Building Feature: Portland’s New Market Building

Portland’s New Market Building (built in 1872) sits across the cobblestone street from the historic Skidmore Fountain and is a prominent feature at Portland’s Saturday Market. While the Saturday Market has not always been located here, the New Market Block, with the New Market Building and the projecting colonnade, was constructed to house both a theater and a produce market (because, of course!).

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I’m always one to champion the less-appreciated buildings, but the beauty of the New Market Building is hard to resist. And in fact, the cluster of Italianate masonry and cast iron buildings found in the Skidmore/Old Town Historic District is recognized as one of the best on the West coast.

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And what of the free-standing colonnade? It was repurposed from a building demolished in the 1960s during one of Portland’s building booms. It is a excellent example of reuse despite demolition and is an emblem of the neighborhood easily spotted from the MAX trains. Portland has its fair share of contemporary office buildings but the more you look, the more you’ll see Portland’s history in the buildings, and on the streets, in between.

Sources and further reading:

Restore Oregon has a page dedicated to the Skidmore/Old Town Historic District.

Further history on Portland’s Skidmore Market page.

There are some great historic photographs of downtown Portland in this Oregonian article, “In the 1940s, Portland gained a freeway, lost old but impressive buildings.

And, historic photos of the New Market Block & Theater here.

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