Monthly Archives: April 2012

Powell’s Planning New Mixed-Use Building on North Park Blocks

According to this announcement at the city’s Bureau of Development Services website, plans are underway to demolish the old Powell’s Books technical bookstore building and replace it with a new seven story mixed use building with retail on the ground floor and apartments above. The existing building at 33 NW Park Avenue is a two-story structure from 1916, that has no historic designation, but is a classic example of 1910s automobile-related architecture.

In 1916, the automobile was rapidly changing American culture and just as in other cities, auto-related businesses were popping up all over the Portland. Just two years earlier, the Ford Motor Co. had opened an assembly plant in southeast Portland and the construction of garages and showrooms were entering a boom period that continued at least until the Great Depression. In the midst of this boom, the White Automobile Company of Cleveland, Ohio chose to open a showroom on the North Park Blocks, enlisting the architectural firm of MacNaughton and Raymond. MacNaughton and Raymond are possibly best known as the firm whose alterations to the 1890 Marquam Grand Opera House, may have led to that building partially collapsing in 1912. It was after that incident that most of the firm’s work was relegated to smaller warehouse and showroom type buildings, many of which were built in Northwest Portland. Included in their work during this period was also the recently demolished Kiernan Building – longtime home to the Dirty Duck tavern.

Announcement of the new White Automobile Co. building in the February 20, 1916 Oregonian newspaper.

Within months of the building opening in 1916, a fire at the White Automobile showroom, destroyed 23 cars, but apparently did little damage to the building itself.  Within weeks, the White Automobile Co. was back up and running with frequent ads in the local newspaper touting their fine luxury cars. However, White only remained at their NW Park and Couch location for a few years. By the early 1920s, they had relocated to north Portland as their business also began to shift more toward freight trucks.

News story about the fire at the White Automobile Co. building. From the December 17, 1916 Oregonian.

In subsequent years, the old White Automobile Co. building became a warehouse  – housing the Stubbs Electrical Co. for many years. Powell’s apparently purchased the building in 1990 and it was home to their technical bookstore until they moved into their current facility on NW 10th in 2010.

Additional research is still needed on the old White Automobile Co. Building. As it would appear that its days are numbered, there is no time like the present to make sure we have a better understanding of this building and its place in Portland history – before it is gone for good.



Filed under Historic Preservation, Local History

14th Annual Kitchen Revival Tour – April 14th

On Saturday, April 14th, the Architectural Heritage Center will be holding its annual Kitchen Revival Tour – the AHC’s most popular education program. This year there are eight kitchens from around the city, presenting a variety of approaches to “reviving” kitchens in our older homes, while also retaining historic character and charm.

If you’re thinking of renovating your own kitchen or maybe you just love seeing inside some of Portland’s wonderful vintage homes, regardless of the reason, this tour is a delight for all.

1898 home on the 2012 AHC Kitchen Revival Tour

The oldest home on this year’s tour is an 1898 Queen Anne cottage in southeast Portland in which the homeowners painstakingly took on a DIY project that returned the kitchen to a very period look, while also meeting their needs.

The youngest home on the tour is a 1961 architect-designed ranch home in Alameda that displays an amazing renovation. The house itself is also a Mid-Century Modern gem, so if you are a fan of that era, you’ll love this tour stop!

1961 home on the 2012 AHC Kitchen Revival Tour

In the middle are several wonderful homes from the 1910s – an era in which thousands of homes were built in Portland. If you have a home from this period, this tour offers several kitchen renovation ideas.

Rounding out the tour is a wonderful 1920s apartment building, displaying an intact, original kitchen – other than the appliances of course. This kitchen offers several great lessons for owners of smaller 1920s – 1930s era homes and condo dwellers. Just the fact that the cabinets and built-ins are still intact shows how these materials were made to last!

1910s home on the 2012 AHC Kitchen Revival Tour

The tour is Saturday, April 14, 2012 from 10am to 4pm. You can register online, by phone, or simply come to the AHC on the day of the tour to purchase your tickets.

Here’s a link to purchase tickets for the Kitchen Revival Tour on the AHC website:

Or you can call the AHC at 503.231.7264

The Architectural Heritage Center is located at 701 SE Grand Avenue @ Alder

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Filed under Events, Historic Preservation