A Blog by Cabel Sasser

The Basement

Somewhere in Portland, there’s a very old building, and that very old building has a very, very old basement. An incredible basement, a video-game-level basement, a set-decorator’s dream basement.

And when you walk past the janitors office, with the wonderfully decked halls…


And tromp down a sunken hallway…


You find a old room. Mostly empty, dusty, and dead quiet.


And then you start to look closer at the walls.

And you start to see things.





(You see that Brown didn’t often pay his dime for coffee.)


(You see that a lot of calculation was done right on the wall.)


(You see that World War I was front and center on everyone’s mind.)


(You wonder what was being tallied, and if it was better to win or lose.)


(And you learn the tongue-in-check “rules” of the room.)


And eventually, you crawl behind a corner, and discover a bundle of conduit.


Conduit for every major internet carrier you’ve ever heard of.


Oh, right. You had almost forgotten.

This building, this basement, is the major internet hub for the entire region.

And a wall, where all this data enters the basement just as you did, you see them.


Somehow, still surrounding these cutting-edge, fiber-optic links that burst through the wall, they’re frozen in time, looking at you.

How are they still there? My god, 2012. Could they even imagine?











On the way out, you chat up a worker in the building.

And his story clicks it all into place.


Turns out, he claims, “they used to print The Oregonian down here, way back.”

The pressmen, one imagines, worked day and night down here, working the lumbering machines, spitting out another edition of the day’s business.


And when something caught their eye? Out came the scissors and the paste.


It’s almost too perfect.

The roar of the presses that ruled these rooms has been replaced, just as we all suspected, with the calculated silence of the conduit that carries our data. This data, in fact. These very photos.

100 years from now, when another one of you goes spelunking around this basement, that data, those bits, today’s moments, will likely be long, long gone.

But the women on the wall might still be waiting.


Leave a Reply

  1. Arlo

    Fantastic post. What an amazing juxtaposition. Absolutely amazing.

  2. Cosmo Catalano (@cosmocatalano)

    Awesome post, and a great find. That’s a World War I map/paper/article, though. (“The Sunday Oregonian, Portland, Oct 27, 1918). Actually, just 15 days before the armistice.

  3. Nathan Crowder

    This, right here, is one of the reasons I’m such a geek for history and architecture. Thanks for the fantastic post!

  4. theitaliangame


  5. theitaliangame

    Hi Cabel,
    i’m Ivan, an italian journalist. What a wonderful place and post. Could you email me at Thanx!

  6. LC Freiderici

    Thank you. Wonderful post.

  7. Andy Baio (@waxpancake)

    Using Cosmo’s date, I found the original map from the Oregonian archives, courtesy of the Multnomah Public Library:

  8. Andy Baio (@waxpancake)

    Found this image, too:

    It’s a Standard Oil advertisement from the July 14, 1922 edition:

  9. unhillbilly

    Especially insightful work. I wonder if there will be any trace of the current events carried in those “pipes” a hundred years hence.

  10. Kirtan Patel (@kirtan)

    Wonderful. Thanks.

  11. Samantha Soma (@sisoma)

    I love every person who went to that basement and DIDN’T tear down the papers or “clean” the walls outside of what was necessary. Thanks for sharing the sort of treasure I’ve always dreamed of finding.

  12. Stephen


  13. allison

    someone please, please tell the Leverage crew about this. what an amazing episode it could make!

  14. UW

    Call Jason Scott to preserve that stuff.

  15. Marilyn Buchanan

    Really appreciate this, thanks…from a native Oregonian.

  16. Amanda Erickson

    Ah, so those rules would be the “press room rules” then? Cool. Fan of architecture, hidden spaces, paste-ups of ladies in old-fashioned bathing costumes and the good, old press. Thanks for this!

  17. Donovan

    It looks like an Art Director’s photographic set for the textures used in Fallout 3. I still can’t believe that place exists by chance!

  18. Ronald Wanner

    This has got to be THE BEST thing I have ever seen on my laptop & it did’nt cost a single penny!!!!! 😉

  19. John Lawson

    Great story, thanks Cabel!

  20. Brian Blanton

    Thanks Cabel, great find and a great story. Thanks for taking the time to share.

  21. Brett Atkins

    Isn’t that the Pittock basement? I’ve been there!

  22. Susan Stelljes

    Fascinating. A time capsule of history.

  23. zdavis1645

    Yeah, it does look like the Pittock basement, doesn’t it.

  24. jon

    …so it IS a series of tubes

  25. Tony Schneider


  26. cp dunbar

    reminds you of a sebment in the “Dead Poets Society” where an old picture of a class of schoolmates, long dead, are described by Robin Williams as once being young as we are, with dreams and hopes for the future, the same as we do. Essentially we all live our lives the same, and the people in those pictures are us, just earlier in time. and where we are now , they once were. Where they are, we will be. Puts perspective. Incredibly good post and pictures that makes you stop and think.

  27. Daniel Wozniak

    Very, very cool. Thanks so much for thaking the time to get all the great pictures and put them together like this with the narative.

  28. pengguna


  29. John DeHope

    I loved this, thank you. I am fascinated by abandoned places and things. Is there a word for that?

  30. jamesrobertsmith

    Interesting stuff. You realize that we haven’t really changed after 100 years.

  31. Katha Dalton

    what a wonderful world

    wabi sabi

    thank you so much <3

  32. organicgoddess

    Lovely. Thank you! (I seem to be stuck in WW1 right now, between Downton Abbey, and most of the fiction I’ve been picking up at random. And now this. Cheers!)

  33. Stacy

    Life is so cool.

  34. Scott Ashcraft

    This posting of print media was done across America at the time, probably socioecomomic. We documented an old Appalachian mountain home in western NC where you could discern where the children stayed, where the wife/mother spent most of her time, etc. In this case, newspapers, magazines, and fliers were used, whatever caught their eye. After awhile, the walls were nearly covered, like a type of personalized wall-paper that profiled the personality of everyone living there. Neat stuff, thanks for posting.

  35. AndyPhxAZ

    From the world of paper to the world of digital, amazing pictures! Thanks

  36. Dennis K.

    From the Wikipedia article on The Oregonian: “The paper’s offices and presses were originally housed in a two-story building at the intersection of First Street (now [SW] First Avenue) and [SW] Morrison Street, but in 1892 the paper moved into a new nine-story building at [SW] 6th and [SW] Alder streets, not moving again until 1948.”

    Does this mean that The Oregonian presses were in a building across the street from Lipman Wolfe and Meier & Frank? I remember the building across from M&F was a Woolworths in the 1960s…curious minds!

    (PS: Thank you for a wonderful article!)

  37. Joanna

    Beautiful! Thanks!

  38. Dylan Boyd (@dtboyd)

    There is an awesome warehouse in NW PDX that a friend built into his office. And when he was taking down all the walls to get back to the brick and beams he found 100s of old Tobacco baseball trading cards. Similar to these finds but so fragile he had to leave them all in place to become a perm part of the office. Love seeing things like this. Thanks

  39. elissa middlemas

    incredible. thanks so much for sharing this, cabel!

  40. ricklepage

    beautifully, done, Cabel.

  41. Elizabeth Dancer

    Just moved to Portland…
    I want to go exploring!

  42. George Huff

    This is awesome. It reads like a book I read my daughter, “If You Give a Moose a Muffin.”

  43. soozed

    I have no words to describe how fantastic this is

  44. kmuhammadali

    wow… just amazing!

  45. ginarau (@ginarau)

    I’m so very thankful for whomever stood up for the memories and history captured on these walls that cannot speak but tell such a special story.

  46. karlos

    oh my god, this is the strangest story i’ve ever read about

  47. Bailey Dean

    Cabel… thank you so much for sharing your “find” with us all. It’s beautiful and fascinating.

  48. Jonathan Khoo (@jonk)

    love this.

  49. Kyle Alm

    That is really incredible, I love that the newspaper was where the Internet is now and that there are old-timey pics of women in swimsuits. The world makes sense again.

  50. Kyle Alm

    Reblogged this on Keepkalm's Blog and commented:
    Very cool photo post from Portland.

  51. Jessi Gage

    Cool. Wonderful photos here.

  52. KC

    I love it. Very poignant. I live in Portland; I want a tour too!

  53. Joshua Kehrberg

    Way cool! Thanks for sharing.

  54. uptotibet

    Fantastic presentation style. Exceptionally inspirational.

  55. Jordan Richardson

    I’m totally going to the basement tomorrow and checking this out.

  56. J

    My guess is HEMP Paper must be why it’s so well preserved!

  57. Pam

    Definitely a re-post & tweet.

    Thank you so very much.

  58. Alec Maki (@alec_maki)

    Sheer awesomeness! And, to think, it’s here in Oregon. Nice find!

  59. Pat Barrett

    Fabulous! Charming!

  60. ramirofv

    Amazing story. Awesome writing. Greetings from Buenos Aires, Argentina.

  61. Krizka

    Reblogged this on the freedom fiend..

  62. solomonchik (@solomonchik)

    Thank you. FAB!

  63. phill

    cool… better put a clear coat of varnish on it all and preserve that coolness!!

  64. Chelsea Nichols

    Reblogged this on The Museum of Ridiculously Interesting Things and commented:
    This incredible post on documents the remnants of an old newspaper printing room, complete with scraps of vintage newspaper photographs pasted onto the walls, hidden within what is now a major internet cable hub. Such an interesting contrast, which really makes me think about the hidden histories of spaces that exist all around us.

  65. Chelsea Nichols

    This is an incredible post! It really makes you think about the hidden histories of spaces that exist all around us. What a treasure.

  66. Paul Canis

    There are two types of people in the world. those who find this unspeakably beautiful, and those who answered in the negative to Robert Plant’s query regarding if anyone remembered laughter.

  67. David

    I use to work in the Pittock Building, ground level on Stark St. between 9th and 10th., just as they were beginning to tear out the basement to make room for fiber optics and all their equipment, we became very friendly with some of the workers who work down there from start to finish, there were lots of interesting stories that were told to us, one being of a water run off river from the west hills and emptying in the Willamette river….fish use to swim up stream under Portland as far as they could go…maintenance workers use to catch fish and take home…Several of the workers involved in the remodel took out old scraps of wood, hinges etc., made birdhouses, I am proud to say that I still have a hand made bird house from the old wood that was removed from the basement. The copper boilers that were in one of the sub levels of the basement that used to supply heat to most of downtown was scrapped by Mr. Sam Schnitzer….creating Schnitzer Steel.

  68. Rob Marquardt (@someToast)

    Is it open to the public? Do you have to bribe a janitor, or just walk on down?

  69. Anirban

    And then, there was a *ding*

  70. Megan

    I would love to take this tour….where do I sign up

  71. Rella

    This makes me so happy, what a gem!

  72. chakib benziane

    For a moment i really felt like i was admiring all these details while starting a newt chapter of Half Life 3 and trying to make sense of these!

    Thanx for this inspiring post

  73. Jeremy Hulette (@nothingistrue)

    beautiful, and perfectly presented 🙂

  74. Dennis Kendal Hall

    Since Today Is Said To Be ‘The End Of Days,’ I Feel It Appropriate To Be Able To View These Great Artifacts. Art Is Really Where One Finds It. DKH

  75. JB

    A gift! Thank you for sharing this.

  76. mark zero (Jason) (@markzero)

    The Pittock Block, right? I was an engineer at the local Verio office from 2001-2002, during which time another department built the data center upstairs, there. (We had a POP/escorted colo facility on the ground floor, before then, but shut ours down.) The bubble burst right around the time the new center opened, so it never had much in it. I got laid off and moved back to Texas, and I’ve often wondered what happened to that space since then, but I never even thought about the basement, before…

  77. Paul

    I enjoyed that. Cheers.

  78. Joen A.

    Reblogged this on Lens Cap.

  79. aric shunneson juggernut

    Aric Shunneson

  80. aric shunneson juggernut

    I mean, “Rad”

  81. Francene

    Nice. I used to work down the streeet at the Bank of California (now Union Bank). I loved going down into the basement and finding all the old bank ledgers, an abstract of title, and bits and pieces of history from by gone years. Wish I had thought to photograph it. Wonderful that you did.

  82. newmediamike

    Let me get this straight. When they saw something that caught their eye they would cut and paste it to their wall?

  83. dgoody

    This is so crazy … thank you for posting. It depicts my career: print to web. What is next?

  84. Erik R.

    Brilliant. Nothing more fun than letting your imagination run wild inside a time capsule such as this.

  85. Jeff


  86. Richard Gerry

    that is a very cool post. Thanks very much for that.

  87. Beth MacKinnon (@MacBeth100)

    this is spectacular.

  88. Emilie Bushlen

    This is fantastic. Thank you for sharing!

  89. Jelly Helm

    This makes me want to cry for some reason – but it also might be the Sufjan Stevens Christmas album we’re listening to. Thank you!

  90. Daniel Fox

    Awesome post! I have worked at this building for 7+ years now and have had the benefit of walking the basement several times for infrastructure tours with its 40 feet ceilings and technology relics, like the 60+ year old retired electrical switches decommissioned and laying against the wall right around the corner from the top of the line power conditioning rooms and diesel generators. Its an amazing place where a century of history meets the most modern of technology and infrastructure. Love the pics and detail, thanks for sharing.

  91. Dan "Patio" Dalton

    I heard if you go further back in the room there are hieroglyphics.

  92. Sarah C

    VERY cool!!! I love history!! Thank you for posting this AMAZING story!!

  93. mykie

    Nice work, Cabel.

    I even love the old-timey porn on the walls!

  94. giobando

    Incredible and beatiful

  95. Matt Thomas

    Reblogged this on Matt Thomas and commented:
    An amazing basement. Really. (And am so amazed and stoked to see Cabel on

  96. Diana Bailey Harris

    I loved this. It’s right up my alley. I’ve advanced a few decades & am now deciphering the diaries & letters my dad saved beginning in 1934. This after producing a book about my great-grandfather, based on all the letters & documents he saved from 1857-1900.

  97. Julie Thomas-Climenson

    I loved the newspaper artlcle and your tour here on this site. I used to work at the old US National Bank of Oregon 321 SW 6th Ave, and used to love to explore the basement there and see the relics of by-gone banking days. When US Bank sold the building and the new owners sealed that part of the basement off which ran under the old Wells Fargo Bank building adjoining it.

  98. David Boyll (@dboyll)

    Shared on

  99. artsyaim

    I work in this building. The janitor, Frank, is awesome.

  100. Holly Hutchinson

    Absolutley amazing. Thank you very much.

  101. bshap93

    Reblogged this on Ben's Sphere.

  102. Manas Kumar

    amazing post

  103. Chris Y.

    So simple, so complex, so beautiful. Thank you.

  104. worldwalker

    What a terrific post. Thanks for sharing your adventure. Any chance you have or will post hi-res versions of the pics? I’m a map and history geek and would love to zoom in to details on that World War I map.

  105. Adele

    I loved this. It is so interesting and I am so sure that there are many other treasures under some of the other old buildings in downtown Portland. Will you consider spelunking any other buildings?

  106. pascalehuber

    I love this story. Thank you!

  107. orbmiser

    Cool Essay Always wanted to go underground to capture the past and the unusual below our feet here in Portland.

    Outstanding Essay!

  108. Ron

    Interfacing two world-changing singularities: print and internet

  109. Eric

    Cabel, thanks for the great post and wonderful photos. It’s too bad that these types of histories aren’t kept more often.
    Also, I found this via MinimalMac.

  110. Elaine Furst

    Let us know when the tours start. Very cool pictures and commentary. Are there any rats………..?

  111. Cindy Risser

    Awesome find. What a great little adventure, loved it.

  112. Steven Hashimoto

    Very cool that whoever installed the new conduit didn’t just tear everything else down, simply because they could/it was there.

  113. camrynforrest57

    Fabulous find!

  114. Ares

    Outstanding! Thanks for these visuals and a great story

  115. Gayle DenBeste

    This is very interesting as are all the posts. I worked in The Pittock Block -seems like a hundred years ago – 1959-1966 for the Union Pacific Railroad up on the 8th floor. Sometimes I had to go to the basement looking for some old file and I hated going down to the dark, cold, dusty, creepy place. Clearly I did not appreciate it nearly enough and do not remember seeing anything pasted on the walls. I just wanted to get my file and get out of there. Thanks so much for sharing this with all of us!

  116. Michael Patton

    Looks like my type of place. Wonderful photos. Excellent document.

  117. Becky

    I enjoyed this so much. Last century meets this century. Way cool!!! Thanks so much.

  118. Ken Tryon

    Read the book, “Tubes.” The hardware infrastructure of the Internet is amazing, and lives in amazing places.

  119. adityaganguly

    Wow, simply amazing.

  120. kaemicha

    Amazing! Thank you for such a great find and sharing it with all of us.

  121. oddgirl art

    Reblogged this on Oddgirl Art and commented:
    Portland is amazing.

  122. julsed

    Great post and great photos. Thanks for sharing!

  123. MichaelR

    Freaking awesome-ah

  124. mrbrew

    brilliant, really great, and the twist with the internet cables and the old news room….it was like reading a book!

  125. bluelou64

    This is great! Reminds me of the Janitor’s ( caretaker here in the UK) room in the old National Theatre Studio space on The Cut in London. He was a serious weight-lifter but old school. Working-class and clearly on a low wage, his room was his gym, filled with home-made weights built from various bits of scaffold pole and metal. The walls were pasted thick with pictures of Johnny Weissmuller and soft porn girls. The caretaker was pretty huge, with a barrel chest and wrist cuffs of leather, large belt cinching in his manly waist. Long gone now..

  126. Onepixelpunch

    Outstanding post!! Thank you so much for sharing.

  127. Erkki Oski

    What a find! Those walls are alive.
    Thanks for sharing that.

  128. christian

    In a perfect world this wall could have preserved like historical city’s heritage. The world isn’t perfect… neither my english.
    En un mundo perfecto esa pared debería haber sido preservada como parte del patrimonio histórico de la ciudad.

  129. tony

    I wonder if those bathing suit shots are from old Jantzen ads?

  130. Simplicissimus

    Thank you for the trip in the basement and in time.

    Some of the pictures come from the Mack Sennette Bathing Beauties.
    for example, this one :

  131. Carol

    awesome 🙂

  132. pete

    Somehow, as much magnificent cool as is this photo essay, I think you’ll top it at some point, with something else as completely awe inspiring.
    I suspect you’re that kind of guy. Quietly brilliant.

  133. Sheri

    I love stories behind photos—your commentary makes the set a thousand times more interesting.

  134. pwag

    You used to paste up the over sized mock ups of the newspaper page. This was done by taking images and cutting them up and literally pasting them onto a bigger board.

    That board was then put in front of a camera that’d give you a giant negative and that negative was used on a tin sheet (newspaper sized) and that was put on your printing drums.

    I bet those cut outs were peeled right off the the mock up page and stuck to the wall. They used an adhesive that never really set.

    Some of them do look like newsprint though…anything thicker than newsprint paper and not faded yellow like old newsprint were probably from the paste ups.

    Very cool man.

  135. Ankur Mhatre

    I think it is basement of datacenter

  136. stuffmc

    Absolutely amazing. Thanks for that moment, Cabel.

  137. Rick Colvin

    I’m blown away. Worked in Downtown Portland from 1965 to 2000 in the Willamette building and fell in love with the old buildings. I will be sharing this on Facebook with my friends.

  138. shablevy

    Turns out, underground passages in Portland were used not only for Shanghaing people, they were used for legitimate reasons too.

  139. Sherry

    So very interesting, Thank You.

  140. vromo

    antes si que hacían buen pegamento!

  141. Gallery (@frcontemporary)

    Outstanding discovery, thanks for sharing !

  142. Phil Marcus

    RIP, Leverage.

  143. My Heathen Heart

    How awesome is that?!

  144. Karen

    LOVE! LOVE! LOVE! Thank you for sharing this TREASURE!

  145. Wild Juggler

    I love this post! This takes blogging to new heights. Thanks!

  146. The Smile Scavenger

    This could be my favorite FP post of 2012.

  147. hillbillyzen13

    Spectacular work/art, cabel! I have to admit that at first I was a little creeped out, thinking you’d found the lair of some serial killer. But I couldn’t stop scrolling, and found myself almost holding my breath…then the payoff and whew! Outstanding post, and thank you!

  148. theguyfrom4staff

    Fantastic post, and what a wonderful “find” for you! Simply charming and beautiful.

  149. scribblechic

    Your images read like a love letter to another time. Anthropology and poetry in photographs.

  150. Jeremy Shane

    This is super cool, I truly enjoyed seeing this piece of our past.

  151. canoa809

    Thank you for this 🙂

  152. Ganesh Raam

    Its holidays and its time for presents! I have nominated your blog for an award… Want to know which award? Surprise! Visit the following link to know your award and grab it if you like it…

  153. zayesha

    Beautifully written.

  154. Ashana M

    Beautiful. Thank you for sharing your find with all of us.

  155. wewerenothing

    Awesome! Thanks for sharing this.

  156. jalal michael sabbagh.

    Unique post ,l appreciate the efforts you put in .Amazing picture .Have a wonderful New year.jalal

  157. eileen kerry k

    Cabel, Your presentation and gentle fascination make this “storyboard” even better. Love the window on history and the window into our own lives . . . how we got where we are. Lunch?


  158. rami ungar the writer

    That’s pretty cool. I bet there are some even more interesting things down there that you have yet to discover, just hidden behind a conduit or shoved between a couple filing cabinets. You just have to look in the right places.

  159. Katie Renee

    This is amazing! Thank you so very much for sharing 🙂

  160. muckibr

    The march of progress on display. Excellent article! Great pics all woven together in a fascinating story. Great job!!!

  161. free penny press

    This gets my vote as best FP of 2012.. amazing discovery..thank you so much for sharing

  162. pezcita

    Wow. WWI, a dime for coffee, hand-drawn weather reports, old-fashioned pinups who wore streetwear and socks? Guess times have changed! Thank you so much for posting this. The fictional building in my blog comic strip dates from this era, so this post is really a treasure-trove of inspiration.

  163. accidentalfinds

    Great find! Thanks for sharing it with us. I doubt they did imagine those photos would still be there almost 100 years later, and being shared on this internet thing no less!

  164. a renaissance man

    A nice reminder that beauty wasn’t always considered a size zero Twiggy pinup as well…Great pictures!

  165. Being June

    You nailed this, in my humble opinion. The past-present contrast gave me chills. Made me wonder about the lives of those pictured (and not pictured)… Thank you so much for sharing, and congratulations on being Freshly Pressed.

  166. katrinamillen

    Great Pictures and Post 🙂

  167. jeaninjackson

    Reblogged this on Jean's place and commented:
    A terriffic find .

  168. Thornton Bowman

    Brilliant. Simply brilliant. I reposted on my band’s FB page. I hope your post gets all the attention it deserves and even more. Thanks.

  169. the tow path

    Walls do talk. I love the “finding” of the history.

  170. Xraypics

    Hi Cabel,
    Your pictures are almost too poignant to bear. On one hand I love the way you have framed them,those bits of yellowed paper torn and carrying such a deep message, on the other it seems like an invasion of privacy almost voyeuristic. I would love to go there to experience them for myself. Thankyou for showing them to us.

  171. thelaundrywench

    Beautiful. There’s something eerily comforting about finding a vivid past peeking through to the present like that.

  172. Debbie Robson

    Thank you so much for sharing that with us!

  173. sassyram16

    can you post more like this? this is very awesome!

  174. Gareth Evans

    Thank you for posting this. A moving story of personal moments clinging on through time.

  175. Funny Southern Style

    THIS IS AMAZING!!! I love to see the past meet the present, and you documented it well.

  176. Grumpa Joe

    A modern day archeological dig.

  177. Tony Caselli

    Really, really neat. Thanks for sharing.

  178. Wyrd Smythe

    Amazing! Love it!!

  179. YunitaGena

    wow,,,this is amazing, cool!!! love it

  180. elmer


    Excellent photos! Thanks for sharing!!

  182. Joe Owens

    Incredibly interesting post. One who loves history can imagine all kinds of questions based on the discovery of such pictures. I am glad you had someone to explain the “bones” you saw. The truth is just as interesting as one could imagine.

  183. mommarocksstash

    such a find.

  184. ETrade Supply

    Cool, well done!

  185. Marilyn Davies

    wow….very cool..

  186. sdsds

    The pin-ups are totally cool. But please tell someone to get some fire stop goo into the gap between the large conduit and its (over-)large wall penetration hole. Wouldn’t _ever_ want those ladies to burn!

  187. terrymcgarry

    Very cool, and the process of discovery makes a neat narrative, the way you present it.

  188. Shruthi

    I felt like i was watching a movie! thank you for this post!

  189. coffeediva

    This is such a wonderful journey. I wasn’t sure what to expect at first but then became fascinated when I started seeing all the old pictures on the walls. Thank you for such an awesome and interesting post!

  190. plisnerhaines

    Love this. What a great find.

  191. timbonitus

    At first I was thought the pictures were pretty creepy but then I was found them fascinating. Great post!

  192. mindfulacting

    Amazing post! Thanks for sharing these precious pictures.

  193. lautal

    It is unique and beautiful place. Look like a museum. Thank you, your post made my day.

  194. sourcookies

    Beautiful post! Nice pictures!

  195. Chas Spain

    So pleased you’ve given all these young hopeful women and their invisible admirers another life here. Superb stuff.

  196. segmation

    What an interesting find and awesome blog! How did you stumble upon this?

  197. Kimbernator

    As both an amateur photographer and a history teacher, I can tell you that this is the coolest blog post I’ve seen…maybe ever. Seriously. Thank you!!!

  198. Pani Peonia

    Absolutely astonishing! What a place, what shots! Wonderful!

  199. Pani Peonia
  200. Iain

    A singularly outstanding post. Really moving. Thankyou!

  201. denmother

    So cool. Thanks for the tour.

  202. chris

    Magnifique, vraiment magnifique !
    And your minimalist phrasing makes it even better…
    merci Cabel 😉

  203. ckponderings

    What an amazing place! It’s almost unbelievable that the development of it has left the images all but intact! 🙂

  204. Pierre

    Hi, aren’t all these Internet conducts and hubs secret and protected ?
    Anyway, I enjoyed this exploration – archaeology of our industrial civilization…
    Happy New Year!

  205. Jules Van Sant

    Being a Portland native + Generations back, I enjoy that our not so old city compared to many has some rich history to share. Being the Executive Director of the Printing Association regionally and involved nationally, I intend to share this piece — the history & beauty that ink on paper has given us for centuries, and will still bring to us all in the future. Thank you for the photos & blog. Thank you for sharing your curiosity – it doesn’t kill the cat, it keeps us going! Cheers 🙂

  206. Jackson Williams

    Reblogged this on Bored American Tribune. and commented:
    — J.W.

  207. Maximum Know-How

    Reblogged this on Maximum Know-How and commented:
    Mining the cellar of the information superhighway uncovers echoes of some former media—archaic but longer lasting than what we produce today.

  208. runcolbyrun

    Simply beautiful. Thank you.

  209. runcolbyrun

    Reblogged this on It's A Marathon AND A Sprint and commented:
    I came across this Freshly Pressed blog post today while thawing in front of the fire post run. It’s a beautiful find. Haunting. Two worlds colliding if you will. Print media and all that is the internet. Meet Head to Head. I find it striking that the print images remain, gazing at what they have become. I loved this.

  210. runcolbyrun

    I reblogged it too. Love, love it.

  211. Rita Kay

    Congrats on being Freshly Pressed !!! I love looking at memories like this, thanks for sharing.

  212. Polly Murphy

    Cabel, I was really intrigued. I am 91 years old, born in 1921 and this exloration of yours brought me back to the things I remembered in the 1920’s of the ladies qho loved to dance. The dresses were knee length and were perceived as very revealing. Girls today will raise an eybrow at that! As I was an observer at that time, it was very desirable. My mother and dad would go down town all dressed up in hat, gloves and bag — you wouldn’t be seen without dressing up! Very different and not understandable today. The bathing beauties were not porn. They were the produuction of the entertainment industry who were just starting to burst the bubble. I look back with fondness at the 30’s and 40’s (after WWI) where life was much simpler. I have to admit that I have succumbed to the computer and admire all that technology has accomplished, but — so much is lost.

  213. Cheryl Howard

    Amazing! Thank you for sharing this!

  214. Guin

    This is wonderful! I love that data company for NOT painting everything over. Thank you for preserving these unique glimpses into history.

  215. tinasmobile

    That was great

  216. theyounusboy

    Reblogged this on The Abdullah Blog and commented:
    Really Interesting 🙂

  217. justmytaketoo


  218. timkeen40

    This little walk through history is amazing. In the upstairs of my grandparents’ house, there used to be newspapers all over the wall. I often wonder what history I lost when that old house burned down.


  219. Shoe

    Fascinating as hell, and the writing with it too. Just great stuff.

  220. spurjbros

    Reblogged this on lexilexx and commented:
    Amazing insights.

  221. Bubba & Mama

    It must be an amazing feeling to be at a place where so much has gone through those walls. Great post and pictures!

  222. Robinzon Post


  223. dablju

    miauu! 😉 I love the atmosphere, and beautiful magic of old photographs

  224. noahbody123

    Incredible post! What a treasure trove!

  225. GP

    Reblogged this on misentopop.

  226. firemoonrage

    I love pdx basements for this very reason. Great post!

  227. kidosudhert


  228. guisodepaloma

    nice, you know there arent that many basements here in argentina, i sometimes wonder why americans are so very fond of them and build one every time they get a chance under their houses.

  229. jonathanochart

    Wow, these photos are eye-opening. The walls definitely possess a surreal, somewhat phantom-like air about them, as if the basement was haunted. It’s crazy to see how lively an abandoned place right under our feet once was…thanks so much for sharing!

    – Jonathan I

  230. It's only P!

    An eye for the bizarre…


  231. clastic

    Loving your Life Goggles… Great mornings viewing to stimulate the mind and share over a cup of coffee.. appreciate minds eye Cabel. A beautiful find. I ho

  232. clastic

    Reblogged this on Between Stimulus and Response and commented:

  233. mmcelliott

    This looks worthy of a book! Think about it.

  234. terrymcgarry

    Reblogged this on terrymcgarry and commented:
    If you haven’t seen this reblogged somewhere else already, just dive in without reading any summaries or descriptions. The journey’s as cool as the destination.

  235. Looking and Learning

    brilliantly paced … LOVED this post.

  236. Kevin Conboy

    Reblogged this on alternatekev and commented:

  237. TheViewfromaDrawbridge

    Stunning and thought provoking. How ever did you find this place?

  238. sittingpugs

    And when something caught their eye? Out came the scissors and the paste.

    Fascinating…it’s like Tumblr before Tumblr.

    But the women on the wall might still be waiting.

    That could be the tag line of a film noir or psychological thriller.

  239. tony

    Wow… amazing bit of archeology. Great job with the photography documenting it.

  240. chrisfloyd1

    Great article. Well done.

  241. paolop1966

    Reblogged this on Musings and commented:
    A really interesting post (at least I think so!) from a fellow blogger…enjoy!

  242. Don Latham

    fascinating. city spelunking is great stuff; this is a prime example. Thanks.

  243. Eli (Age 8)

    I like how you’ve done this story. Have you actually been to this basement?

  244. Paisley Avocado

    Very very cool. My father would do his math right on the wall too whenever he was calculating measurements and whatnot while renovating our house (which was often). Amazing that those images are still plastered onto the walls.

  245. jim Smith

    Very poignant, as an old ink monkey who is about to lose his job as printing press shutdown. Newspapers going digital, that’s progress, but going to miss those inky fingers & the camaraderie of the press crews.

  246. karicalcote

    I love that little pieces of history intertwine with the technology of today. Beautiful, thanks for sharing.

  247. .m

    Reblogged this on why not?.

  248. judyjudygirl

    Lovely !!! The more things change the more they stay the same….comforting !!!

  249. Morgan Mussell

    Great post. Congrats on being freshly pressed. This post really deserves it!

  250. sportsandthecross

    WOW! This images are amazing. So cool, thanks for sharing and congrats on being
    Freshly Pressed!

  251. theeyeoffaith

    This is my favorite post on WordPress for a very, very, very long time. Strike WordPress; the entire net, man! What a freaking story to tell . . .

    I love the photos. Absolutely priceless. . .

    The story they tell are incredible. The way you presented them was great too. The pictures say so much in themselves that I appreciated the simplicity of your words. GREAT!

    Your new fan,


  252. Jay Caddle

    Came for the “Basement” post… stayed for the 8-Bit Music! I have also been a Unison user for about 5 or 6 years! Very cool stuff – thanks for sharing!

  253. poemattic

    Some basements are intriguing. During a cleaning job my nephew found old newspapers and old love letters in the basement of an old house in Brooklyn. We read through the papers for hours. We were too young to appreciate the contents. Those love letters would have made a good Nicholas Sparks’ love story. Great find!

  254. misfit120

    Really amazing and fantsatic. Great detail too. Enjoyed it very much.

  255. theeyeoffaith

    Reblogged this on The Eye of Faith and commented:
    I came across the article completely at random.
    With the New Year just in our midst, it has had me reflecting much on life, the passing of time, and the revolution we have been living in and witnessing around us.
    The world has changed profoundly. So profoundly so, that many people are still being left in the dust of our sound barrier breaking world!
    This photo story from really illustrates that paper thin barrier between the past, present, and future. I was really impressed with the photographs, and fell in love with the story.

    A story of “An incredible basement, a video-game-level basement, a set-decorator’s dream basement” in Portland, with a beautiful past hidden, yet so completely on the surface of today’s quickly evolving future.
    So please CHECK IT OUT! Enjoy !!

  256. intrinsicliving

    When I was a teenager and into my early 20’s I used to run a small AB Dick printing press. Your pictures and commentary brought back the smell of that time for me – well done. Thank you for a great post

  257. maratinage

    this is an amazing post! great photos and great writing!

  258. ssrijana

    wonderful photos and a sweet story and out look ..Happy New Year

  259. Sampurna

    You made my day. I felt the same while browsing through my long-gone grandfather’s suitcase.

  260. NomadicHeart

    Incredible lesson on humanity and history. Cheers, and thanks.

  261. Distance Landaverde

    I love the history here its crazyfantastical

  262. imarunner2012

    Great post. It does make you think about what we will leave behind.

  263. A.M.

    Homage to the past! Well done ..thanks for sharing the history of this building which shows respect to those hard working people from years ago.

  264. amylucie

    So wonderful! Love things like this. Thanks for sharing.

  265. mirkinfirkin

    Excellent entry!

  266. India pied-à-terre

    Thank you for sharing this! What an amazing juxtaposition. This post will be in my mind for a long time! What a jewel.

  267. juju

    What a find! Great post 🙂

  268. Parlor of Horror

    What an amazing time capsule – hope it stays there forever. Great photos, glad you shared this with all of us.

  269. odilonvert

    Wow wow wow — enjoyed this immensely! Fantastic, thanks for bringing us this bit of history and Happy 2013!

  270. bh32707

    Thanks so much for “donning the headlamps” and snapping a photo history. I find it interesting the parallel of an ending and beginning yesterday and today.

  271. judyascoggins

    Nice. Love the passage of time in these images.

  272. Christine

    Well done!!!

  273. Natalie

    Haunting, beautiful, powerful. An intersection of past and present. Thanks!

  274. crownhill south

    interesting stuff, thanks for sharing!

  275. Robin

    Very nice. The things you notice when you just observe your surroundings.

  276. melvin101

    This is really good.

  277. Matthew Wright

    Amazing juxtaposition of old and new. Reminds us of the way the world changes, of the way the past can look down on us, and of the way the new seems to intrude with careless abandon through the very walls of the past. A great post – great photos – and a wonderful story that has certainly got me thinking about a lot of things historical, things human, and the way the world changes. Thank you for sharing.

  278. Kathleen Richardson

    My first look at your work, Cabel, and I love it! How did you find this room?

  279. khanhuda

    Wonderful, thanks for sharing

  280. ishaqt

    Reblogged this on ishaqt's Blog.

  281. DrAnthonysBlog

    #CoolBlogPost @DrAnthony

  282. rizwan

    any want exchange wife for sex???

  283. danceintheline

    Thank you for sharing your adventure. I enjoyed your post 🙂

  284. thesarahsector

    Wow…makes me want to go exploring:). great post!

  285. chepinatik


  286. Angie Z.

    What a gem! The discovery, this post, all of it! Thank you for this.

  287. barbararene

    This is very cool find Cabel!

  288. merrildsmith

    This was fascinating!

  289. RobiniArt

    I love this so much. So much! Sharing it. Thank you. 🙂

  290. Ps Paulo

    What a great place to find. I find it great that the people took the time to conserve this beautiful peace of history while upgrading to new technologies needed in the building! – very mindful. Beautiful !

  291. Chatty Owl

    This is totally amazing! Wow.

  292. wd

    Charming. Thank you.

  293. jmckemy

    Very cool post.

  294. simplyminimalistic

    Reblogged this on the minimalist.

  295. Red Toenails

    That was great stuff. Thanks.

  296. Kate Johnson

    The Post is very Uniqe! I Love it too!

  297. dollydelightly

    Great post!

  298. Freaky Folk Tales

    A beautiful, hauntingly evocative description of the fickle nature of time. Thank you for sharing

  299. OyiaBrown

    Reblogged this on Oyia Brown.

  300. gabrieldelamora

    Cabel, fantastic! can you contact me?
    sending my best on this 2013!

  301. handmadebyjo

    This Is Fantastic!

  302. mgrom

    WOW! If the walls could talk…and they did. Through you. Fascinating perspective here.

  303. smilesinthesky

    So Cool! Amazing.

  304. TNW


  305. The Children's Ark Preparatory School

    I am confused. I dont want to spoil the party but I am clouded: How come the concrete surface of the walls dont seem that old? Yes the pictures look authentically aged but the walls’ exterior doesnt appear to have been seasoned by time or at least manifest some antiquity.

    My guess is somebody posted all these relics at a time — way way later date — other than the images’ own era. If I am right, somebody has just wasted some real good treasures.

  306. Writing Blanks

    Thank you,, for this reminder that time lives on top of time, and it all just goes round and round…

  307. chipperintheholler

    excellent pictures and find thanks so much for sharing this history is not like it use to be i often wonder when we are gone will kids or adults find our old stuff interesting and ty again

  308. bcwh

    Such an evocative and original post – this is what they should be teaching in history lessons!

  309. doomsdaychef

    Wow! I love this basement, hopefully you can find more and take us on another kool journey!

  310. artexpectations

    Your story brought tears to my eyes! Seriously, very moving. Beautiful. I love how they just wrote right on the wall!

  311. jameslaino

    thank you for that experience

  312. danizilla

    Lovely to see! I work in this building but have never been to the basement.

  313. 4myskin

    Wow! It’s almost surreal. Hope those walls are never torn down for more room.

  314. K. Bannerman

    A beautiful comment on the intangibility of modern life… thank you for taking your camera with you, down down down into the basement.

  315. persephonesstepsisters

    So cool .So Portland! Thanks for giving me a juicy/strange PDX fix!

  316. Snigdha

    Why can i not find a Like button on your awesome post?? :O

  317. Coco O

    Can I “Like” this again–now that I’m seeing it larger on my laptop instead of iPhone?!!

  318. Ammon

    Love it! I once found an old book full of clippings of 1940 panty models in the basement of the BYU library, and similarly wrote about the internet replacing shelves of books. I can’t wait to read more from you.

  319. billbanholzer

    I loved the post and realized immediately that it was done in a style I could, and would like to do, and so you creatively inspired me to take my own approach. I know as a writer the steps I must take to keep people turning the pages and these include revealing a mystery with interesting characters. This post had elements of both. Please check out where I put my own signature on the style. (I’d never written with pictures before so your ideas helped.) Im looking forward to watching both of us evolve and grow.

  320. Yan

    Wonderful post. History made and history is taking place… A bit of bitter and sweet feeling.
    Thank you for sharing!

  321. i mayfly

    Nice dig.

  322. kimsimard

    What an awesome discovery! The first person to comment took the words out of my mouth. The juxtaposition is fantastic. It’s nice to see that people stop and really look at their surroundings. I hope you discover more!

  323. disruptmyreverie


  324. bjeanthejellybean

    Remarkable…. too bad we will have nothing of the same sort to leave behind.

  325. Melinda Ambrose

    None of those women have been airbrushed. Suddenly I feel better about my body image.

  326. barbara0012013

    To me terrifying…I HATE basements….but fantastic post/photos, so interesting!!!!!

  327. lostandfoundbooks

    And here is where paper goes to die. I’m so glad you have preserved it. Thank you.

  328. chris dean

    That was the coolest basement I’ve ever seen in P-town and I saw plenty while I worked there. Environmental Cleanup and sound promotion got me into a lot of strange places but that was tops!

  329. d

    Thanks for the travel.

  330. bcnicematters

    I love the perspective.

  331. apu

    stunning pictures. support the underground ! 😉
    thanks for sharing !


  332. Debbie

    fantastic stuff – images are great! thanks for sharing that history.

  333. Gareth Mark

    Delightfully interesting, how history repeats itself in that basement. From the old hand-set type of the newspaper to the latest in high-speed journalism, all in one space. Too bad no one can snip interesting bits from the ‘Net data now flowing through the room and paste them next to the ladies on the wall for that next-century explorer. Thanks for the morning read.


    awesome post how do you collected picture man just awesome work

  335. Sheryl White Parks

    Lovely post and amazing juxtaposition! Will share it on Facebook.

  336. Ian Douglas

    Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about string theory — trying to reach the fundamental unit of all totality. Everything, in the end, thought or matter, would be a combination of strings. Memory, for example, is a configuration of countless strings. This would go for all representations, including old photographs. Insofar as their subjects still appear to us, and though two dimensional, at the string level they are snapshots of an original subject — the original living subject, a combination or density of trillions and trillions of strings. I suppose we imagine that cameras, even if they translate a swarm of strings (humans) into a light index (the photograph), do not capture memory, or the path that a particular configuration of strings — a given human — took in this world as life unfolded with its gravitational and directional forces, the person emerging and growing in the universe. I imagine, however, if fundamental physics were more advanced, we may be able to trace a thing’s history from its light signature … for example, a photograph. But this aside, what I find remarkable is the compression of strings that is occurring in fiber optics; because while on the wall may be the light signature of past lives (the women), going through the wall are thousands upon thousands of actual lives, actual decisions, actual turns of fate, shielded by the casing of the heavy cable. As you say, we will disappear and the light signature — the photographs — may remain. Imagine a catastrophic electromagnetic event that took out all electrical devices. We would find a moment in the history of civilization that was popularly unrecorded. Who writes a diary anymore? The popular history of our time is almost entirely dependent on electricity. So much is still physical. But we’re beginning to live in the virtual.

  337. Jessica

    just lovely.

  338. ian

    posted about this here:
    This is one of my favorite blog posts, like, ever. I just keep coming back to it. This is a great example of technological palimpsest. We keep on building new systems that are increasingly abstract.

  339. petitsecretzen

    Extra ! à la recherche des histoires perdues … j’adore

  340. Tony Lazorko

    What a great visual treat that was….great!

  341. teachmehowtoscotty

    Reblogged this on Teach Me How To Scotty and commented:
    This post is fantastic. We forget that most things are based on very old technologies in very odd places.

  342. candiaocandiao

    Muito bacana! Good luck.

  343. online form builder

    Save All Paperwork: Whatever paperwork arrives with your parts
    or which is provided from the seller should be maintained.

    It’s a good idea to have separate email promotions for prospects and customers, too, because you typically need to send different information to the different groups. If a picture is worth a thousand words then you can just image how much you will absorb by browsing this site.

  344. weirdinglanguage

    This went in a different direction than I was expected, and I’m glad it did. The parallels are just too perfect.

  345. Reid Carr

    Well done! That was a fun little ride.

  346. Derpy Derpy Doo

    Hi #sweg

  347. murple

    omg wow so swig

  348. John Ramsey

    Wonderful photos.Social history right there on the walls.A kind of poster archaeology,just peel off the layers.

  349. Traci Dancer of Seatte

    I THANK YOU the journey. Being a native Oregonian as well as a Genealogy buff, I so very much enjoyed the brief trip through your time machine. Then I wonder how hard it would be for me not to have picked at those pictures way back then, or even now…being the tidy-clean freak that I am!!

  350. utonic76

    Absolutely BRILLIANT. Sets the foundation for a story that was so good, I didn’t want the words to end. It read like a great short story, one of the winners in a literary magazine like “Glimmer Train”. If you write fiction, I’d love to read your stuff.

  351. Leon Vaughn

    Awesome find. Thanks for sharing.

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