Wednesday, March 3, 2010

A. E. Doyle's Bank of California Building, 1924

On the corner of SW 6th and SW Stark, stands another of my favorite downtown Portland buildings. I'm partial to Portland's prolific architect of yesteryear, A. E. Doyle.


Huge windows. Tiny pedestrians, in relation to the huge windows. Notice the public art? It's part of the Transit Mall's collection.


Notice the Benson bubbler, to the right between the public art and the tree?


The Z marks the transit stop near that corner.


You'll see this same intricate light fixture on a different Doyle building.

From Wikipedia, but I need to add that the sign on the building is not for The Bidwell & Company. It says Three Kings. I couldn't find anything about Three Kings, Portland, at that address. Anyone know anything?

The Bank of California Building or also The Bidwell & Company Building, is a historic two-story building in downtown Portland, Oregon. Since 1978, it has been on the National Register of Historic Places. The building is currently vacant.

This location was the site of the first Portland Central Library, which moved to its present site in the early 1920s. The Bank of California saw the lot as fit to build a Portland branch and hired local notable architect A.E. Doyle to design it. Doyle's chief designer Charles K. Green had traveled abroad to study Greco-roman architectural forms in the 1910s. The result of his research resulted in three Italianate buildings, of which the Bank of California Building was the first. The others were the Chicago/Italianate Pacific Building and the Public Service Building, an early skyscraper. The exterior lights on the Public Services Building are of the same design of those on the Bank of California Building.

The Bank of California remained at this site for 50 years until moving a couple of blocks west to the Union Bank of California Tower. The building underwent an intensive renovation in 2000.


Colin Riseley said...

It is nice to see the old building is still standing. During the 60s and 70s this was the home of Durham and Bates Insurance Co. My father worked there for decades in the downstairs former vault floor. I spent some time in the building during Saturday mornings when my father would let me tag along if he had need to work on a weekend. In the lobby stood the pedestal compass from the Peter Iredale (a shipwreck on the Oregon coast) and there were many large ship models on display in glass cases. Durham and Bates was the Lloyds of London broker for marine insurance in the Pacific Northwest which explains the nautical theme indoors.

Lynette said...

Thank you so much, Colin, for your comment. I would love to see the interior of the building, although I imagine it no longer holds the compass or the ship models. Thanks again!

Colin Riseley said...

You are quite welcome. I'll be visiting my mother in Oregon late this summer. She has lots of old photos and I enjoy going through them with her. If I can find any of the inside of the building I will share them with you.

Lynette said...

What a treat to look forward to, Colin. Thanks!

Colin Riseley said...

Lynette, I was looking around this morning for a little more history of the building and I ran across this link with some interior images from the past including the Durham and Bates era. No ship models or compass I'm afraid. My Oregon trip will be in August and I will still look for more pics for you while I am there.

Lynette said...

Little did I realize that Christmas morning had been rescheduled, until I opened the link you've provided today, Colin. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Just last Thursday evening, for the second time, I went on the Architectural Heritage Center's Downtown Portland Terra Cotta Walking Tour. One of the stops was on the corner of SW 6th and SW to take a look at this wonderful building from the point of view of the first photo at the link. Of course, the wonderful trees on the Transit Mall are filled with leaves now, but I still took several photos. That building is so pleasing to my eyes that I cannot resist taking photos of it, leaves in the way or not.

One more thing which I had totally forgotten about--at the Oregon Historical Society gift shop, I found myself holding in my hand a 5x7 print of the second image at the link. I bought it! It's on my desk right now! The contrast has been increased somewhat from the image at the link, but I can easily imagine myself as the photographer who took the photo on 7/20/1925, the date written on the OHS label on the back which states that it is for reference only and not to be copied for resale or digitally transferred, etc.

I look forward to hearing from you again, Colin. And, by the way, while you're in Oregon, if you've got time and depending on the time of day and if you're in Portland or nearby, I'd love to take you to breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner. Your mother, too.

Colin Riseley said...

I almost forgot about another link that might interest you. This is the 1978 form related to the building's nomination for recognition in the National Register of Historic Places: "". It contains a brief history of the building up to that date. Thank you for the kind offer and I will look forward to meeting with you in a couple of months while I visit Portland.