The Story of Torchy

By History Department | March 10, 2020 |

Hello from the History Department – She just wanted to finish her drink! Read this great story by The Oregonian’s Douglas Perry about Phyllis “Torchy” Jessing, the redhead on the left in McMenamins artist Lyle Hehn’s mural that hangs in Zeus Café. This true-crime tale has everything: a drunken stabbing, a bloody weapon, a lovesick…

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John Kalama

Who Was John Kalama?

By History Department | March 3, 2020 |

Hello from the History Department – For more than a century, speculation has run rampant regarding how the town of Kalama got its name. Was it based on the Chinook word “Kala amat,” which is how local natives referred to themselves? Or did the name come from the nearby river, which had been named for…

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Jonathan Burbee

The Burbee Family of Kalama

By History Department | February 26, 2020 |

Hello from the History Department – For most of the pioneer wagon trains making their slow and often treacherous way across the Oregon Trail, the trip ended in or around Oregon City. But for a select few, the journey veered north, up into what would one day be the Washington Territory. Read the story of…

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“The Conqueror” Riding a Horse

By History Department | February 19, 2020 |

Hello from the History Department – Often people want to know the stories behind certain unusual antiques in our properties. More often than not, those provenances prove to be elusive. But we do know the story about a recently installed brass piece at the entrance to the Ironworks Grill at the Grand Lodge. ***** Ozolua…

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Reed, Olsen & The Barony Ball

By History Department | February 11, 2020 |

Hello from the History Department – At Tacoma’s Elks Temple, there is a guest room named for John Reed (left) and Kenny Olsen (right), longtime friends who became leaders within Tacoma’s gay community. They were instrumental in the establishment of the Imperial Sovereign Court, an organization that endeavors to create a safe, supportive, and social…

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Enlightenment from Above in West Linn

By History Department | February 5, 2020 |

Hello from the History Department – “Can you find the skull in the clouds?” We’ve been putting that slightly off-putting question to West Linn pub guests coming up on 28 years now, since the pub opened in 1992. It encourages people to immerse themselves in former McMenamins artist Scott Young’s all-encompassing 40-foot mural, inspired by…

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The Cowlitz People

By History Department | January 28, 2020 |

Hello from the History Department – In the early 1970s, scholar and Longview, WA, resident Judith Irwin (1924–2010) helped record the Cowlitz history. At the time of her passing, she was one of only two non-Cowlitz Indians to be named an honorary member of the tribe. This piece was excerpted from Irwin’s article, “The Dispossessed:…

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The Extraordinary Life of Walter Sutter

By History Department | January 21, 2020 |

Hello from the History Department. We gathered a lot of fantastic stories from and about the people who joined and worked at Tacoma’s Elks Lodge – this tale is one of them. ***** What is known for certain about the life of Walter Sutter is that he was a popular and very involved member of…

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Mr. Mills’ Dream Machine

By History Department | January 15, 2020 |

Hello from the History Department. We are fortunate here with McMenamins to be able to juxtapose history with all that we do – from the beer to the art, to the music and food and beyond, we bring interesting historical connections to light. Or, in this case, to flight. Yet also in this case, lack…

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Can You Guess Which Spot?

By History Department | January 8, 2020 |

Think you’re a McMenamins history buff? Identify the five properties associated with these images. Property #1 Hint: This was taken in 1985. Property #2 Hint: Bring your own chalk. Property #3 Hint: It’s the first spot we built from the ground up. Property #4 Hint: “Everything’s great ‘til you tow a judge’s car.” Property #5…

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