For 106 years, the Classical Revival west façade of Benson Polytechnic High School has been one of the most noticeable buildings in Northeast Portland. But unless you are more than 70 years old, you never saw the back side of the original building – or ever thought about it.
|Eastern facade exposed after many decades|
The original building, finished in 1916, had a narrow, rectangular floorplan. However, its designer, architect Floyd Naramore, intended for it to be added onto incrementally as needed. Shop wings were added to the north and south sides at the rear of the building in 1917 and 1918, followed by what is now called the “old gym” in 1925 and an auditorium in 1930. A library addition in 1953 closed off from public view what little could be seen of the original rear façade.
Naramore served as architect for the rapidly expanding school system from 1912 until 1919. During those years, he designed 12 elementary schools (many still in use) as well as Benson and Franklin High School. Portland was growing rapidly at the time.
|Still a long ways to go...western facade|