The Smallest of the Smalls

There is, in McMenamins parlance, a thing called a “small bar,” those tiny watering holes that reflect our philosophy in which people meet and talk and share ideas and laughs and drinks and songs within very small confines. This week, we take a look at another of our small bars.

The Black Rabbit House, the tiny shack on the northern edge of the Power Station Loading Dock at Edgefield, is named for the sociable little creature that accompanied the McMenamins family when they first toured the historic poor farm property in the late 1980s, hopping along with them as they inspected the grounds. Today, the black rabbit icon is found across the company in various forms but remains Edgefield’s “mascot.”

This sweet little bar, with room for you and a handful of others, is open seasonally, so go while you still have time! Have a beer or a glass of wine and admire the intricate pipe-and-keg sculptures (by plumber-turned-artist Jeff Allen) along with the plantings and flowers (from longtime Edgefield gardener Kim Kincaid and her staff).

And if you look over the door on the north side, you’ll see the very first version of the iconic black rabbit. Says McMenamins artist Lyle Hehn, “[It’s] a rather chubby example because the real rabbit was still hopping around the place in the evening and he looked well-fed.”

And what was this building used for originally, you ask? Well, we’ll tell you, but it may leave you scratching your head: This small shack once served as the poor farm’s delousing shed. When new, down-on-their-luck “inmates,” as they were called, arrived to earn their room and board at the Multnomah County Poor Farm, they were treated with pesticides, for sanitary reasons.

Not to worry, any itchy critters are long gone, with the exception of perhaps a spider or two. The spiders can stay; they don’t take up much room.

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