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Vintage Portlandia: See scenes from old Portland, Oregon from the ’30s & ’40s

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Vintage postcard air view Portland Oregon
Through the first part of the 20th century, long-distance travel was enough of a novelty that the out-of-town journeys of locals were often reported in the local newspapers.

One example is in the short piece below, published by a newspaper in Petaluma, California (in Sonoma County, north of San Francisco) on August 4, 1939, about a couple who drove up to Oregon for their vacation.

It’s kind of fascinating to see that, not so long ago, travel anecdotes like this were considered newsworthy. Especially for generations past, much of the pleasure in travel came from sharing the excitement with friends and family — and, yes, a little bragging.

To that end, travelers were sure to send plenty of postcards to the folks at home. Here you can see 15 different postcards showing Portland, Oregon, in the late thirties and early forties –much like those that couple might have mailed back from Oregon back to Petaluma.

Dr & Mrs H S Gossage return from Portland

Returning home from a seventeen-day trip in the north, Dr and Mrs Harris S Gossage report having enjoyed a most delightful trip, spending much of the time in Portland, Oregon.

They visited Smith River and later motored to Portland, where they visited the sanctuary of “Our Sorrowful Mother,” which has been visited by more than 400,000 persons during the year. In an out-of-door setting, surrounded by flowers and growing ferns and shrubs, it is described by Mrs Gossage as almost ethereal in beauty.

Dr and Mrs Gossage also visited the world famous Lambert Gardens in Portland. Privately owned, they are commercialized, the owners realizing some revenue for the upkeep.

Mrs Gossage has made five trips to Portland, and each time she is more favorably impressed with the city. The couple motored to the northern state, going up the Redwood highway, and returning by the valley route.

Greetings from Portland, Oregon

For you a rose in Portland grows

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Vintage postcard of Portland Oregon


Mt Hood from Portland Oregon

Vintage postcard Mt Hood from Portland Oregon


Air view of Portland from southwest

Vintage postcard Air view of Portland Oregon


Air view of Portland business district

5 main bridges and east side in background

Vintage postcard air view Portland Oregon


USS Portland passing under St John’s Bridge

Vintage postcard USS Portland and Bridge Portland Oregon


$1,000,000 Public Market on Portland Harbor

Showing patrol boat and seaplanes

Vintage postcard Public Market Portland Oregon


Portland-Columbia Airport, Oregon

Vintage postcard Portland-Columbia airport Oregon


The monastery, Sanctuary of Our Sorrowful Mother, Portland, Oregon

The monastery, Sanctuary of Our Sorrowful Mother, Portland, Oregon


Scene in Laurelhurst Park, Portland, Oregon

Scene in Laurelhurst Park, Portland, Oregon


Rose Test Gardens, Washington Park, Portland
Vintage postcard Portland Oregon rose test gardens

Broadway, Portland – Theatres by day

Vintage postcard Portland Oregon theatres


Broadway “The Great White Way” – Theatres by night

Vintage postcard Broadway at night Portland Oregon


Portland Oregon city view

Looking north on Fifth Avenue, from Taylor Street, Portland

Vintage postcard Portland Oregon city view


Portland Central Bus Depot

Vintage postcard Portland Oregon bus depot


The Union Station, Portland

Vintage postcard Union Station of Portland Oregon

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