St. Frances Apartments – Portland Oregon

St. Frances Apartments – Portland Oregon

St. Frances Apartments

These are the St. Frances Apartments on NW 21st in Portland. It is one of two buildings (that I know of,) in Portland that have one rather unique architectural feature. Described on the web site as “glass-enclosed sun porch or balcony” these are actually sleeping rooms. The only other building that I know that has them is the Pittock Mansion.

If these are anything like the ones in the Pittock, then they have a drain hole in the middle and multiple openable windows. So if rain did come in during the night, it drained away and didn’t flood the room. This would allow someone to sleep in relative comfort in the “fresh air” in all months. During the summer months it had the practical advantage of allowing cool breezes to pass through. In the Pittock mansion at it’s higher elevation this would be a huge plus. My guess is that in these apartments the breezes were not as good, but the windows probably still helped – especially during those 80+ degree nights we occasionally get.

In addition, this places the date of construction of the apartments between 1910-1918 or so. Based on the design of the building I would lean towards 1910 or 1911. This area was heavily built after the highly successful Lewis and Clark Exhibition. Most likely this unique architectural feature was highly advertised by the original builders and comparisons were drawn between this building and the Pittock Mansion. By 1928 such additions were no longer necessary as there had been huge leaps in forced air and air conditioning technology.

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