Archive for August 2014

Par for the Course

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).

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“Before” Photos

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 to post which five different McMenamins locations are pictured here. We’ll let you in on the answers a little later….

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The Fagen Brothers

Fagen BrosNot 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.

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History and our Artists

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.

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Gus Dindia, Kennedy School Principal

Gus DindiaHere 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!

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