Working for the Railroad

Tales of Roseburg’s Rich Rail Culture As Told by Those Who Lived It “The human element just isn’t there any more. I mean, where you have a hundred-car train and an engineer and conductor sitting up there in the head end and a red light back on the end of the train . . .…

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Bealey Military Academy for Boys

When McMenamins Edgefield first opened in 1991, a marching band of bagpipers in kilts played “Amazing Grace” to herald a new era for the former Multnomah County Poor Farm. This pomp and circumstance was an echo of the past, reminiscent of the military band drills that high school cadets practiced at the Bealey Military Academy,…

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No-No Boy: A Journey Through History, Music, and Sound

Dr. Julian Saporiti

Music can be a key into another place and time. For No-No Boy, songs contain clues to follow, like a sonic time capsule. Portland-based singer, songwriter, and scholar Julian Saporiti is the mind and heart behind No-No Boy. This music-meets-history project is the manifestation of Julian’s doctorate dissertation at Brown University, from where he holds…

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Jitney Dancing at the Hippodrome

Like moths to a flame, the lights of the Hippodrome were irresistible to the people of Bend, Oregon, over a century ago. This painting by Jenny Joyce sets the lively scene, displayed at McMenamins Old St. Francis School. The original definition of “hippodrome” is an arena for horse chariot racing in ancient Greece. Over the…

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The Daffodil Festival in Tacoma

Spring has sprung! This cheery painting of Tacoma’s Daffodil Festival by artist Mary Mann is displayed at McMenamins Elks Temple. This year marks the 90th year of the parade and on April 1st, the Tacoma Daffodil Parade starts just blocks away from Elks Temple. Making up the painting’s border are images inspired by the earliest…

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The Amazing Life of Hugh O’Kane

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! McMenamins Old St. Francis School in Bend, Oregon has a pub named after Hugh O’Kane, a daring Irishman with a life story so unbelievable, it could be a blockbuster movie. O’Kane was born in 1854 at Bushmills, County Antrim, Ireland, just around the corner from the Bushmills Distillery. As a youngster,…

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The Roots, the Crystal Ballroom, and the James Brown Connection

Questlove

The Roots are playing McMenamins Crystal Ballroom in Portland on February 21st. Can you believe it? It’s nothing short of magical when such a wildly popular and acclaimed band plays the Crystal. Compared with larger stages, such as Edgefield’s outdoor amphitheater (which the Roots played in 2019), the experience of seeing a huge artist in…

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George Washington: African American Pioneer and Founder of Centralia

Everyone knows George Washington, founding father and first president of the United States. But this is the story of another George Washington, a former Black slave and trailblazing pioneer who, in 1875, overcame incredible obstacles to become the founding father of Centralia, Washington—the largest city founded by an African American of the era. George was…

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The Story of “Louie Louie” – Part II

The first part of our dive into the song, “Louie Louie” by the Kingsmen (recorded next to the Crystal Ballroom in Portland, OR) was the infamous story of the FBI investigation into the lyrics of this rock & roll hit from 1963. Dig a little deeper, and there’s even more drama to uncover. After the…

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