88 Years of Providing the Broadway Standard
Broadway Furniture has been servicing families in the Portland metro area for 88 years! We pride ourselves in providing high quality living room, dining room and bedroom furniture from top brands. Whatever your needs, we’re here to help you choose the perfect piece or set to complete and complement your space. We don’t want you to pay full price for furniture and believe that you don’t have to!
Broadway Furniture has been serving families in the Portland metro area for 88 years! We take pride in our long history and deep roots within the community. Many of our customers have been shopping with us for decades and value our commitment to the greater Portland area. As a local, family-owned business, we understand the needs of our neighbors and aim to provide quality furniture and excellent service.
The Broadway Standard
At Broadway Furniture, we maintain a firm commitment to customer service, honesty, and integrity. This is what we refer to as the "Broadway Standard." Our friendly and helpful team focuses on the details to ensure your complete satisfaction. We take pride in our sterling reputation and ability to provide quality furniture at unbeatable prices. The furniture business is always changing, but our core values remain constant. You can count on Broadway Furniture for exceptional service and value.
Whether you need a single piece or a whole room makeover, Broadway Furniture has the customizable options to complete your space. Build made-to-order living room sets, dining tables, and bedroom sets from quality materials like top and full grain leathers and solid wood. Choose from on-trend colors, fabrics and finishes to complement your style. Our in-house production capabilities allow for maximum flexibility to get you the perfect custom furniture solution.
Broadway's Top Brands
From the moment you walk through our doors, you'll discover a one-of-a-kind furniture store experience. Take in the sights of our stylish & unique showroom, complete with a large sailboat centerpiece. Browse our expansive leather gallery - the only freestanding one in Portland. Discover beautiful furniture displays from top brands. And our knowledgeable team will help you find quality pieces to fit your unique style and space. At Broadway Furniture, we offer an unmatched retail adventure like no other.
This Old Boat
When we go places, the conversation will eventually turn to sailing, sailboats, or something related to life on the water. Some months ago, my wife and I were shopping for some new furniture at Broadway Furniture. We have purchased furniture from Broadway Furniture in the past and were surprised that Ken, one of the owners, remembered us. In our conversation with Ken, we were asked if we wanted to see his dad’s sailboat.
”Of course!" was our simultaneous reply. Ken said, "Follow me,” and quickly made his way through the maze of new living room furniture, up a night of stairs, where we were greeted with a labyrinth of dining room chairs and tables. After a short walk around the sea of fine furniture, we arrived at a door marked '’Employees Only," which Ken happily led us through like a little kid with bragging rites and an "You got to see this” expression on his face.
Propped against the wall, we saw an old wood boat with some planking missing from the bottom. Bare wood artfully curved, conforming to the exposed ribs, seemed to say, "Fix me."
What a project this would be—to restore an old boat and, in doing so, keep some almost lost history alive. Taking something old and making it new again could be a challenge. To be the catalyst of a restoration project would be grand. "This could be a fun project,” I found myself saying. "Do you know anyone who would like to work on my dad’s boat?" Ken asked. Before I could register what was being said, my wife replied, "John could."
Harry and his brother built this boat under the family home back porch. The two brothers found the plans in a boating book and got the idea to build a boat. They had no TV, no Game Boy, and no shopping mall. What they had in those days was a lot of time with nothing to do. So, just like the Little Rascals, they had to make things up to do.
These rascals picked a boat to build. After a while, the boat got larger than the work space, so the brothers dragged the boat from under the porch to the backyard, to an audience of neighborhood children. I can imagine the brothers pushing and pulling the partially completed wood boat with the help of some of the older children, while the younger kids cheered and danced around, sometimes yelling encouragement. This project got started in 1928, and by 1929, they were on the water sailing. The original boat was about three feet shorter, according to reports. Harry wanted a little larger boat, so he added more planking, ribs, and deck to the front or bow of the boat.
The brothers got expert advice from local sailors and boat builders. They formed the hull planks by soaking them in water, and while the planks were pliable, they were formed and fastened to the frame and floor.
When the boat was finished, I could imagine Harry and his friends spending long summer days sailing on the Willamette River. I can almost see him strolling down to the model T Ford truck on a hot summer morning to go sailing with one or two of his peers, hoping the truck would start as he cranked the engine with the hand crank. Each of his young companions, happy they were asked and not someone else, would watch wide-eyed as the boat was unloaded from the truck at the Ways and pushed into the Willamette River.
In about 1931, Harry sailed his boat from Ross Island Bridge in the Willamette River to the Columbia River for a sailboat race. On the trip down the Willamette River, a storm came up, and Harry had to bring the boat ashore. He docked it at a houseboat for the night, and then the next morning he continued the race on the Columbia. On this trip or some other, no one is really sure, Harry broke the mast of his sailboat. Rightfully so, Harry was very upset. In the spring of 1931, when the Willamette River was swollen with spring runoff, Harry had to signal some of the bridges to open. He used a whistle, and to the amazement of his young crew, the low bridges opened. By 1937, Harry was working, trying to make a living, and his passion for sailing had dropped off.
At some point, Harry’s boat was put into storage. From what I’ve been able to uncover, this happened some time after WWII. Harry’s children remember playing hide and seek around the boat where it was stored. And one of his boys seems to recall pounding nails into the bottom of the boat. There is one story where Harry bragged that he used the boat to pick up girls. I can imagine Harry with the boat loaded on the truck parked near the sandy bank of the Willamette River, where families were picnicking and playing or sunbathing, and Harry looking for crew to help him sail his boat. What should a teenage boy do on a sunny Sunday afternoon?
In my research on Harry’s boat, I went to the internet and confirmed that this 18-foot-long boat with a beam of 9 feet and a mast well forward on the bow was a cat boat. According to my information, a cat boat was designed to sail in shallow water with a gentle breeze. They are fast in the water. Next, I made a trip to the local library and found a few books on cat boats, but of a newer vintage, none constructed out of wood, and all post-1972. The library did not provide any new information.
The next step in my research, talking to local boat builders, proved to be most helpful. At one yacht shop, I was given information about how the rigging worked on a gaff-rigged cat boat. At a second source, we talked about how wooden boats were built in the 1920s and 1930s. Some other boat builders graphically explained the time-proven art of covering wood decks with canvas. The owner and I discussed wood boat building and his ideas for the finished product. We concluded that keeping the boat as original as possible, using as much of the existing boat and old hardware as possible, was the direction for this restoration project. With the research complete and the plan made, the work of restoring this old boat could now begin. In our conversations, we became aware that sailing this old boat might take place a few times a year in nice weather. The idea of letting a wood boat soak for a day or so before sailing was not something that pleased us, so after glassing the bottom, eliminating the need to soak before sailing was our pick for bottom restoration.
With old dry rot and bottom planking replaced and fiberglass laid and painted, it was time to turn the boat and work on the topsides, deck, and spars. The bottom was constructed of pine and cedar, while the mast, boom, and gaff were made of spruce. Spruce spars 18 feet long would be impossible to find today. The original spars are in very good shape - priceless.
With the canvas deck painted white, new wood rub rails installed and varnished,new hemp line and old woodblocks to hoist the Tan Bar sail, lines whipped and spliced, and leather fitted in the yoke of the boom and gaff, this old boat now looks yar again.
- John Luck