Lane-Miles Standish Printing Company


Advertisement reproduced in “Portland’s Slabtown” book
Photo of Alan Lane, Sr. at the plant (from Lane 1919 website)
Opening Announcement from The Oregonian, 1930
Photo of Berté Printing Advertisement (from Lane 1919 website)

While browsing one of the Arcadia Publishing books titled Portland’s Slabtown, I noticed a reproduction advertisement for the Lane-Miles Standish Company. That ad became the perfect excuse to continue researching the print shops of Portland’s past.

The Lane-Miles Standish Printing Company began in 1919 at 309 Southwest Oak Street. At that location they were surrounded by at least nine other printing outfits within a three block radius, including Kilham Stationery (see previous blog). Despite the competition Alan Lane, Sr. and Miles Standish ran a successful business and after 10 years they contracted with Austin Company Architecture Firm to realize an ambitious new building concept. Their future print shop was designed with an armory castle-top turret at the North corner entrance, to be used as staff offices, as well as a single story 100x150 ft extension for their production facility. Their plant was to be located at NW 19th and Raleigh, and their two mile move to the industrial district was considered bold at the time.

Concurrent to their relocation to the Slabtown neighborhood, Lane-Miles Standish became one of two Portland-area printers to introduce the Jean Berté Watercolor process to their customers. Available to American printers starting in 1927, the Berté process used hand engraved images cut into hardened rubber which eventually became the plates used for relief printing. Berté’s inks were designed to lay down in large, solid, brilliant swaths of color, and to overlay in ways that utilized their semi-transparencies to form new colors. Lane-Miles Standish used this print method for local advertising work and art prints, allowing them to expand their offerings beyond the work they were primarily known for — business forms, stationery & envelopes, folding boxes, police parking tags, and financial reports. A 1933 article in The Oregonian also notes that the company would be adding staff to expand into printing jigsaw puzzles, from the printing of photo imagery through to the process of die cutting the pieces.

Alan Lane, Sr. and Miles Standish served as the corporate officers for their printing company up until each retired or died. Miles Standish was active in local civic organizations in addition to his business interests, and was appointed as a Port of Portland Commissioner by the Governor in 1934. Standish died at age 61, in July of 1949. Alan Lane, Sr. worked at his company for 26 years, until 1945, when he was succeeded by his son, Alan Lane Junior. Lane Jr.’s service lasted until 2000. At that time, Alan’s son Steven and a Mr. Frank Wall became the registered agents. Lane-Miles Standish Printing Company was dissolved in 2005, but the building at 1539 NW 19th is still owned by the families of the founders.

The original structure is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places as an example of Late Gothic Revival architecture, and is home to the offices of Capital Property Management and North marketing & design firm. In 1962 an additional 5,000 sq foot warehouse was built to fill out the block. That warehouse was demolished in 2006 to make way for “Lane 1919” a six story tower that includes upscale apartments, office space and retail.

Rebecca Gilbert