George Putnam Riley

An Extraordinary Existence

By History Department | July 29, 2020 |

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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Bonnie Bird

Modern Dance Pioneer Bonnie Bird

By History Department | July 17, 2020 |

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

By History Department | July 7, 2020 |

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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Now Offering Catering To-Go Packages!

By McMenamins Sales Team | July 2, 2020 |

Have you recently changed your plans from that big, 250 guest wedding to a more intimate gathering of your closest family and friends? Or maybe you never wanted a big wedding and have always planned on eloping? Well, we’ve got the perfect packages for your special day! Checkout out our Elopement To-Go Packages in both…

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Kolieha Bush

A New Painting by Kolieha Bush

By History Department | June 30, 2020 |

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 Sorters of Kalama

The Sortors of Kalama

By Matt Korona | June 24, 2020 |

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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Dorothy Mason Brown

The Story of Dorothy Mason Brown

By History Department | June 19, 2020 |

“She was religious, very active, very community oriented, always wanted to work to make the community better. She was a do-er, a helper, a supporter. I think at an early age, she had made up her mind that she was going to make a difference. And that’s what she did.” – Dr. Betty Cobbs, daughter…

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Willard Case

Lumberman Willard Case of Kalama

By History Department | May 20, 2020 |

As 1908 came to a close, veteran lumberman Willard Case ushered in the first railroad logging operation at Kalama. Case had been in the lumber business for nearly two decades by this point, but was relatively new to this area. He hailed from the Old Northwest Territory – born in Ohio and raised in Missouri…

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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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