From high hopes to hard times and back again, few of Portland’s historic buildings have seen the economic swings and racial animosity wrapped within the three-story brick building at 722 NW Glisan St. The newly-restored Harlow Hotel is named for John Harlow, an early steamboat captain who built it in 1882.
Harlow, an early entrepreneur who also laid out and named the City of Troutdale, originally called his building the Grand Hotel, assuming it would draw customers from the proposed big new railway depot just few blocks away.
Alas, changes in plans meant the depot wouldn’t open for another 14 years. That was the first of many bumps in the road for the hotel that originally was heated by wood stoves and lacked electricity. Electricity didn’t arrive until after World War I.
The building remained largely vacant for decades. Though its condition deteriorated, many of its internal details including door and window casings remained. The building was purchased in 2008 by Ganesh Sonpatki, who operates moderately-priced hotels under the Portland Value Inns brand.
The ground floor originally contained five storefronts, with the hotel entry up a central stairway. Now, with the exception of a coffeeshop, the ground floor spaces are devoted to lobbies and an exercise room.
Images of the attractive, renovated interior can be seen here: https://harlowhotelpdx.com/
|Cast iron column, here painted black, were a frequent element in 1880s architecture|
The Harlow Hotel originally had an arched entry leading to the second floor hotel. The arch was lost during a renovation in the 1940s when it was covered with stucco. It now has been recreated. The gently arched windows reflect also an Italianate design popular late in the 19th Century. The original architect is not known.
Join Building on History’s email list by writing “add me” to email@example.com