Commercial buildings at one time were often the canvases for painted advertising signs. Unlike today's stick-on mega-posters advertising beer and soft drinks and mobile phones and cigarettes, a hundred years ago buildings were as likely to advertise their own business as they were commercial products like Coca-Cola and Dutch Boy Paints. Portland, Oregon, has a dwindling collection of buildings with faded lead-paint-on-brick advertising, sometimes called "ghost signs." One once-rich source, the former "Northwest Industrial Triangle," has undergone a dramatic revitalization and is now known as the Pearl District. This means many of its old buildings with ads have fallen to redevelopment, buildings have been cleaned up and the ads removed, or, in a few cases, the ads have been the victims of graffiti damage.
Many buildings are clustered around the Thirteenth Avenue Historic District but these are posted in no geographically coherent pattern. Use my map below to orient yourself and take a little walking tour.
My original intent with this blog was to cover only the Pearl district, an area I had taken pictures of in 1996-97 and could compare then and now. I've since expanded to other areas of central Portland. I plan to eventually cover these geographic areas: - Pearl District (done) - Northwest (west of I-405) (done) - Old Town/Chinatown (done) - Downtown (done) - Southeast (done) - Northeast (done) - North (done)
Unless otherwise noted, all photos are mine and cannot be used without permission.