Our City – Then and Now

This photography project juxtaposes images of Portland from around the time the time the Arthur was built in 1912 with photographs taken since the recent renovations have been completed. The artist, Sarah Grew, searched out archival images of Portland from the Oregon Historical Society Library concentrating on photographs taken during the time period the Arthur was being built and first opened. She selected a different theme for each floor that in some way related to the location of the Arthur. On the top floor there is the Panorama towards Mt. St. Helens from the top of S.W. 12th Ave., this view almost looks down S.W. 11th Avenue past the Arthur building. The third floor houses the Morrison Street Bridge, not only because it was the first bridge across the Willamette but also because the Arthur is between Morrison Street and Yamhill. The second floor is shows the Riverfront near the base of the Morrison Street Bridge, for much the same reason as the bridge, but also because of the importance the river has had in the growth of the city. Finally, the Streetcars. The original tracks passed by the Arthur, locating the building within the core of the downtown area. Once the archival photographs were selected Sarah Grew then went around Portland creating companion images. Sometimes the same scene, sometimes different, the new photographs are also printed in black and white to match the tones of the older images. The paired photographs show the ways Portland has changed in the past 100 years and the ways it has remained the same, much like the Arthur building itself. 


Panorama North with Mount Saint Helens

Looking north from the Governors Park area, over 11th Avenue and The Arthur, around 1910 and then in 2015. The surprising change here was the mountain itself. Mount St. Helens erupted in 1980 sending ash across Canada and the United States. While the north face of the mountain was the one that changed the most, looking at these two photos you realize how much the mountain’s profile has also changed. In addition notice how Portland has grown in spread and the addition of an airplane flying in the sky. 

Mt. Saint Helens from Portland Heights, 2015, photograph by Sarah Grew

Portland with Mt. St. Helens and Rainer from Portland Heights, circa 1910, photographer unknown. Courtesy of the Oregon Historical Society Research Library, neg# 12705/dig# bb012783


The Morrison Street Bridge

The Morrison Street Bridge was the first bridge across the Willamette in Portland. Built in 1880, this wooden swing-span style drawbridge was the longest bridge west of the Mississippi. The original bridge was replaced in 1905 by a similar style bridge, it was referred to as the Second Morrison Street Bridge but was not able to carry as many cars as needed and was replaced by the current bridge in 1958. The New Morrison St. Bridge is the largest mechanical device in the state with 36 foot high gears that open the bridge for boat traffic and allows around 50,000 vehicles to cross per day.

 

The New Morrison Street Bridge, 2015, photograph by Sarah Grew, 2015

The Second Morrison Street Bridge, circa 1910, photographer unknown. Courtesy of the Oregon Historical Society Research Library, neg# COP 00297/dig # bb012424

Carrying Four R.R. Passenger Cars The R.R. Steamer ‘Tacoma’ Pauses as the Morrison Street Bridge Opens, circa 1880, photograph by W.W. Bretherton. Courtesy of the Oregon Historical Society Research Library, neg# CN002764/dig# bb013784


The Waterfront

The riverfront area of Portland was a busy center of commerce with buildings up on pilings in the water, docks and action along the bank. To stem the annual floods a seawall was built in the 1920’s and as commerce and manufacturing shifted inland, north to the St. John’s area, and to the eastside, the idea for a greenway took hold. First broached in 1903, the west bank esplanade was finally dedicated as a park in 1978.

West along the Willamette near Morrison St. Bridge, 2015, photograph by Sarah Grew

Portland 1914-20, Waterfront, circa 1914-1920, photographer unknown. Courtesy of the Oregon Historical Society Research Library, neg# 12732/dig # bb00794


Streetcars

The Arthur is located on the original Streetcar Line, marking the center of downtown. Across the street is the original terminus for the Max. As Portland continues to grow so does the commitment to public transportation, as we see by the new Tilikum Crossing pedestrian and streetcar bridge. This group of photographs gives a sense of Portland History through the streetcar from the repair shops to the newest bridge.

Looking West up Yamhill, 2015, photograph by Sarah Grew

Portland Hotel and Pioneer Courthouse, circa 1905, photographer unknown. Courtesy of the Oregon Historical Society Research Library, neg#11479/dig #bb003477

 

Center Street Car Shops, circa 1915, photographer unknown. Courtesy of the Oregon Historical Society Research Library, neg# PGE 127-5/dig# bb013787

Tilikum Crossing, 2015, photograph by Sarah Grew

SW Third and Yamhill Street, circa 1910, photographer unknown. Courtesy of the Oregon Historical Society Research Library, neg# 13267/dig# bb009015


The Arthur

Last but not least, the Arthur building. The archival photograph is from 1948, shows the building when it still had a fire escape on the front and the old awning over the door as well as "Hotel Arthur" painted on the side. Today the contrast in architectural styles is great, with the Arthur taking on the roll of a classic.

Old and New, 2015, photograph by Sarah Grew

Hotel Arthur and Hotel Carroll, 1948, Photographer Unknown. Courtesy of the Oregon Historical Society Research Library, neg# CN005886/dig# bb013781

Entryway, 2015, photograph by Sarah Grew