17 April 2012

[pdx] Urban Archaeology: At SE 42nd And Hawthorne, Where They Once Sold Ice Cream

2797This was a pleasant find to stumble upon, all the more so because we weren't looking for it and it concerns the continued success of peoples we are quite fond of.

I have exulted the charms. of Muse Art and Design before. Along with I've Been Framed they are the two art supply stores you must know if you need art supplies here in town. Local, passionate about what they do, and won't break your bank wide open.

Last we, me and The Wife™ slid along to the corner of SE 42nd Avenue and Hawthorne Blvd, upper Hawthorne, and we were amazed to see this:

Muse's current location is one address east of this (more on that allusion perforce). Until recently that location was a quirky, cool vintage shop called Shadowhouse Collectibles who, via the vicissitudes of business these days, had to quit the location and move on (we don't know where yet – if you never visited, you've missed out, my friend. Keep up to date with them here, as they say they'll be back). Shadowhouse has been good to us, as the vintage KATU sign will attest.

Alas and alack, for now Shadowhouse is gone. This has opened up an opportunity for Muse to move into a bigger space, which can augur nothing but good; but until then, remodeling of the space happens. And that has uncovered and unexpected visual treat.

The building on the corner SE 42nd and Hawthorne has had her makeup removed for a newer application, and we find that this used to be an ice cream shop.

The Portland Ice Cream Company, to be precise. I don't know whether they made it there or had it brought in, but the old hand-painted typography on the facade brings up memories I didn't know I had (mostly because I wasn't alive in the 1940s).

The old paint work itself shows signs of revision. We peoples, we just can't leave things along, can we? I'm guessing that the half-covered signage probably said something like Farmers Ice Milk and Cream, but we are certainly guessing there.

Old-fashioned ice-cream parlors. Doesn't that just speak 'small-town America'? One wonders what the then-denizens of upper Hawthorne would think of the current, with the ironic bars and the organic markets and the incense-and-peppermints shops and whatnot. Probably think they were on another planet or summat.

It would be far amiss if I didn't mention something about the remodeler. The job is being done by an outfit called Michael Cordes Remodeling, and we met the man as he was cleaning up at the end of what was obviously a long, productive day of work. There are all sorts of builders revising Portland at the present time but I don't think I've ever run into one that has this keen a sense of history. Very, very affable fellow; had a few minutes to talk and we had a fairly fun chat. But, you tell me … what remodeler would care enough about history to post a picture of the building in its heyday? I'm not sure what year this was, but the old-style street-blades on the corner suggest the 1940s.

As far as I'm concerned, anyone who formats his business card and sign in lovely calligraphy is probably a cut above the rest. He can be contacted at mcremodel@rconnects.com, if you're of the bent.
He's said he has some more historic PDX photos to share after I post this, and i can share some, I will.

Keep your eyes open, peoples! History is right in front of you betimes.

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