Monday afternoon Portland history lesson via Cafe Unknown blogger Dan Haneckow. He's dug up info about an interesting historical site: the first Portland building ever demolished to build a parking lot.

The building was an 1880 four-story commercial space on the north east corner of Second and Washington, designed by Warren H. Williams. Haneckow was researching the Labbe brothers and found an Oregonian article from 1934 that waxed nostalgic with the news that the building would be demolished. "What was missing was the march of progress sentiments with a description of the upcoming modern replacement," writes Haneckow, via email. He got suspicious and found some aerial photographs of the corner from 1934 and 1939 areal photographs, both showing that there was never replacement building on the site. It's been a surface parking lot ever since.

Sure, there were other, more famous buildings demolished to make parking lots (like the Portland Hotel) but, damn it, there's some distinction in being the first "In context of the loss of Portland's unique, original, iron-fronted version of a European downtown, it is significant because so many of its buildings were torn down to make surface parking lots," writes Haneckow.

The mural that borders the parking lot today is... perfect.

  • Dan Haneckow