The Story of “Louie Louie” – Part I

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

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

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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Indigenous Peoples Day (Celilo Falls)

  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

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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The Desert Room’s Delight: Miss Toni Elling

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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The Harriman Alaska Expedition of 1899

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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John Barleycorns’ Hawaiian Twin

McMenamins John Barleycorns Pub and Brewery in Tigard, Oregon has a distinct and captivating look. It’s like a miniature medieval castle, yet the interior has a tropical flair. What is the inspiration for this curious combination? Mike McMenamin based the design for the John Barleycorns Pub on an unusual pumping station that caught his eye…

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