The Story of “Louie Louie” – Part I

By History Department | December 1, 2022 |

McMenamins Crystal Hotel is filled with imaginative artwork that brings to life musicians who performed on stage at the Crystal Ballroom in downtown Portland over the last century. The story behind this painting by Jonathan Case is one of the most notorious tales of rock & roll history. If you’ve never heard the Kingsmen’s song,…

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McMenamins Old St. Francis School Celebrates 86 Years

By History Department | November 10, 2022 |

Happy 86th birthday to McMenamins Old St. Francis School in Bend, Oregon! In 1936, St. Francis School was established as the first parochial school in Central Oregon. For 64 years, the school provided Catholic education from Kindergarten through 8th grade at this location. Then in 2000, the school community moved to a newly built modern…

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Celebrating Kennedy School’s 25th Anniversary

By History Department | November 3, 2022 |

Happy birthday to Northeast Portland’s McMenamins Kennedy School! The building itself turns 107 and McMenamins is also celebrating the 25th anniversary of the landmark school’s renovation and reopening. Come join the big fun and festivities on Saturday, November 12th! The Kennedy Elementary School building opened in 1915, which was a welcome replacement for the small,…

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“I Was There!” – Janis Allen at the Crystal Ballroom, 1968

By History Department | October 13, 2022 |

  Over 100 years of history have granted the Crystal Ballroom in Portland, Oregon, with something of a mythology all its own. The Crystal’s psychedelic heyday in the late 1960s lives on in the fantastic, surreal murals throughout the Ballroom and the enduring musical influence of the classic bands who played there. It’s funny to…

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Indigenous Peoples Day (Celilo Falls)

By History Department | October 10, 2022 |

  Today we honor Indigenous Peoples Day and the ancestral homelands across the Pacific Northwest where we now gather. As the McMenamins footprint touches a number of ancestral lands and communities, we are constantly working to learn about the history and rich traditions that came before us and the vibrant cultures of people past, present…

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The Real Frankie Baker

By History Department | September 29, 2022 |

Frankie and Johnny were lovers O Lordy, how they could love Swore they’d be true to each other True as the stars up above He was her man But he done her wrong. – From the song, “Frankie and Johnny”   Frankie Baker sat by the window, playing a nonstop game of solitaire with a…

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12th Annual Running of the Brewers

By Word Bird | September 13, 2022 |

On September 8th, McMenamins brewery district managers arrived at Willamette Valley’s Sodbuster Farms as trucks overflowing with just-harvested Mosaic hops rolled in from the fields. 30- and 50-pound bags were packed, and the managers were off, racing to each of their breweries with the freshest of hops. Within minutes, these beautiful, fragrant Mosaics were added…

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The Desert Room’s Delight: Miss Toni Elling

By History Department | September 1, 2022 |

The Desert Room was one of the hottest nightclubs in Portland during the 1950s-60s. Today this space is occupied by Zeus Café within McMenamins Crystal Hotel. If the walls could sing, they would belt out a tune for the vivacious entertainer, Toni Elling. She was a frequent performer in the Desert Room during the 1960s,…

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Summertime at Edgefield Gardens: An Interview with Kim Kincaid, Garden Manager

By History Department | August 15, 2022 |

Kim Kincaid is the garden manager of McMenamins Edgefield. She has been here since the beginning in 1991, when this former Multnomah County Poor Farm was overgrown with weeds and brambles, like an abandoned castle in a fairytale. With painstaking patience, resourcefulness, and a deep well of creativity, Kim’s indelible green thumbprint can now be…

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The Harriman Alaska Expedition of 1899

By History Department | August 2, 2022 |

Calling all scientists, artists, geologists, botanists, photographers, zoologists, and chefs! Want to go on an adventure? Alaska is waiting for you! The 1899 Harriman Expedition to Alaska is the primary subject of this painting displayed at McMenamins Kalama Harbor Lodge. But there is a Kalama connection, too. Artist Cleo Hehn’s colorful sampler of discoveries from…

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