Each month except December, we host five different history programs at various McMenamins locations, led by historians, experiencers or experts in their fields. They are always free and open to guests of all ages.
Coming up in January, one of our history nights is a program on Klondike Kate, celebrated dancehall girl of the Yukon gold rush, who retired in Bend, OR.Read More
We've told UFO stories, identical triplets stories, before-and-after building renovation stories and beyond – so many great tales and characters and legends have come to light throughout the life of this company. And some of the best insight comes from within.
One of the most fun projects on our plate has been interviewing longtime McMenamins employees about their stories – nothing is off limits. (Well, that's not entirely true; some stuff is better left off the record.) Below are excerpts from our interview with John Richen (Breweries).Read More
As we've mentioned here before, many of the guestrooms at the Kennedy School are in the process of being renamed for people who attended the school, taught there, or otherwise had an influence in the school's history – such as Ron the Painter.
Many of you may remember Ron. He spent more than two decades with Pacific Crest Construction and worked on countless McMenamins projects. Ron passed away due to illness in 2010. Below is the text from the framed panel that will hang in the Ron the Painter room at Kennedy.Read More
This Saturday, 11/29/14, the Civil War between the Ducks and the Beavers rages ever onward, fur and feathers flying. Although the Oregon State vs. Oregon match-up was first played in 1894, it isn’t officially the 120th annual event – there were several years during which the game wasn’t played at all and two years in which the game was played twice.
If you can’t make it to the stadium in person, here are a couple local spots where you can be there in spirit, be you a Beaver or be you a Duck. Or watch it on McMenamins screens big and small.
Months ago, our McMenamins artists put out a call for painters to help with the extraordinary amount of artwork that will be needed at the Anderson School property in Bothell, Wa. Here's a bit from the call-for-artists letter:Read More
This week marks the 10th anniversary of the opening of Old St. Francis School in Bend. As with all of our properties, there are a million fascinating stories within its walls, but here, we'll just tell one.
Read on to find out what these things have in common.
Chips & Beer & Old St. FrancisRead More
You may have heard that the formerly named See Food Bar at Hotel Oregon now goes by a grand new moniker – Carter the Great Bar, an allusion to the huge, beautiful poster that hangs just outside the bar in the Paragon Room.
What's the story there? It is one of tricks and mystery, smoke and mirrors, illusion and disillusion.... Because Carter the Great was a world-renown magician.Read More
During the late 1920s to mid-1930s, three national celebrities walked the halls of Kennedy School alongside their fellow students. Not movie stars or athletic phenoms, Robert, Rollo and Richard Palmer were identical triplets.
Today, a guestroom at the Kennedy School is named for the famous Palmer Triplets – here's their story...Read More
There are so many good people doing cool and interesting things underneath this McMenamins' umbrella, and certainly among the most remarkable are the artists and the wondrous work they do all around us!Read More
This week, we head to the West Linn Pub for a closer look at artist Scott Young’s 40-foot wall-and-ceiling mural, inspired in part by Michael Murphy’s novel Golf in the Kingdom (1971). The book was made into a movie in 2010, filmed at Oregon’s Bandon Dunes Golf Resort and “featuring” our own Brian McMenamin as an extra. Interestingly, the novel also inspired the Shivas Irons Society, an organization created in 1992 during the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach whose members combine golf and meditation. Murphy serves on its advisory board, along with Oregon PGA golfer Peter Jacobsen and many others.Read More
Hello from the History Department.
Think you're a McMenamins' history buff? Try this test.Read More
This Saturday, 9/20/14, is a big day. All are welcome to the 8th Annual Slabtown Festival, celebrating the history of this NW Portland neighborhood - and, whaddya know, it's also conveniently the same day as McMenamins Tavern & Pool's 30th Anniversary! So, like we said, this is a big day. And all big days deserve a parade, some beer and a healthy dose of history.Read More
In case you haven't heard yet: The Anderson School is a go.
This is not a drill.
Repeat: The Anderson School is a go.
As has been mentioned here in the past, we are in the process of renaming several of the Kennedy School guestrooms to celebrate the people who attended, worked and taught at the school.
And because it is Back to School Day for children across the land, it seems apt to recall one of Kennedy's former principals. Here is the history plate that will be installed in the Gertrude Ramage room.Read More
Suspended from the ceiling outside a room on the 2nd floor at Edgefield is a medieval-looking piece, with spike-like electric candles and pounded-brass straps rolled into a sphere. It's a McMenamin family heirloom and one that is long-suspected of bringing about a remarkable string of holes-in-one over three generations (so far).Read More
It's fun to see some before-and-after photos of our places. Have a look at the historic photos below to see if you can guess which is which - then go to facebook.com to post which five different McMenamins locations are pictured here. We'll let you in on the answers a little later....Read More
Not sure we'd like to run into these two in a dark alleyway - but appearances can be deceiving. Read on to learn Nik and Harry Fagen's story. They were students at the Old St. Francis School parish in the 1950s. They came back for the opening of the hotel in November 2004 and to have a look at the guestroom named after them. And have a beer or two.Read More
Working with the artists has always been a favorite part of my job at McMenamins. They are amazingly creative people who dwell on a different plane than us mere mortals. I don't know if they're always excited about painting characters and scenes steeped (tainted?) in the history that bubbles up about each of the McMenamins' locations, but that's their assignment (most of the time) during work hours.Read More
Here is another sample from the collection of Kennedy School biographies we've compiled for the lodging rooms in the original school building. This one's really got some wild and unexpected Mc connections.
Gus Dindia and his family hold a special place in the McMenamins’ realm, not only because Gus served well and faithfully as Kennedy School’s final principal, but also because of his connections, direct and indirect, to other McMenamins’ locations, past and present.
Gus’s dad and uncle came to Portland in the late 1890s as young men fresh from their native Italy, starting and soon rising in the local produce industry. Gus’s cousin then went on to build the family business into a large distribution company, called Pioneer Fruit, located at Southeast 2nd Avenue & Alder Street, and was instrumental in developing that area into Portland’s expansive East Side produce district. Decades later, in 1974, and right in that very spot, Mike McMenamin opened his first pub, which he called Produce Row.
Gus and his wife, Joan, were themselves part of another important McMenamins’ “first.” In May 1983, Mike and younger brother Brian opened their first pub together, marking the start of McMenamins Pubs. Called the Barley Mill, it’s housed in a one-story, concrete commercial building at Southeast 17th Avenue and Hawthorne Boulevard, that Gus’ father purchased in the ’50s, and which subsequently passed along to Gus and Joan. So when the McMenamin brothers debuted the Barley Mill, their landlords were the Dindias, and still are in 2014!Read More
In just under a month, we’ll celebrate the 19th Annual Lighthouse Brewfest in Lincoln City, OR – not only do guests enjoy a multitude of original brews, but they ponder the yearly Mighty Beer Atom (2014 version shown here) as well as the creative and sometimes baffling Tiny Brewer Art.
Until 8/16, here’s a little background to tide you over … to tide you over… get it?
In 1986, the Northwest microbrewing revolution was in its infancy and McMenamins itself was just a small family of a half-dozen Portland-area pubs. Oregon’s pioneering craft breweries, Bridgeport and Widmer, had been established in 1984. Following the passage of Oregon’s brewpub law in the fall of ’85, McMenamins had opened the state’s first brewpub, the Hillsdale, in October. May 1986 saw the debut of the Cornelius Pass Roadhouse, McMenamins’ seventh location, which featured the company’s second brewery. Two months later, the Lighthouse brewpub became the third McMenamins’ brewpub and only the fifth in the state.
It was the first of its kind on the coast. In fact, there hadn’t been a brewery on the coast since the curtain of Prohibition fell in 1916. Until the Lighthouse Brewpub’s debut, taverns up and down Highway 101 retained much of the old-school qualities: no kids, few women and just one tap – either Oly or Blitz. So, the Lighthouse offered a new experience: a family environment, good food and a range of beers brewed on site. It also may have been the first Oregon brewery that allowed the public a constant, unobstructed view of the brewing operations by way of a floor-to-ceiling, two-story window.Read More
Strangely enough, it is often a surprise to people when we tell them we have pubs in Seattle.
Six Arms on Capitol Hill and McMenamins Queen Anne in (strangely enough) the Queen Anne neighborhood both have an intriguing history hidden just below the surface – from Auto Row to Denny’s Prairie, from the Roaring Twenties to the Space Age of the early 1960s....
This archived McMenamins newsletter article (written in 2005) delves into these Seattle pubs’ stories.Read More
This Saturday, July 19, is the 13th Annual Roadhouse Brewfest, one of the summer’s best outdoor events, especially if you’re into live music and drinking good beer. Along with our own brewers, this year’s guests include Vertigo Brewing (Hillsboro, Ore.), Two Kilts Brewing Company (Sherwood, Ore.), Heater Allen (McMinnville, Ore.) and several others. Try original beers like Blue Me Away, with fresh blueberries; Morning Blend Espresso Stout, made with McMenamins coffee; Two Falcons Double IPA, coming in at a whopping 8.75% ABV; and many more.
Here are a few then-and-now shots of the Cornelius Pass Roadhouse & Imbrie Hall property. This weekend, while you’re enjoying your summer brewfest beer, take a stroll around and imagine how it may have looked, from the 1850s onward.
P.S. The word on the street is that this beautiful spot is in line for some fun updates in the coming years – stay tuned….Read More
This year marks the centennial anniversary of the start of WWI, which lasted from July 28, 1914 through Armistice Day, November 11, 1918.
From the seeds of difficult wartime circumstances, the idea of victory gardens took root and bloomed. These vegetable, fruit, and herb gardens were planted at private residences and in public parks throughout the U.S., U.K., Canada, and Germany. Not only did the victory gardens reduce pressure on the public food supply, but gardeners - including children - felt empowered by their contributions and rewarded by the food they grew.Read More
You may know that our original Kennedy guest rooms are in the process of being renamed, now with direct connections to people and characters from the school's history and neighborhood. Once every month or so, we'll share one of these histories with you -- like this one, about an Oregon golf legend, Bill Eggers.Read More
We’ve added more bloom to our traditional Sunflower IPA recipe, complete with an array of hop varieties for added aroma and hop flavor, to brew up one batch of Dry-Hopped Sunflower IPA. Starting July 1, these limited-edition bottles of Dry-Hopped Sunflower IPA are available for sale until they run out. You can find the 22-ounce bottles at all our Oregon and Vancouver, Wash. locations for $5.10 each.Read More
If you make it out to Edgefield for a concert, take time to stroll around the grounds, pint in hand. Take a quiet moment on a bench in the herb garden, walk through the magic red door to the vegetable garden, check out the fruit in the orchard, stop to enjoy the flowers in the Wedding Meadow...
But, whatever you do, do not ask the gardeners the following question:Read More
This week, we take a look into the inspiration behind a colorful Lyle Hehn painting that hangs at Hotel Oregon in McMinnville. The image has been used for many different types of promotions over the years – for winery events, for music programming, Mother's Day and beyond. But what's the real story here?Read More
A show of hands, who's been to Edgefield...? OK, great. Now, who's been to Ruby's Spa at Edgefield? Whether you've been to get a massage, lounge in the soaking pool or have your nails done, here's a little background on that building, among the "newer" on the Edgefield property, and one that has ties to the recently purchased Pig Farm acreage across the street to the north.Read More
Last week, we read about prized Povey stained glass, two originals of which hang at O'Kanes in Bend. Povey Brothers glass was all the rage in the early 1900s, and is still highly sought-after today.
This week, we have a look at a contemporary stained glass artist, David Schlicker. He has been in business as the founder, owner and lead designer of his studio on Division St. in SE Portland for more than 35 years.
His work is found in churches, private homes and businesses (including McMenamins) throughout the Pacific NW, on the East Coast and in such far-flung places as Egypt.Read More
If you've ever stopped into O'Kanes Pub at McMenamins Old St. Francis School, were you aware you were basking in the glow of Pacific Northwest artistic greatness? Well, you were – as long as you sat beside one of two huge Povey Brothers stained glass windows, that is.Read More
This weekend is - all together, now! - the 15th Annual UFO Festival and we hope to see you there. We'll be in McMinnville from Thursday through Sunday, hosting our UFO speakers and welcoming guests from all over the nation.
But on Monday, May 19, it's back to Portland for our next History Pub at the Kennedy School for a presentation on one of Portland's most colorful politicians to date: "Bud Was Serious!": A 30th-Anniversary Retrospective of Bud Clark's Successful Race for Mayor of Portland."Read More
Our UFO Festival, held at Hotel Oregon in McMinnville, is now in its 15th year. It's an incredible event, said to be among the largest of its kind in the nation - in recent years, the city has hosted more than 5,000 people to watch the alien costume parade careen and cartwheel down 3rd Street. (DJ, we're looking at you. See left.)
But while all of that is fun, let's take a look at the other side of the festival - the more mysterious, mind-expanding side. It's this information every year that is the stuff of dreams and nightmares.Read More
The Irish holidays we celebrate (St. Patrick's Day and Halfway to St. Patrick's Day) make sense, because, you know... McMenamin. (And beer.) The Syrah Festival at Edgefield, sure, because of the grapes and the winery and such. The UFO Festival seems at first glance to be a stretch, but once you know the story, it falls into place.
So... why do we throw a Crown the Eagle Festival, again?
Here's why.Read More
Every month, our department hosts and helps coordinate History Nights at various McMenamins venues. These events are always free and open to guests of all ages, featuring regional historians and experts talking about incidents, characters, events, architecture and more that influenced Pacific Northwest history.
On April 29 and May 5, two of our events have an interesting connection – Oregon's involvement in slavery prior to the Civil War and resulting Emancipation Proclamation. Holmes v. Ford (1853) was the only Oregon legal case dealing with slavery. One event will be led by a historian/author, while the other will feature a best-selling novelist.Read More
What the––? What the heck is happening here? Wasting perfectly good beer and spirits like that?
Well, that, obviously, is an example of Prohibition in action.Read More
One way we celebrate notable people tied in with the history of our properties is to name hotel rooms in their honor. Lately, we've been working with a wonderful, and wonderfully eclectic, assemblage of folks who collectively are the namesakes of Kennedy School's original guest rooms.Read More
It's not every day you can draw a line from one of our joints to legendary comedian Don Rickles, "The Insultin' Sultan," so when opportunity arises - even if it's a bit of a curvy line - you gotta go with it.Read More
Montrose Ringler, Portland's Jazz-Age dance hall king, launched his dance boat Blue Bird on July 28, 1920, in hopes of skirting around the scrutiny of Lola Baldwin, head of the city's Women's Protective Division, who for years had been severely restricting Ringler's public dances at the Crystal Ballroom and his other dance halls around the city.Read More