Cast Iron Portland
Cast Iron Gallery
Architectural Artifacts
Period Photos & Drawings

History of Cast Iron

Restoring Cast Iron

Links to More Information


About the AHC
AHC Main
Abington Building, 1930
Abington Building, 1930 Abington Building Detail
Abington Building

Built 1886, Demolished 1967
SW Third Avenue between Stark and Washington

Simeon Reed, an organizer of the Oregon Steam Navigation Company and owner of the Oregon Iron & Steel Company, built Portland’s first five-story building in 1886 which he named for his birthplace, Abington, Massachusetts. He had arrived in Portland in 1852, beginning his career by working for William S. Ladd in the liquor business.

Reed adorned his elegant building with cast iron pilaster columns from the Portland Honeyman’s City Foundry, with delightful lion’s heads at the capitals. The cast iron arched entry was topped with a sheet metal balcony; another balcony was located at the third floor. Considered the finest Portland building of its day, it was also the city’s tallest until 1889. A fire in 1908 did considerable damage, but it was repaired with new design features incorporated.

As a prominent member of Portland’s “old guard,” Reed shared his wealth with many worthy causes, including the YMCA and Boys & Girls Aid Society. Reed moved to California in 1891, and died in Pasadena in 1895. His wife, who died in 1904, provided for the “Reed Institute” in her will, with their fortune. It opened in 1911 as Reed College. The glorious Abington Building, in which Reed spared no expense for its construction, was demolished in 1967, during the last wave of destruction of much of Portland’s unmatched cast iron legacy.

Related Items
Simon Building Same foundry: Simon Building Lion's Head from Abington Building Lion's Head from Abington Building McKay & Abington Buildings, 1894 McKay & Abington Buildings, 1894