03 October 2009

[oregon] Oregon Capitol Mall Postcards, ca 1955

2217.Anyone who knows me knows I'm silly in love with my native state's great Capitol building. Everything about it is nifty, from the golden Pioneer atop to the cylindrical cupola to the strong vertical lines. The Wikipedia article on it says the style is Art Deco, but it looks modern yet timeless because of the simple dynamism of the lines.

It is the fourth-newest state capitol building in the US, having been finished in 1939.

Yesterday, The Wife™ found two gorgeous post cards, which I gather (based on the styles of the cars and some of the state of the architecture) were made sometime in the latter half of the 1950s. This first one is a view toward the south, taking in the State Capitol from the roof vantage point of the Transportation Building (two blocks north and just east of the Capitol, on the east side of Oregon's Capitol Mall:

This next one is very telling:

The Capitol itself is significantly smaller, and there is a building that should be there, in the upper left, that isn't. Here's the scoop on that:
  1. The Oregon Capitol Mall, prior to about 1980, was defined by Winter Street NE (on the west), State Street (on the south front of the Capitol), Capitol Street NE (on the east), and Center Street NE (on the north. Leading away from the north end of the mall was Summer Street NE, which devolved into West Summer Street NE and East Summer Street NE, which circulated traffic about the Mall itself. Latterly, West and East Summer have been turned into pedestrian malls, and the street running across the center of the Mall – Chemeketa Street, NE – now serves an underground parking area which runs the length of the Mall. No auto traffic now accesses the Mall area except via Court (the street in front of the Capitol) and Center.
  2. Particularly in the second card we can date the scene. Obviously the photo was taken before 1977, when the Capitol expansion project extended the building's wings west and east and added to the back – this space primarily for legislator's offices. But on the block in the upper left of the Mall, where there appears to be a church, is now the Oregon State Labor and Industries Building, which was finished in 1961 (the Bureau of Labor and Industries, the original tenant, now is based at the State Office Building in Portland; the building itself is home to part of the State Insurance Division).
For reference's sake, the extant buildings on the Capitol Mall in the picture above are: the Oregon State Library, to the Capitol's immediate left: right-upper, the Transportation Building; right-lower, the Public Service Building. Dynastic changes have caused original tenants to change or move to other buildings entirely; the Mall itself now has expanded northward about twice its original dimension along both sides of Summer Street, NE as far as D St, NE.

If you want to embiggen them, see Posterous here:

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