Cast Iron Portland
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Cast Iron History and Portland's Old Town

Surpassed only by New York City’s Soho District, Portland’s cast iron-fronted architecture, located primarily in the Skidmore/Old Town National Historic Landmark District, is the largest and most treasured collection in the western United States.
Portland before Cast Iron, Front Ave
Front Avenue before the advent of cast iron construction
One of the most significant chapters of Portland’s early architecture was the city’s unified participation in the development of cast iron building materials and their use in construction. While parts of Europe and the United States were just starting to embrace cast iron construction in the 1840s, Portland’s new wealth from trade, gold and timber created feverish demand for creating a new city reflective of their extraordinary success.

Portland was founded in 1845. Many of its most successful merchants heralded from the East Coast, where they were exposed to the elaborate and imposing architecture of Boston and New York. With their success in the Northwest, they were poised and motivated to build a city whose structures were on par with or even exceeded the most prominent urban structures of the Eastern United States.