Happy May Day!

Happy May Day! For years, a tradition for Portland-area schools was to celebrate the arrival of spring with a Maypole dance. The first held at Kennedy Elementary School (now McMenamins Kennedy School) was in the spring of 1916, as part of the dedication ceremony for Kennedy’s new permanent school building. McMenamins revived the Maypole tradition…

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The Roses of the Cotillion

“They were cultivating us to be the kind of women that they wanted us to be, not just as women but as community leaders, community organizers, as people who would carry on the torch.” – Crystal Wright, Red Rose Cotillion debutante of 1975 The Unique Social and Community Club was founded in 1963 by a…

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30 Years at the Corvallis Pub

“We used to be very busy at the Corvallis Pub in those days, as well. I’ll never forget telling people it was going to be an hour-and-a-half wait for a table and another hour wait for food, and they say, ‘Great! throw me on the list.’ You know you have a good thing going at…

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Celebrating Our 35th Anniversary of Our First Beer

Beer Anniversary

1985. Ronald Reagan is president, The Goonies is popular in theaters, the Unabomber is at large in the U.S., Nintendo releases Super Mario Bros. and McMenamins’ first beer is born. In 1985 McMenamins was two years old and, after the recent passage of the Brewpub Bill, just dipping our toes into the proverbial mash of…

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The Brandos in Kalama

The Brandos

While few can likely relate to the turbulent ups and downs of the famous Brando family, every one of us understands the desire for a friendly place where we can escape from real life, even if just for a short while. Incredibly, for legendary actor Marlon Brando and eldest son Christian Brando, that place was…

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An Extraordinary Existence

George Putnam Riley

George Putnam Riley was a brilliant activist, orator and lifetime barber lived an extraordinary existence during a pivotal time in American history, during the second half of the nineteenth century. His formative years were shaped by his East Coast upbringing, but his true character came from his life experiences on the Pacific Coast. The African-American…

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Modern Dance Pioneer Bonnie Bird

Bonnie Bird

She was many things: an accomplished performer, revered instructor, passionate political activist and loving wife and mother. Bonnie Bird also was a Bothell, Washington, resident into the 1930s, while the rest of her family continued to live there into the ’50s. Bonnie was born in Portland in 1914 and spent most of her childhood in…

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Fallen Women, a Dashing Aviator, a Monkey, & Massage

The Cedars In 1917, a detention home for “fallen women” called The Cedars was built to the north of Edgefield, under the stewardship of Lola Baldwin, Portland’s first policewoman and namesake of our Lola’s Room at the Crystal Ballroom. Press clippings trumpeted The Cedars as a “refuge for diseased women.” Yet the concern wasn’t actually…

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A New Painting by Kolieha Bush

Kolieha Bush

Art and write-up by McMenamins artist Kolieha Bush My trip to the White Bird Clinic was an inspiring and eye-opening experience. I’ve known of White Bird since the late 1970s as the medical and first aid booth at the Oregon Country Fair each year. I also saw them providing their services during the Further Festival…

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The Sortors of Kalama

The Sorters of Kalama

Grace Tibbet’s mother was a Native Clatsop named Louisa, of whom little is known. Her father, Calvin Tibbets, was a stonecutter from Maine who had ventured west in 1832, across the plains and over the mountains to Oregon, his new permanent home. He was the first U.S. citizen to do so, earning him the sobriquiet…

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