant building at SW 4th and Washington, you can see this better from a few floors up in the parking garage at 4th and Alder.



Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Ideal Theatre

Ideal Theatre, 1912

Before heading back downtown, here's one more recently discovered gem in Northwest Portland. The Ideal Theatre was a neighborhood theater from its opening in 1912 until the late 1950s. It was a warehouse for 30 years before being remodeled into a photography and design studio in 1986.

I'd guess this sign dates from its earliest days. Check it out at NW 24th and Thurman.


Thursday, June 12, 2008

Benson Garage


Another newly discovered ghost sign, this one at NW 9th and Burnside. I've driven by this one hundreds of times; as usual, being on foot helped me spot it. "Benson Garage" "Storage" "Washing" can still be made out. The building is still a parking garage but goes unnamed now.

The Firestone shop may be in the Portland Development Commission's urban renewal sights so the Benson Garage sign may disapper in the coming years.


Tuesday, June 10, 2008



Before continuing the coverage of the downtown area, I'm going to head back to the Pearl District to add a couple of newly found signs. It's always a nice surprise to discover a new sign on a building you've seen hundreds of times before.

I can only make out a small portion of this from street level. "B.T Co..." is all I can see. It's on the west-facing side of Powell's Technical Bookstore and you can see it from NW 9th and Couch.


Thursday, June 5, 2008

Loyalty Bldg.

Loyalty Building, 1928

The Loyalty Building sign completes a set of four similar signs, each displaying its own building name, all in the same area, and all the buildings are of roughly the same era. Also, all four signs are being currently maintained, so are not officially "ghost signs."

The Loyalty Building is at SW 3rd and Alder. The sign can be seen from the street at 5th and Alder, or, as I've done here, the top floors of the the parking garage south across Alder.


Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Yeon Bldg.

Yeon Building, 1911

Continuing the string of "new old" signs in the downtown core (following the Pioneer Park and American Bank buildings) is the Yeon Building on the corner of SW 5th and Alder. This sign is definitely not old but makes a nice, understated addition to the skyline. See this from the corner of SW 5th and Stark.