Search for an old photograph of a Portland-area house

There has never been a comprehensive house-portrait project in the Portland area, so there is no treasure trove of photos of local homes to dig through.

Ask neighbors

A good place to start is with neighbors or the local neighborhood association.

People living on the same street may have their own old photographs that include the house in the background. Neighbors may also have information about prior residents of the house or other interesting neighborhood stories.

Go to the Oregon Historical Society

The OHS collection includes millions of photographs and negatives of people, communities, commerce and life in the Pacific Northwest. There is no section devoted to house portraits, but you may find photographs of a specific street, or photographs indexed under the name of a former owner of the house.

Some images in the collection are only images available by visiting in person.

Visit the Portland City Archives 

The City Archives has photographs of infrastructure and maintenance work done over the years. Houses sometimes appear in the background of these photographs.

Search online for records (including photographs) using the Archives' catalog, Efiles. Some photographs are not available online. To see original photographs, make an appointment to visit the Archives’ Research Room in downtown Portland.

Check out the Vintage Portland blog

Features a different historical photograph (or sometimes a map or drawing) of Portland every day. Posts are sorted into categories for neighborhoods, street names, time periods, and topics.

Read The History of Albina by Roy E. Roos

Brief histories for a selection of houses and other buildings across different eras in Albina's development.