Suburban Strip: Sandy Boulevard, Portland, Oregon, 1949
Beginning in the mid-1920s and accelerating after World War II, many grocery stores, car dealerships, and other businesses moved out of the city to the suburban strip. There they created a bustling scene where car-owning consumers could buy almost anything they needed. By moving commercial life out of the central business districts, suburban strips contributed to the economic decline of downtowns. As more people moved into the suburbs, the strips also became centers of social life.
Like many cities that boomed during World War II, Portland, Oregon, developed suburban strips. Lined with stores that appealed to the car-owning middle class, Sandy Boulevard developed rapidly in the late 1940s. In 1949 Wallace Buick moved from its downtown location to Sandy Boulevard and became one of many auto-related businesses on the strip. Portland residents increasingly shopped on suburban strips like this. Before long, many of them would move from downtown neighborhoods to new suburbs.
Offering luxury and power at an affordable price, Buick made a strong appeal to middle-class Americans with its Super and Special models. By 1954 Buick was one of the three best-selling cars in America, along with Chevrolet and Ford.
The next object is on the left-hand side of the roadway, near the car showroom window.
Cushman Pacemaker motor scooter, 1945
Motor scooters were popular among high school students from the 1930s to the 1950s. They gave young people some of the mobility of the car, and some states did not even require a driver’s license or insurance. Thomas C. Bracco rode this scooter to high school, social activities, and his first job in his hometown of Springfield, Illinois.
Now turn around to visit Chicago and Park Forest, Illinois.