Jul 1 2011


photoOne hundred years ago, a special train traveled east from Portland, filled with passengers of remarkably diverse backgrounds, all bound for the same destination: the poor farm. They had been "rescued" from conditions deemed deplorable at Multnomah County's original poor farm, located where the Oregon Zoo is today. Now they were being placed in the just-completed, comparably plush accommodations of the county's new facility in Troutdale, accommodations that were in fact a far cry better than what could be found in most homes elsewhere in Troutdale at that time.

That's how the first residents of McMenamins Edgefield arrived in 1911. As mothers have warned us over the years, though, there were many ways one could end up at the poor farm.

photoA series of floods and fires brought prosperous saloonman Joe Penny to Edgefield; Family politics brought Gen. Stonewall Jackson's nephew here. Frankie of Frankie and Johnny notoriety had just won the prestigious Urban League award when she became a ward of the county. Then, there was Mrs. McMenamin, who told her boys that such a fate would be theirs, too, if they kept on with those taverns... they did; she was right, but it's turned out quite nicely in the end.

Of course, the McMenamin brothers wouldn't have been able to launch their Edgefield adventure had it not been for the tenaciousness of the small but mighty Troutdale Historical Society, which kept the wrecking ball from swinging.

photoTo celebrate the century's worth of history at Edgefield, we've pulled out all the stops to throw a giant 100th Birthday celebration this Saturday, July 2. We're talking music; kids' stuff; wine, beer and coffee tastings; and, of course, history talks and tours featuring Troutdale's favorite historian Sharon Nesbit, and our own Tim Hills.

As a special treat, we'll be unveiling a new art exhibit of the work of Harry Schaefer, a noted Northwest artist from the early/mid1900s who, after falling on hard times, began living at the poor farm in 1936. Check out some of his work here!


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Comment on this Posting:

#1 Leslie Marshall

Hi. I'm fascinated by the haunted aspect of Edgefield. I'm surprised there isn't anything on this site about that. I recently visited Edgefield for the first time, and instantly fell in love with the place. We had dinner, some beer, and even enjoyed wine and music in the winery. Planning a weekend there soon. You should put some info on the site about the sightings people who have stayed there have noted. We looked at the "Book" in the hotel lobby, very interesting. I am going to request a haunted room when we stay. : )

#2 Tasha and Deborah

I recently stayed in one of the Haunted rooms! If you are looking for some excitment, and a little scare, this would be a great place for you to go, however if this completely FREAKS YOU OUT, you may want to choose a non-haunted room! My friend felt a hand moving up the back of her leg and up her dress in one of the bars! Customer service in the Pub restraunt could definetely be better. They forget to tell you the bathrooms are down the hall, so if you don't like sharing, find a different hotel!

#3 Chandan

Nah, McMenamins does their own thing there though you *could* say it's silaimr, since you can get lodging, eat, drink, find entertainment, etc. etc. all on the estate.Now of course I'm more curious about the history of the Poor Farm. Perhaps a trip to the Edgefield for research is in order

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