18 May 2012

[pdx] Address Nerd™ Mystery Theatre: The Case of the Henry Thiele Waffle Club

2822.Got sent something that was a real stumper, folks, in a good way … but still inscrutable.

Got an email a couple of days ago from one David Buettner, who had stumbled upon this chronicle in aid of trying to untangle a mystery.

Everyone with a smattering of Portland history (especially of the culinary kind) has probably heard of Henry Thiele. Henry's was a restaurant that was lodged in the point at the five-cornered intersection that was where NW Westover Road met up with West Burnside Street, NW 23rd Avenue, and SW Vista Avenue. It was a landmark in architecture (see this picture) as well as in food (the German-style pancakes were reportedly legend). But the history of Portland has it writ large that Henry's was at NW Westover and West Burnside.

But then David throws me a curveball, looking like this:

photo courtesy David Buettner

This, I'm told by David, is the back of a small mirror, advertising (rather scrumptiously) the Henry Thiele Waffle Club of all things. The history of Henry Thiele is, sadly, something not much written, if at all; the part that says he had a location on SW 10th Avenue or SW 11th Avenue is pretty much invisible.

My particular task was to help David figure out where those address might have been. Remember the old Portland address pattern, on which I've commented oft perforce &c &c, and you'll remember that any numbered street without a directional is south of Ankeny/Burnside/Washington; this would therefore put this in what we would say is the downtown core today; SW 10th Avenue was '10th Street' and SW 11th Avenue was '11th Street' prior to the Great Renaming of 1930.

Moreover, the building numbers amounted to 20-to-the-block, instead of today's 100-to-the-block. So 107 - 10th Street actually winds up, most likely, being between Alder and Washington or between Stark and Washington. So, we have an idea of where that address might lie, down to about a 1-block possibility.

But again, the real thing that's making us grind our teeth here is that we simply cannot find any trace, so far, of the existence of anything called the Henry Thiele Waffle Club. Particularly intriguing is the dual address on adjacent streets which could suggest a business which fronted on two downtown streets.

Anyhow, this is a call for any history-addicted Portlander or Address Nerd to come to the aid of his … country … or something. Does anyone who might stop by here know anything about Henry Thiele Waffle Club? Any information would be gratitudinous, and is meant to be shared. Here's a chance for us to explore a corner of Portland history heretofore unexplored.

Into Henry Thiele With Gun and Camera, as 'twere.

Leave your exploratory notes in the comments, bitte sehr.


Lost in Portlandia said...

It's not quite on the maps, but it's close:
There was a storefront that ran through the block in 1948 with the given previous address of 107 10th, but by that time it the storefronts on the separate sides of the block had been separated.
The block in question is that between Stark and Washington.

The relevant building did not exist in the previous edition of the map in 1908.

Mult Co Library Sanborn Maps

Address change directory:

Samuel Klein said...

Nice find! I didn't know about that section of the Multnomah County Website, nor the Sanborn insurance maps, which are a national treasure no matter what city you're talking about. They are insanely detailed.

The Address change directory David also pointed me at. That is kind of a holy grail for Address Nerds, and I plan on writing about this.

Thank you for the tip! Whoever you are, you made my day here.

Vintage Roadside said...

Here's a little more about the location on 10th.

This location is also where they operated their catering company out of.