History - Pioneer Courthouse Square

2015 TIME CAPSULE CONTENTS

timecapsulebadge

A year after Pioneer Courthouse Square opened, nearly 50 items were buried in a time capsule located near the southeast corner of the Square. Therefore, in 2014 for the Square’s 30th anniversary we unearthed the original time capsule, with the help of The Oregon Historical Society, and set out to build a new time capsule that would capture quintessential Portland today.

After soliciting suggestions from Portlanders over the course of a year, we assembled a jury of esteemed Portlanders to select the final contents for the 2015 time capsule.  In all, more than 200 items were generously donated from local organizations and business that were determined to best exemplify Portland today.

The 2015 Portland Time Capsule was sealed on April 19 2015, and will be opened at the Square’s 50th Anniversary celebration in 2034. To view some of the 2015 Portland Time Capsule items see below.


 

PIONEERING THE SQUARE

30th_pioneering

In honor of the Square’s 25th Anniversary in 2009 Randy Gragg and Audrey Alverson curated “Pioneering the Square,” a historical exhibit at the American Institute of Architects. The exhibit covered the history of the space, the design competition and the development of the Square. This is the story of how the Square came to be.

Click to View the Exhibit

TIMELINE

1849 Elijah Hill, a shoemaker, purchased the block for $24 and a pair of high boots.
1856 School Board purchased the block from James Field for $1,000.
1858 Central School opened (construction cost $6,000) with 280 pupils and three teachers, a year before Oregon became a star in the flag.
1875 Pioneer Courthouse, second oldest federal courthouse in the West opens
1883 Block sold to Northern Pacific Terminal Company (Henry Villard) for $75,000, as the site for a new hotel.
1883 P.A. Marquam purchased the school building and moved it a block to the north (American Bank Building)
1888-90 Portland Hotel constructed, only after a group of businessmen raised $750,000 in subscriptions.
1890 Portland Hotel opened (construction cost $1,000,000).

The Portland Hotel was eight stories high, contained 326 sleeping rooms, a restaurant, ballroom, billiard room, bar, sitting rooms, dining rooms, sewing rooms, a reception room, ladies parlors, public restrooms, public telephones, a news and cigar stand, Western Union telegraph office, quarters for live-in staff, and elevators. The price tag was over $1,000,000 and 4,000,000 bricks were used in its construction.
Local investors included George Markle, William Ladd, Henry Corbett, Henry Failing and many others.

1951 Meier & Frank purchased the block, razed the hotel, and built a two-level parking structure.

Much of the original stone foundation for the Portland Hotel remains under the sidewalks

Late 1960s Meier & Frank proposed an 11-story parking garage on the block, which was denied by the City after a series of heated public hearings. This proposal, perhaps more than any other event, prompted both the downtown business community and the City to undertake a comprehensive downtown planning program.
1972 – 1974:  Portland’s Downtown Plan proposed open space development of the current Pioneer Courthouse Squareblock. This plan set in motion the lengthy administrative and political negotiations thatresulted in the purchase of the block by the City, the international design competition, and the choice of the Will Martin design scheme.
April 6, 1984 A Square is Born! Pioneer Courthouse Square opens
1984 TriMet opens its Customer Assistance Center
1989 Starbucks opens its flagship store
2000 Portland celebrates the Millennium with 50,000 attendees
2001 Travel Portland opens its Visitor Information Center at the Square
2004 Pioneer Square achieves 300 annual programmed event days!
2007 Pioneer Courthouse Square goes Smoke-free
2009 KGW Newschannel 8’s HD Studio on the Square opens
March 30, 2013 First Annual Singin’ in the Square community sing-a-long presented by ShedRain.
April 6, 2014 30th Anniversary of Pioneer Courthouse Square

 


Step Back in Time with Will Martin

SONY DSC

Listen to an audio tour of Will Martin, the original architect of the Square, lead a tour Pioneer Courthouse Square.

Part One:

 

Part Two:

 

Part Three:

 

To view a transcript of Will Martin’s tour of Pioneer Courthouse Square, please click the link below.

Transcript

Pioneer Courthouse Square Panorama

×
Skycam

×
Flicks on the Bricks
Fill out my online form.
×
Time Capsule
Fill out my online form.
×