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Portland Then/Now: Northwest 12th Avenue and Lovejoy Street

Thursday, January 15, 2015

 

NW 12th and Lovejoy

NW 12th & Lovejoy Street. City of Portland Archives. A2009-009.1724

NW 12th and Lovejoy

NW 12th & Lovejoy Street.

The tracks and trails of the Pearl District’s storied past is now just a memory. Those sights and sounds will never be seen or heard again. 

THEN:  New Year's Eve, 1930. As 1931 was rolling into view across the globe the intersection of Northwest 12th Avenue and Lovejoy Street was clearly quiet.

In fact, that stretch of 12th Avenue looks like it hadn't seen a soul for days. On the horizon is the spire to the gorgeous First Presbyterian Church that still sits on Southwest Alder today. This was the time long before the district was christened "The Pearl" and the streets were mainly the thoroughfare for the rail cars that would stop all across the neighborhood.

In the 1940s and 50s, not far from here, Athanasios (Tom) Efthimiou Stefopoulos, who spent most of his life as a watchman in the northwest Portland rail yards for the SP&S Railroad Company, would paint his iconic Lovejoy Columns.  

NOW: It’s here, at the corner of 12th and Lovejoy, in the shadows of condos and a fastfood chain restaurant, that cobblestones and railroad tracks peek out from beneath a blanket of asphalt before being paved over once again.

The Pearl is bursting at the seams and this intersection is where city dwellers, who would have never dreamed of living here just a few decades ago, go about their daily business, whether it's going to work at one of the various businesses or working out at one of the various nearby gyms.

Home Page Photo Credit: Portland City Archives - A2009-009.1724

 

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