Each month except December, we host five different history programs at various McMenamins locations, led by historians, experiencers or experts in their fields. They are always free and open to guests of all ages.
Coming up in January, one of our history nights is a program on Klondike Kate, celebrated dancehall girl of the Yukon gold rush, who retired in Bend, OR.Read More
We've told UFO stories, identical triplets stories, before-and-after building renovation stories and beyond – so many great tales and characters and legends have come to light throughout the life of this company. And some of the best insight comes from within.
One of the most fun projects on our plate has been interviewing longtime McMenamins employees about their stories – nothing is off limits. (Well, that's not entirely true; some stuff is better left off the record.) Below are excerpts from interviews with Jon Sokol (Marketing) and John Richen (Breweries).Read More
As we've mentioned here before, many of the guestrooms at the Kennedy School are in the process of being renamed for people who attended the school, taught there, or otherwise had an influence in the school's history – such as Ron the Painter.
Many of you may remember Ron. He spent more than two decades with Pacific Crest Construction and worked on countless McMenamins projects. Ron passed away due to illness in 2010. Below is the text from the framed panel that will hang in the Ron the Painter room at Kennedy.Read More
This Saturday, 11/29/14, the Civil War between the Ducks and the Beavers rages ever onward, fur and feathers flying. Although the Oregon State vs. Oregon match-up was first played in 1894, it isn’t officially the 120th annual event – there were several years during which the game wasn’t played at all and two years in which the game was played twice.
If you can’t make it to the stadium in person, here are a couple local spots where you can be there in spirit, be you a Beaver or be you a Duck. Or watch it on McMenamins screens big and small.
Months ago, our McMenamins artists put out a call for painters to help with the extraordinary amount of artwork that will be needed at the Anderson School property in Bothell, Wa. Here's a bit from the call-for-artists letter:Read More
This week marks the 10th anniversary of the opening of Old St. Francis School in Bend. As with all of our properties, there are a million fascinating stories within its walls, but here, we'll just tell one.
Read on to find out what these things have in common.
Chips & Beer & Old St. FrancisRead More
You may have heard that the formerly named See Food Bar at Hotel Oregon now goes by a grand new moniker – Carter the Great Bar, an allusion to the huge, beautiful poster that hangs just outside the bar in the Paragon Room.
What's the story there? It is one of tricks and mystery, smoke and mirrors, illusion and disillusion.... Because Carter the Great was a world-renown magician.Read More
During the late 1920s to mid-1930s, three national celebrities walked the halls of Kennedy School alongside their fellow students. Not movie stars or athletic phenoms, Robert, Rollo and Richard Palmer were identical triplets.
Today, a guestroom at the Kennedy School is named for the famous Palmer Triplets – here's their story...Read More
There are so many good people doing cool and interesting things underneath this McMenamins' umbrella, and certainly among the most remarkable are the artists and the wondrous work they do all around us!Read More
This week, we head to the West Linn Pub for a closer look at artist Scott Young’s 40-foot wall-and-ceiling mural, inspired in part by Michael Murphy’s novel Golf in the Kingdom (1971). The book was made into a movie in 2010, filmed at Oregon’s Bandon Dunes Golf Resort and “featuring” our own Brian McMenamin as an extra. Interestingly, the novel also inspired the Shivas Irons Society, an organization created in 1992 during the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach whose members combine golf and meditation. Murphy serves on its advisory board, along with Oregon PGA golfer Peter Jacobsen and many others.Read More
Hello from the History Department.
Think you're a McMenamins' history buff? Try this test.Read More
This Saturday, 9/20/14, is a big day. All are welcome to the 8th Annual Slabtown Festival, celebrating the history of this NW Portland neighborhood - and, whaddya know, it's also conveniently the same day as McMenamins Tavern & Pool's 30th Anniversary! So, like we said, this is a big day. And all big days deserve a parade, some beer and a healthy dose of history.Read More
In case you haven't heard yet: The Anderson School is a go.
This is not a drill.
Repeat: The Anderson School is a go.
As has been mentioned here in the past, we are in the process of renaming several of the Kennedy School guestrooms to celebrate the people who attended, worked and taught at the school.
And because it is Back to School Day for children across the land, it seems apt to recall one of Kennedy's former principals. Here is the history plate that will be installed in the Gertrude Ramage room.Read More
Suspended from the ceiling outside a room on the 2nd floor at Edgefield is a medieval-looking piece, with spike-like electric candles and pounded-brass straps rolled into a sphere. It's a McMenamin family heirloom and one that is long-suspected of bringing about a remarkable string of holes-in-one over three generations (so far).Read More
It's fun to see some before-and-after photos of our places. Have a look at the historic photos below to see if you can guess which is which - then go to facebook.com to post which five different McMenamins locations are pictured here. We'll let you in on the answers a little later....Read More
Not sure we'd like to run into these two in a dark alleyway - but appearances can be deceiving. Read on to learn Nik and Harry Fagen's story. They were students at the Old St. Francis School parish in the 1950s. They came back for the opening of the hotel in November 2004 and to have a look at the guestroom named after them. And have a beer or two.Read More
Working with the artists has always been a favorite part of my job at McMenamins. They are amazingly creative people who dwell on a different plane than us mere mortals. I don't know if they're always excited about painting characters and scenes steeped (tainted?) in the history that bubbles up about each of the McMenamins' locations, but that's their assignment (most of the time) during work hours.Read More
Here is another sample from the collection of Kennedy School biographies we've compiled for the lodging rooms in the original school building. This one's really got some wild and unexpected Mc connections.
Gus Dindia and his family hold a special place in the McMenamins’ realm, not only because Gus served well and faithfully as Kennedy School’s final principal, but also because of his connections, direct and indirect, to other McMenamins’ locations, past and present.
Gus’s dad and uncle came to Portland in the late 1890s as young men fresh from their native Italy, starting and soon rising in the local produce industry. Gus’s cousin then went on to build the family business into a large distribution company, called Pioneer Fruit, located at Southeast 2nd Avenue & Alder Street, and was instrumental in developing that area into Portland’s expansive East Side produce district. Decades later, in 1974, and right in that very spot, Mike McMenamin opened his first pub, which he called Produce Row.
Gus and his wife, Joan, were themselves part of another important McMenamins’ “first.” In May 1983, Mike and younger brother Brian opened their first pub together, marking the start of McMenamins Pubs. Called the Barley Mill, it’s housed in a one-story, concrete commercial building at Southeast 17th Avenue and Hawthorne Boulevard, that Gus’ father purchased in the ’50s, and which subsequently passed along to Gus and Joan. So when the McMenamin brothers debuted the Barley Mill, their landlords were the Dindias, and still are in 2014!Read More
In just under a month, we’ll celebrate the 19th Annual Lighthouse Brewfest in Lincoln City, OR – not only do guests enjoy a multitude of original brews, but they ponder the yearly Mighty Beer Atom (2014 version shown here) as well as the creative and sometimes baffling Tiny Brewer Art.
Until 8/16, here’s a little background to tide you over … to tide you over… get it?
In 1986, the Northwest microbrewing revolution was in its infancy and McMenamins itself was just a small family of a half-dozen Portland-area pubs. Oregon’s pioneering craft breweries, Bridgeport and Widmer, had been established in 1984. Following the passage of Oregon’s brewpub law in the fall of ’85, McMenamins had opened the state’s first brewpub, the Hillsdale, in October. May 1986 saw the debut of the Cornelius Pass Roadhouse, McMenamins’ seventh location, which featured the company’s second brewery. Two months later, the Lighthouse brewpub became the third McMenamins’ brewpub and only the fifth in the state.
It was the first of its kind on the coast. In fact, there hadn’t been a brewery on the coast since the curtain of Prohibition fell in 1916. Until the Lighthouse Brewpub’s debut, taverns up and down Highway 101 retained much of the old-school qualities: no kids, few women and just one tap – either Oly or Blitz. So, the Lighthouse offered a new experience: a family environment, good food and a range of beers brewed on site. It also may have been the first Oregon brewery that allowed the public a constant, unobstructed view of the brewing operations by way of a floor-to-ceiling, two-story window.Read More