Blog-peopleheader

The Story of “Louie Louie” – Part I

By History Department | December 1, 2022 |

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,…

Read More

“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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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,…

Read More

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…

Read More
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…

Read More

Julie Montaigne and the Barony Ball

By History Department | June 24, 2022 |

Happy Pride Month! To celebrate, we spotlight the Barony Ball, a drag queen pageant that was a groundbreaking event for the LGBTQ+ community in Tacoma, WA, from 1975-1985. It was held in the grand spaces of what is now McMenamins Tacoma Elks. These days, all visitors are welcome and encouraged to peruse artwork, photos and…

Read More
Mural of Clara Peoples

Happy Juneteenth!

By History Department | June 17, 2022 |

In 2021, Juneteenth was designated a federally observed holiday. And this year, on June 19th, Juneteenth will officially be recognized as an Oregon state holiday. Juneteenth celebrates the abolishment of African American slavery in the United States. But attaining that freedom was not as simple as President Lincoln signing the Emancipation Proclamation in 1862. Even after…

Read More

Bart Hance: Head Distiller, Cornelius Pass Roadhouse Distillery

By Word Bird | April 25, 2022 |

When Bart Hance started working at McMenamins, it was not unusual to call up your boss to say you wouldn’t be coming in that day because the Grateful Dead was in Eugene (chances are, your boss was going too). 32 years later, it’s less likely to call in “Dead,” but a convivial air of friendship…

Read More