The Hotel Portland opened in 1890, facing east on Southwest Sixth Street (now Sixth Avenue), bordered by Morrison and Yamhill streets, with Broadway at its back. The renamed Portland Hotel closed 64 years ago this month. Pioneer Courthouse Square — affectionately known as Portland's living room — debuted in 1984 as a dedicated public plaza. An original archway, gatework and fencing from the hotel were incorporated into the square's design. Ca. 1910, automobiles traverse Sixth's relatively smooth pavement.

The Hotel Portland opened in 1890, facing east on Southwest Sixth Street (now Sixth Avenue), bordered by Morrison and Yamhill streets, with Broadway at its back. The renamed Portland Hotel closed 64 years ago this month. Pioneer Courthouse Square — affectionately known as Portland’s living room — debuted in 1984 as a dedicated public plaza. An original archway, gatework and fencing from the hotel were incorporated into the square’s design. Ca. 1910, automobiles traverse Sixth’s relatively smooth pavement.

The Oregon Historical Society. #ba011782

Every week, Oregon Experience shares a photo highlighting the state’s diverse, exciting history.

Downtown Portland once looked very different. The Portland Hotel took up an entire city block in what is now Pioneer Courthouse Square.

As this photo illustrates, in 1910 a few motorized cars had started to show up on city streets, adding to an evolving downtown world of transportation.

Horse-drawn streetcars began operating in the 1870s. By the turn of the century, electric trolleys dominated the downtown. Within a few years, the streetcars made way for automobiles.

Today, streetcars have made a revival and are again operating downtown. However, the Portland Hotel closed in 1951, and now exists only in photographs and memories. 

Watch the Oregon Experience documentary “Streetcar City” to learn about the rise — and fall — of electric trolleys and how they shaped the development of Portland and beyond.

Streetcar City