“I Was There!” – Janis Allen at the Crystal Ballroom, 1968

By History Department | October 13, 2022 |

  Over 100 years of history have granted the Crystal Ballroom in Portland, Oregon, with something of a mythology all its own. The Crystal’s psychedelic heyday in the late 1960s lives on in the fantastic, surreal murals throughout the Ballroom and the enduring musical influence of the classic bands who played there. It’s funny to…

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Indigenous Peoples Day (Celilo Falls)

By History Department | October 10, 2022 |

  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

By History Department | September 29, 2022 |

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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12th Annual Running of the Brewers

By Word Bird | September 13, 2022 |

On September 8th, McMenamins brewery district managers arrived at Willamette Valley’s Sodbuster Farms as trucks overflowing with just-harvested Mosaic hops rolled in from the fields. 30- and 50-pound bags were packed, and the managers were off, racing to each of their breweries with the freshest of hops. Within minutes, these beautiful, fragrant Mosaics were added…

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The Desert Room’s Delight: Miss Toni Elling

By History Department | September 1, 2022 |

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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Summertime at Edgefield Gardens: An Interview with Kim Kincaid, Garden Manager

By History Department | August 15, 2022 |

Kim Kincaid is the garden manager of McMenamins Edgefield. She has been here since the beginning in 1991, when this former Multnomah County Poor Farm was overgrown with weeds and brambles, like an abandoned castle in a fairytale. With painstaking patience, resourcefulness, and a deep well of creativity, Kim’s indelible green thumbprint can now be…

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The Harriman Alaska Expedition of 1899

By History Department | August 2, 2022 |

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

By History Department | July 18, 2022 |

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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Ani DiFranco at the Crystal Ballroom – June 30th, 2022

By History Department | July 11, 2022 |

Ani DiFranco delivered a profound and spirited performance at the Crystal Ballroom in Portland, Oregon on June 30th—returning to the historic McMenamins venue. She played songs from her latest record, Revolutionary Love, along with plenty of early favorites. The place was packed with Ani superfans, from old schoolers who grew up with Ani in the…

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Painting of US Senator Patty Murray by Carol Meckling

Senator Patty Murray, from Anderson School to D.C.

By History Department | July 5, 2022 |

This painting of US Senator Patty Murray by artist Carol Meckling is displayed at McMenamins Anderson School in Bothell, Washington, where there is also a guest room named in Senator Murray’s honor. This patriotic piece envisions Patty as Rosie the Riveter—the WWII icon that celebrates the power of women’s work and equality. Patty grew up…

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