Thursday, August 28, 2008


Western Rooms Building, 1906

This sign advertising Ghirardelli Chocolate is very hard to make out any more. Years of weathering, and probably other layers of advertising, have made it all but unreadable. It must have been quite striking in its time because of the sheer size of it, taking up the entire west-facing wall of the building housing Berbati's Restaurant. The four-story brick building was constructed for hotel and retail use in 1906.

The first photo was taken from the surface parking lot across SW 3rd at Ankeny, the second taken from atop the multi-level garage at SW 3rd and Pine.


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Mallory Logging

United Carriage and Baggage Transfer Co. (Old Spaghetti Factory), 1875

This "Mallory Logging" sign was visible for decades after the company had vacated the building. It's now been painted over a few times and is gone. On the right-facing wall of the 1996 photo is a small painted-over section, just above an electric sign box. That painted-over area once said, "Old Spaghetti Factory," that restaurant chain's original location beginning in 1969.

The view below is from the corner of SW 2nd and Pine.

From National Historic Landmark Nomination, Skidmore/Old Town Historic District:
The three-story brick building was constructed as a livery by the United Carriage and Baggage Transfer Co. which occupied the structure until the mid 1890s, after which it was occupied by Mitchell, Lewis & Staver Co., sellers of vehicles and machinery. Around the turn of the century the American Steel and Wire Co. was located there, as well as the J. McCraken Co., commission agents and suppliers of storage facilities and building materials. From 1908 to 1968 it was occupied by the F. B. Mallory Logging Equipment Co.



Thursday, August 21, 2008

Scottish Bank Building Details

Scottish Bank Building, 1876

This is a lovely handpainted "48-1/2" address over the door of the Scottish Bank Building. It's address is now 122 SW 1st Avenue.


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Suits - Raincoats

Bickel Building (Wachsmuth Building), 1892

This fine old sign is on the west-facing wall of the Dan and Louis Oyster Bar (The "New Market Block" is on the building a block to the east). There's more to be seen of this sign but not from street level. Getting higher might tell us the business that painted this sign.

Stand at SW 3rd and Ankeny to see this.


Thursday, August 14, 2008

Crane Co. Pipefittings

New Market Annex (New Market West), 1889

This five-story building was constructed as a warehouse, forge, and annex to the New Market Theater and carries a very nice "CRANE CO. - PIPEFITTINGS and PLUMBERS' SUPPLIES" sign.

There's also a smaller Foster & Kleiser sign below and to the left of the Crane ad. "REMOVED" is all that's visible until the trees drop their leaves.

This area can be difficult to see because of the tree growth around the building. The first photos below are from SW 1st at Ash. Walk down Ash to SW Naito Parkway to get a more distant but more direct perspective (bottom photo).



Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Hotel Stratton

Porter Hotel Building, 1898

This Hotel Stratton sign is very hard to see in its entirety. You can see "HOTEL STRATTON" okay but below that in large letters is "ROOMS." To the left of that is a finger-pointing image but you have to be on about a 2-foot square bit of sidewalk to see that. It's also adjacent to, and partially covered by, the Coca-Cola sign from several posts ago.

I'm guessing this was painted before the three-story Trivet Towers was built in 1902, otherwise there's no way it could have been seen effectively. Peek around billboards and trees to see it at SW 3rd and Ash.


Thursday, August 7, 2008


Trivet Towers, 1902

On the other side of the Trivet Towers building (from my previous post) is this unknown sign. "...MIN'S EXCHANGE" was about all you could make out in 1994. Even that is gone now, painted over to cover graffiti. View what's left from SW 3rd and Pine.



Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Avery & Co. Hardware

Trivet Towers, 1902

The "Avery & Co. Hardware" sign is one of the better known signs in downtown. Sitting low on the Trivet Towers north face, this is directly in front of you as you drive south on SW 3rd after crossing W. Burnside. It's even visible on Google maps street view.

Some careful repointing of the bricks at the top of the sign, and the recent moving of the cables that once crossed its face, indicate that the building owners are concerned with preserving this fine sign. Looking in the lower-right edge, this sign was painted by Foster & Kleiser.

See this from the corner of SW 3rd and Ash.