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Blagen Block images
Blagen Block Blagen Block elevation Blagen Block column detail
Blagen Block

Built 1888
30 NW First Avenue

Architect: Unknown
Cast-Iron Manufacturer: Willamette Iron Works (attributed)

Built at a cost of $50,000, the 100 foot Blagen Block is the last remaining example of the rhythmic rows of columns and arches that once united hundreds of block fronts on Portland’s streets. Pattern and detail on the front façade and in the arcade include acanthus leaves, stars and stripes, arrows, and laurel leaves. Bracketed scrolls above the capitals are topped by projecting lions’ heads, a favorite ornament in buildings of the time. This building is also an example of the “T” style shoulder arches, popular for their compact stacking and ease of storage when constructing in a bustling city. Another advantage was less chance of warping and shrinkage that could result from larger “single pour” arches. The manufacturer is unknown but the components resemble those made by Willamette Iron Works.

Photographs by Kevin Costello

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