First History Blog

Welcome to the cyber catacombs of McMenamins history. It’s a wondrous, multi-layered and lyrical realm brimming with life, from the day-to-day to the extraordinary.  Here, heralded pillars of society stand shoulder-to-shoulder with gloriously seedy charlatans. It’s an ongoing journey to showcase the wildly divergent histories of McMenamins’ properties and place them into the context of the Pacific Northwest and points far beyond.

McMenamins proudly commemorates the historically significant characters, objects, and events that occasionally turn up in connection with our locations, but we equally relish and celebrate the odd, unusual and unexpected gems that manifest with regularity.

I look forward to exploring with you in this forum (and others) the remarkable finds unearthed over the years, as well as calling on you to help identify and learn about new ones. Over the next weeks and months, I’ll be continuing to add more history elements to the website, in particular a separate history page, offering a virtual storehouse of McMenamins’ historical material: photos, articles, video clips, interview transcripts, and eventually podcasts, and resource links, etc. Check back here regularly for new blog entries, and stay in touch, I want to hear your ideas, opinions and research leads.

1 Comment

  1. Nancy Gemmell on January 18, 2021 at 9:37 am

    I grew up in Portland (now living in Scotland) and it is fascinating to read its unknown history. I have a question, though: among all the intrigue and seedy happenings of the past, while looking at the history of Portland’s hotels, have you ever come across the name Robert Matches? He was my grandfather (never knew him) and I think he managed a hotel in the 1920s and 30s. He was from Orkney (northern isles) and returned to Scotland about 1936, where he bought the Ayre Hotel in Kirkwall. He had been so influenced by his time in Portland (about 30 years) that he wanted to put the hotel’s name up in neon lights. You don’t do that in Scotland, especially not in Orkney! I think he learned the hotel trade in Portland, possibly as a manager, and have asked around but never found an answer. Many thanks for any tips.

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