May 15, 2009 9:18 AM   Subscribe

PDX History is a veritable treasure trove of information about (and pictures and postcards of) the history of Portland (Oregon). Department stores, streetcars, long-dead amusement parks (yes, Jantzen Beach was once much more than a dying mall surrounded by big-box stores) and more. The web design leaves a bit to be desired, but the site is wonderful nonetheless.
posted by dersins (15 comments total) 28 users marked this as a favorite

[via], which is a pretty good site in its own right, complete with blog and flickr page.
posted by dersins at 9:21 AM on May 15, 2009

Please people, full justification is only for government press releases.

Cool site, though. I had no idea this place opened in 1905.
posted by gottabefunky at 9:50 AM on May 15, 2009

Lost Oregon the successor blog to one of my old favorites "Stumptown Confidential" has lots of great posts about Portland and Oregon places with lots of historic postcard views as well.
posted by vespabelle at 10:01 AM on May 15, 2009

Speaking as someone who lives pretty far from Portland, the design was probably the most interesting part of the website.

It's pretty cool that someone felt passionate enough about the history of their city to collect all of that historic imagery in one place.
posted by jefeweiss at 10:02 AM on May 15, 2009

whoa, my browser window just exploded into Portland.
posted by wundermint at 10:09 AM on May 15, 2009

I like their info on Council Crest park, once a fabulous roller-skating/thrill ride den of iniquity. And yeah, the web design is so out that it's in.
posted by msalt at 10:34 AM on May 15, 2009

My only regret is that I only have one favorite to give to this post.
posted by mullingitover at 10:35 AM on May 15, 2009

Oaks Park had a notorious roller coaster called The Zip, which was designed by Harry Traver. Traver is best known for the "Terrible Triplets", three roller coasters from the 1920s which shared the same design. Of them, the Crystal Beach Cyclone, was the most intense roller coaster of the three and probably the most violent roller coaster ever built. It could break ribs and give riders whiplash... and it was the most popular ride in the park.

The Zip was a shortened modification of this design and while it was not as violent as the Cyclone, it certainly claimed its share of nosebleeds and broken teeth. But more than that, it just looked bizarre. Check out that insane double spiral, the first drop, and the zig-zaggy "trick track" near the end of the ride. According to coaster historian Robert Cartmell, when unearthed pictures of the Zip were shown to a gathering of coaster enthusiasts in the 1970s, the crowd just gasped. It was, Cartmell said, a primeval monstrosity.

Traver's intense coasters pretty much tore themselves apart. The Zip lasted only ten years before it was torn down, maintenance being too much of a hassle. The Triplets didn't fare very well, either; the Crystal Beach Cyclone lasted the longest at eighteen years. Revere Beach's Lightning and the Palisades Park Cyclone didn't last ten.
posted by Spatch at 10:48 AM on May 15, 2009

It's a little trippy to see the images of Union Station - I ride past it every day on the bus, and the images just look so similar to the way it is now. I know its the same building and all but it seems like it has remained almost exactly the same since the beginning. Sometimes old images of familiar buildings still give off an old-timey vibe, but these ones were just very familiar.

Also, they need to bring back those lighted arches. They're awesome.
posted by DrGirlfriend at 11:59 AM on May 15, 2009

Is this something I'd have to live in Portland to get?

Oh, wait, I do!
This is cool; just a couple days ago I was hankering for some historical Portland pictures!
posted by mrnutty at 2:49 PM on May 15, 2009

My Nana used to take me and my sister to the Pixie Kitchen, then on to Pixie Land for a log ride. Good times. Thanks, Nana and dersins.
posted by unclejeffy at 5:56 PM on May 15, 2009

I couldn't find anything about Vanport...
posted by Joseph Gurl at 7:17 PM on May 15, 2009

Thanks for the post, dersins.

To Joseph Gurl: I think this site is mostly concerned with Portland's history as a city, and Vanport City was technically a separate entity.
posted by nonmerci at 9:55 PM on May 15, 2009

Furthermore, anyone interested in Vanport need only direct their browser to this excellent post by DeepFriedTwinkies!
posted by nonmerci at 9:56 PM on May 15, 2009

Great postcards of vintage NYC too: 1 and 2. New York Subways. Rockefeller Center. Luna Park, Coney Island. Macy's, Bloomingdales. Love those wonderful old images!
posted by nickyskye at 2:02 PM on May 16, 2009

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