Old Portland walking tour

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April 7, 2012 by John Chilson

71 SW Oak (1966)

Aubrie Koenig and Will McKay from The History Press were in town for a couple of days to check out Portland. (History Press is publishing my book on lost Portland eateries and it was cool to meet Aubrie and Will in person and chat about the book.)

As part of their brief stay in Portland, Dan Haneckow presented a two-hour walking tour of downtown Portland on a recent non-rainy but chilly Portland morning. (He’s also working on a book for History Press on Portland’s Great Light Way.) I also got to do some catching up with photographer Alexander Craghead, who recently gave a sold-out presentation for AHC on Railroad Architecture and the Northwest.

The theme of the tour was Three Downtowns in Two Hours (the downtowns of the 1860-1880s, the 1890s and the teens-twenties and beyond).

Dan’s knowledge of this area of Portland’s past shined during the walk as he pointed out surviving buildings, parking lots of lost buildings and horrifically remodeled ones. Since I’ve started working downtown last summer, I’ve had the chance to do a lot of exploring and have become increasingly fascinated with Portland’s cast iron buildings and the area along the Willamette that once housed them.

It’s one thing to read about the history of this section of town, but to walk it and see buildings in person really resonated and helped connect the dots from my lacking early Portland history.

Fechheimer & White Building, built in 1885.

Plaque on the Fechheimer & White Building.

71 SW Oak (retrofitted in 1976)

SW 1st and Oak

SW Ash and 2nd (next to Kells and in desperate need of a retrofit back to its former cast-iron self)

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One thought on “Old Portland walking tour

  1. Will and I had a blast on the walking tour thanks to Dan’s excellent guide skills, and The History Press is super excited about both books! Thank you, John!

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