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Benson Hotel      Hotel Portland      Multnomah Hotel     Mark Spencer-Nortonia Hotel

In the early part of the 20th Century, Portland boasted a number of first class hotels. Many of them have come and gone. Portland’s finest, The Hotel Portland was torn down in 1951 to put up a parking lot that was demolished 30 years later. Another of Portland’s largest and best known, The Multnomah Hotel survives today and was recently restored. One of Portland’s founding fathers, Simon Benson, built the Hotel Benson, an institution that also survived the century.

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Another institution that has survived the test of time is the New Heathman Hotel, which still retains much of the original façade and some of the original paneling and other interiors remain from the original design. The KOIN Radio studios were housed in the Heathman from 1926 to 1952.

The Nortonia Hotel, which opened in 1908, is now known as the Mark Spencer, a very comfortable hotel in the Theatre District. Even in the early days, it was Portland’s “home-away-from-home” for many of the artists who performed in theatric productions. Modern-day theatric artists continue to call the Mark Spencer “home” while they’re in Portland.

The Terwilliger Boulevard Sightseeing Trips originated at the Nortonia Hotel where they maintained an Information Bureau in the Lobby. The Autobusses stopped at several other hotels to get additional passengers.

An early view of the Washington Hotel, which is now the Washington Annex and it is operated by the Mark Spencer Hotel

Nearly half of the Lobby of the Washington Hotel has been converted to an outdoor courtyard. Two of the first sets of marble columns have been removed and the door is located about where the lady in white is sitting.

Another survivor, the Imperial Hotel, was recently renovated and reopened as the St. Lucia.

This view shows the magnificent lobby of the Imperial Hotel. I remember going to the Imperial Café somewhat regularly about 15 years ago.

This view shows the ornate Elizabethan Room at the Imperial Hotel. When I was in the Imperial Hotel about 15 years ago, I remember having to pay a dime to use the restroom.

One of Portland’s more unique hotels was the Cornelius. It has been closed for over 10 years, after falling into disrepair. This building with its beautiful interiors awaits a savior.

Ornate Lobby of the Cornelius Hotel

The beautiful Café at the Cornelius

Ladies’ Reception Hall at the Cornelius Hotel

The Clyde Hotel opened in 1912 and it is still in business today

The Virginia Café was originally located at the Clyde

The Clyde was a Station for the Oregon Electric Streetcar, which operated for about 15 or 20 years, beginging in 1912. Every room had a phone, but not every room had a bath.

The last couple of years have seen the proliferation of fine hotels in Portland. Several ornate and prestigious hotels have been added to the Portland skyline while several old and rundown hotels have been restored to their original luster.

Hotel Portland

Benson Hotel

Nortonia/Mark Spencer

Multnomah Hotel

World’s Most Famous Bellboy

Last updated 12-17-07

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