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The Hollywood Neighborhood in northeast Portland was named after the ornate Hollywood Theater which was built by Walter Tebbetts. The theater opened on July 17, 1926 with the silent movie, "More Pay-Less Work". Prior to 1926, this area was known as “Hollyrood”, Oregon after the Scottish Holyrood.

The Hollywood District was originally part of the Rose City Park subdivision which was platted in 1907. The original Rose City Park subdivision was part of a land claim of Joseph Backenstos, which was assigned to his widow by President Andrew Johnson in 1866. Early maps, around 1890, refer to this area as the Crook Tract. Hollywood is adjacent to the Laurelhurst and Grant Park Neighborhoods.

 

This view of Portland’s Hollywood District looking east on Sandy Boulevard is from about 1945. On the left, you can see a Standard Gas Station and the Christian Science Reading Room in the Ranken Building by the Sherwin Williams Paint Store. On the right is Carmen’s Restaurant and Stan Block’s Sunset Gasoline Service and Music Mart in front of the Hollywood Theatre.

 

Once upon a time, Sandy Boulevard in the Hollywood Neighborhood was the most popular automobile cruising destination in Oregon. The signature 7-Up Tower in the upper right, was originally a milk bottle at the Steigerwald Dairy Company.

 

With their grand opening on May 19, 20 and 21, 1926, Steigerwald Dairy Company, dedicated a new plant topped by a huge milk bottle at 37th & Sandy. Steigerwald Dairy Company boasted the first and largest automatic conveyor bottling plant in the Northwest. With the new plant, Steigerwald’s could wash the glass milk bottles, fill, and cap them at a rate of 2,500 per hour.

Alvin Steigerwald’s Dairy was one of the earliest dairies in East Portland. The original Steigerwald Farm was located between Prescott and Killingsworth  Streets from 42nd to about 52nd Street. In addition to selling creamery products, the farm raised nursery stock. Their products were distributed in 1920 at 43rd and Sandy.

The huge milk bottle measured 27 feet in diameter and at 75 feet tall, it was the tallest structure in Northeast Portland. A spiral staircase inside the huge replica was used to take a Christmas tree to the top each year. Lighted with red and green electric bulbs, the tree could be seen for miles. Alvin Steigerwald’s motto was “Bold on Quality - Never on Price.” In 1936, the dairy was sold and the original milk bottle was covered with lath and plaster, taking on a new shape. For a short time, it became two Pabco Paint cans. By the 1940s, Pabco Paint gave way to the art deco 7-Up sign which remained there until 2002. The sign now advertises Budweiser Beer.

 

The Hollywood Theater as it looked on October 31, 1926. The Theater had opened a few months earlier. Associated Gas can be seen in front of the Theater. This view is looking east on Broadway at 39th and Sandy Blvd. Freemans’s Hardware can be seen on the right.

 

Early view of a Rose City car at 52nd & Sandy. In 1907, real estate developers Hartman & Thompson laid out an extensive project in the Rose City Park Addition along Sandy Road and they received a  franchise to operate a streetcar along Sandy. Portland Railway Light & Power Company agreed to build and operate the line. In May, less than three months after the franchise was granted, the new Rose City line opened. Originally, the line branched off of the East Ankeny Line at 28th & Sandy. Two years later, the line was extended west on Sandy to Sixteenth.

 

Rose City Car 582 at the end of the line at 82nd & Sandy where it connected with Parkrose Car 136. Streetcar service to Hollywood ended in 1936 when electric busses began operating on Sandy. Busses running on overhead electricity would remain until 1963.

In 1931 Fred Meyer opened up a store in the Hollywood Neighborhood along Sandy Boulevard. In addition to groceries, general merchandise and a pharmacy, the new store offered off street parking and a gas station. Paulsen's Pharmacy has continued to operate out of its original 1918 location at 4246 NE Sandy Blvd. Famous for operating a 1920s style soda fountain, Paulsen's offers old fashioned customer service along with the latest products.

Sandy Boulevard has seen its share of restaurants representing nearly every major ethnicity come and go. After the repeal of prohibition in 1933, Pal's Shanty opened in 1937 at 47th and Sandy Boulevard.

 

Another icon of Hollywood Past was the controversial Coon Chicken Inn which was located at 54th & Sandy. The entrance was shaped like the head of an African American porter with exaggerated features. After opening restaurants in Salt Lake City in 1925 and Seattle in 1929, Maxon Graham opened a third location in Portland in 1930, serving its famous chicken dinners. Customers would actually have to walk through this head’s huge open mouth in order to enter. Inside the restaurant, they would soon discover that this colorful logo was on the menus, silverware, plates, cups, glasses, ashtrays, toothpick holders, receipts, straws, and placemats. The restaurant operated in Portland until 1949.

 

Hollywood’s most popular restaurant, however, was Yaw's Top Notch which opened in 1926. It was famous for its burgers, gravy fries and berry tarts.

 

In 1936, Yaw’s moved a block away to 42nd Avenue.

 

Interior view of Yaw’s Top Notch at 1901 NE 42nd Avenue.

 

In 1955, Yaw’s opened a brand new restaurant with Car Hop Service. The popular "tootsie roll cop” handed out tootsie rolls to the youth cruising by the restaurant. After 56 years of serving quality food, Yaws closed in 1982.

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Last updated 10-28-16

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