The Dekum Building.
The style, which revived the wide-spread use of the Romanesque arch in commercial, domestic and public architecture, is often referred to as “Richardson Romanesque” after its most influential practitioner, Henry Hobson Richardson (1838-1886).
“He was, without a doubt, for the greater part of his life a purely Romantic architect, seeking to create by traditional devices an effect comparable to that produced by other cultures and remoter ways of life: the affect of age, antique strength, endurance and energy.”
-Lewis Mumford, “The Brown Decades, a Study of the Arts in
The hallmarks of the style featured brick, rustic stonework, Roman arches and, less common in commercial buildings, towers.
In Portland, the style began to infill near the riverfront in the late 1880s, then, beyond Second Street, it advanced westward before losing momentum around Seventh Street (Broadway) in the second half of the 1890s.
Unlike the cast iron fronted buildings that preceded them or the terra-cotta adorned buildings which followed, there is no single book specifically about
The Skidmore Building (under restoration).
Elements of the Richardson Romanesque Style appear in the
The New Market Annex (1889).
The style appears in full fledged form with the New Market Annex (1889) and the Parker-Scott building (1890) both built amongst their Italianate predecessors in the old riverfront downtown on First and Second.
Where the New Market Annex and the South Wing of the Market Theatre meet illustrates the style shift that took place in the last quarter of the nineteenth century.
The Packer-Scott Building (1890) (also known as the
The Hotel Portland and the Marquam Building.
West of Fifth Street a new downtown, located disquietingly close to the upscale residential enclave of the Corbetts, Failings and Ladds, was rising in truly monumental scale. The Hotel Portland, the Marquam Building along Morrison between Sixth and Seventh and the
Of the three, the Hotel Portland had the strongest link to H.R. Richardson himself, being designed the firm of Whidden and Lewis. William M.Whidden had previously worked with the firm McKim, Mead and White, of which Charles Follen McKim had studied under
The Oregonian Building 1892-1950.
None of the buildings survive. The Hotel Portland was torn down to make a parking lot for Meier & Frank in 1950, (today the location of
Between the old riverfront downtown and the new downtown rising on the outskirts, the main commercial district of the 1890's was between Second and Fourth streets. Along that corridor Portland was well on the way to becoming a city of brick.
SW Third and Oak today.
The yellow-gold brick of the
According to “An Architectural Guidebook to
The Ancient Order of United Workmen’s
In 1967 George McMath and Thomas Vaughan wrote in “A Century of
“Unfortunately the building lies in the path of future renewal projects. If demolition is inevitable the design should be accurately recorded and the irreplaceable detail work carefully removed and preserved.”
Thankfully, it was not necessary to do so.
Detail of the Auditorium Building.
The commercial application of the Richardson Romanesque style was not confined to downtown
Logus Block detail.
The Smithson Block (1893) in old Albina on the corner of N. Russell and
The Richardson Romanesque style reached its apex in
The Imperial Hotel, today the
By the 1950’s the Imperial was known at the Plaza. Note the Payless Drugstore, on the ground floor on the corner of Washington and Broadway.
It is a transitional building, perhaps an evolutionary dead end or an oddly prescient prediction of a distant future nearly a century away.
The Sherlock Building, (1896).
The north east wing of Powells Books, built in the mid 1990s.
This survey, tracing the arch of Richardson Romanesque in
Logus Block detail.
Much of the oldest part of
In Seattle's great fire of 1889, much the same thing happened, but at the peak of Richardson's influence. When Seattle rebuilt, it was in brick.
The area from King Street Station, to the Sound
One of the few cast iron fronted buildings I came across on a recent visit to
Max at Night
Those interested in a behind the scenes look at Max should check out this months Trains Magazine (the May 2007 issue) for the article “Max at Night” written by Alexander Craighead and myself.
It was a fun article to research and photograph, one that would not have been possible without the staff at
Tri Mets gracious hospitality.