For some twenty-three years now, the McMenamin brothers, Mike and Brian, have been working their wonders across Oregon and Washington. And what wonders those have been.
Like several other old Portland taverns, it has a basement connection to the legendary subterranean tunnels used to kidnap (shanghai) drunken patrons for the purpose of selling them to outgoing ships whose crew members may have deserted.
The 54 locations in the McMenamin empire start in the north at Mill Creek Brew Pub near Everett, WA. They range south to Roseburg Station Brew Pub in southern Oregon, east to Old Francis School in Bend, OR, and west to the Lighthouse Brewery Pub in Pacific City on the Oregon Coast.
They are on the verge of opening their 54th establishment: Chapel of the Chimes, a renovated 1932 funeral home here in Portland at 430 N. Killingsworth, set to become the company’s headquarters with a pub attached.
The brothers have long specialized in buying and renovating wonderful old historical landmarks. They are now in the process of reworking many of their early acquisitions.
Notable among these is our local poor farm, Edgefield Manor, (2126 SW Halsey, Troutdale, OR), built in 1911 and acquired in 1990. This is a five million dollar project, with a bed and breakfast and a 25-acre campus, including an 18-hole Scottish Rules golf course, a brewery and pub of course, a winery and wine pub, a distillery-pub, a movie theater, and the Black Rabbit, a first class restaurant. Edgefield—said to be haunted—is currently undergoing some renovations.
Many other fine Northwest landmarks (some on the National Registry of Historic Places) have been added as well. St. Johns Pub (8203 N. Ivanhoe St. Portland) has a truly amazing history, starting at Portland’s International Lewis and Clark Exposition in 1905 as the elegant and ornate National Cash Register Pavilion and Movie Theater. Although featuring only one short film, it was unique in its time.
The beautiful domed building was then barged down the Willamette River to its present location in the St. Johns district as a Congregationalist Church. It had to be hauled from the riverfront, up the bank elevation of some 100 feet, over at least half a mile by what must have been huge teams of horses. That church didn’t really prosper, especially when the pastor was accused by a fellow preacher of being a traitor and wife stealer.
Accordingly, in 1931, the church was sold to the Lutherans, who flourished and outgrew the building by 1951, after which it became an American Legion Post until 1988, and, as its fifth incarnation, Duffy’s Irish Pub. After the McMenamins acquired it in 1998, they returned movies to the now elderly establishment.