Montgomery Ward & Company, Portland, Oregon
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Queens Blessing
N 45° 32.239 W 122° 42.482
10T E 522795 N 5042684
Quick Description: Built in 1920, this former Montgomery Ward mail-order catalog store/warehouse/dept store was built on the former location of the Lewis & Clark Centennial Exposition and was the largest building in Portland for many years.
Location: Oregon, United States
Date Posted: 9/13/2012 8:00:07 PM
Waymark Code: WMF99Q
Published By: Groundspeak Charter Member BruceS
Views: 7

Long Description:
There is a plaque in front of the Montgomery Ward & Company building that reads as follows: "Fourteen years had passed since the 1906 Lewis & Clark Centennial Exposition drew throngs to the newly erected fairgrounds at this site. Not many landmarks remained. The massive World Foresty Center (the world's larges log cabin) still stood nearby, as did the old Portland Beaver's baseball park, commonly known as "Vaughn Street."

It was December of 1919, the First World War over for barely a year, when George R. Thorne, president of Montgomery Ward & Company announced the construction of an enormous warehouse here. The nation's oldest and largest mail-order retail company sought to expand its operations in the western states, and to open new markets in Alaska, Hawaii, and the Pacific Rim. By September, of 1920 the Montgomery Ward warehous was completed, the largest commercial building in Portland, even without the north wing that was added in 1936.

A center of this neighborhood's commerce for over sixty years (from the Woodrow Wilson to the Ronald Reagan administrations), Montgomery Ward & Company closed down the massive but outdated warehouse in 1982. The building was purchased by Bill and Sam Naito in 1985, renovated by SERA architects, and reopened in 1987 as Montgomery Park. As a trade show and office facility, the building has continued to serve as a center of commercial life in Northwest Portland. The Vaugh Street ballpark was torn down in 1956. The World Forestry Center was lost in a 1964 fire. But the Montgomery Ward & Company building, now on the National Register of Historic Places, remains a vital landmark in the ongoing history of the neighborhood and the city."


Additional information:

The building was occupied by Montgomery Ward from 1920 until 1985. It was built with 569,000 square feet, with 9 floors plus a basement. The first floor was used mostly for loading and unloading freight that arrived by truck or railcar on the 3 railspurs at the location, floors 2 & 3 were office space and the remaining floors (4 to 9) were mostly warehouse. In 1935-36, an additional 229,000 square foot wing was added, making the former L-shaped building U-shaped. Many Oregonians will remember the huge, steel-framed sign that stood solidly on the roof of the building, reading MONTGOMERY WARD. When the building was purchased in 1984 and renovated into office/trade show space by brothers Bill and Sam Naito, the thrifty duo only had to change two of the letters on the huge sign, to convert it to MONTGOMERY PARK, which is what the building is called now.
Street address:
2741 NW Vaughn Street
Portland, Oregon USA

County / Borough / Parish: Multnomah

Year listed: 1985

Historic (Areas of) Significance: Event, Architecture/Engineering

Periods of significance: 1925-1949, 1900-1924

Historic function: Warehouse & Department Store

Current function: Trade shows/Commerce, office, Department Store

Privately owned?: yes

Season start / Season finish: From: 1/1/2012 To: 12/31/2012

Hours of operation: From: 9:00 AM To: 5:00 AM

Primary Web Site: [Web Link]

Secondary Website 1: [Web Link]

Secondary Website 2: Not listed

National Historic Landmark Link: Not listed

Visit Instructions:
Please give the date and brief account of your visit. Include any additional observations or information that you may have, particularly about the current condition of the site. Additional photos are highly encouraged, but not mandatory.
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