She’s Baaack!

As a “from the beginning” Portlander (my beginning, not the city’s) Ladd’s Carriage House is a lifelong memory for me. IMG_3265In long ago days, the intersection of Broadway and Columbia tended to be one of those you circled constantly, perhaps looking for parking somewhat near the movie theaters that used to line Broadway (I think they are all gone now?) or near the Paramount (the Schnitz) where you might be attending a concert and perhaps sleeping on the sidewalk the night before. The Carriage House was always there (unless you were born before 1883, not me) and while you never saw any activity there, you were happy to see it still existed, even with its somewhat gloomy charcoal and white paint job. As this isn’t Elizabethan England, the building was always a distinctive one here. Portland has been lame when it comes to cool looking timbered construction since the early 20th century, we used to have lots of cast iron (and still have a decent selection) but really no comparable buildings in the Ladd’s Carriage House style.

Yes, it’s true this building was erected to house horses and carriages for the mansion that used to sit across Columbia where that Chevron station has been abandoned for years. Can you imagine what this block would look like if the Ladd Mansion still existed? (Yes, thank god there’s an abandoned gas station there instead!) It seems an interesting juxtaposition though, from horsie stable to multimillion dollar eatery.IMG_3286 Luckily they cleaned up all the poo years ago. There was a time when some offices were in the building, but that seems to have ended decades ago, so all you had over the last 20-30 years or so was a fancy but drooping shell. I read a feature story with Lisa Mygrant, the owner of Raven and Rose, saying one reason the build-out of the restaurant took so long, 14 months, and surely cost so much, was because there was nothing really inside the building to work with, no ducts, plumbing or wiring. I’m not sure what happened to all the infrastructure after the offices moved out, maybe they were removed to make the building “easier” to move and to create more possibilities for a future buyer?