Lovejoy Columns -- NOT Gone

This is one of those photos that has a more interesting story than visual impact.

I'm going to copy in a description from YELP of the Lovejoy columns (these two columns -- one is hidden in the tree -- are sited across the street from my office). I loved how the writer below saw why something that was perhaps less that inspiring (certainly not a great photo) could serve as inspiration.

"This is a little piece of Portland history. It's the work of architects, who usually are building things. Instead they saved them from being made into gravel....

Northwest Portland where the Pearl District is today had rail yards and warehouses. It was the part of town where no one bothered campers and artists rented studios where they could make a mess and make as much noise as they wanted without disturbing sleeping Portland. In particular the warehouses along 11th were notorious in a good way.

Where NW Lovejoy joined the Broadway Bridge was a long viaduct over the railroad tracks, much longer than today's, extending to about NW 13th. Greek immigrant and folk artist Tom E. Stefopoulos worked in the yards as a night watchman. In his spare time, he drew with chalk and painted figures from Greek mythology on those bridge supports. In a way, he may have been Portland's first recorded street artist, working between 1940's and 1952.

When the City decided to tear down the viaduct to build condos in late 1990's, a group of architects organized a project to preserve intact 10 of the columns with the least graffitied paintings. Two have been restored and stand in the courtyard...

You can search around the Interwebs for more on the "Lovejoy Columns" which appear in the opening sequence of Drugstore Cowboy: http://www.youtube.com/w…. They are also the background for a short film which Elliot Smith did some songs for: http://www.youtube.com/w…. Or check http://myweb.msoe.edu/~w… for some pre-Pearl photos and the architect's story at http://www.metropolismag….

So I guess this is a review of a bridge that is gone, an artist who is gone, a music video by a musician who is gone, a local film - before the director gone great, railroads that are gone, artist spaces that are gone. But also of the symbol of all that, which is very much with us."

I'm so glad that someone cared enough to save and even honor so much that is now gone.

The columns -- with the artwork in tact -- are still with us.
Very cool story... a piece of history.
posted May 24th, 2013  
great story, just think of all we have lost for progress.
posted May 24th, 2013  
Great capture Cathy...thanks for sharing this!
posted May 24th, 2013  
Thanks for the story. Very interesting.
posted May 24th, 2013  
Interesting facts Cathie, it's wonderful that they have been preserved for all to see, even me in Australia, thanks for sharing.
posted May 24th, 2013  
Kev
Great story, Cathie.
posted May 24th, 2013  
Interesting piece of history. Lovely to see this has been preserved
posted May 24th, 2013  
Thank you for sharing this photo and the very interesting history behind the columns, so glad they were kept for the people of Portland.
posted May 24th, 2013  
Interesting story, Cathie. If I ever get to Portland, I will go and have a look.
posted May 24th, 2013  
Fascinating story - I'm pleased that these works of art have been preserved!!

Ian
posted May 24th, 2013  
Great story and great to see that the columns have been preserved
posted May 24th, 2013  
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