Cast Iron Portland
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History of Cast Iron

Restoring Cast Iron

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About the AHC
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Restoration of Cast-Iron Façades

map of proposed cast iron restoration sites
The first of Portland's cast iron buildings to be demolished was the Bank of British Columbia in 1928. Large scale demolotion of the old commercial heart of Portland began in earnest in the 1940s and continued well into the 1950s. Many buildings were replaced by surface parking lots, though what remains still constitutes the second-largest collection of cast iron-fronted buildings in the US.

Although not all the buildings remain, cast iron parts have been saved from many of the demolished buildings. These buildings could be reconstructed either at their original locations or at sites that had similar buildings. Seven sites in Portland's Old Town, all currently surface parking lots, have been selected as suitable sites for redevelopment (see map at right).

Some architects and preservationists have opposed the construction of such replica buildings, but such projects are gaining favor. The Classical Chinese Garden in this same area, a replica of a sixteenth-century Suzhou-style garden, is one such project. With community support and the materials remaining from careful preservation, Portland's first National Historic Landmark District could be a popular educational experience and tourist destination.

On the map shown, the numbers refer to the Restoration Sites described in this section.