Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Perkins Hotel - Portland, Oregon

There were a number of elegant hotels in Portland at the turn of the century, catering to wealth visitors. The Perkins Hotel stands out from the other hotels though. Richard Perkins was a cattle driver and owed his success to driving cattle from the Willamette Valley to Idaho. He was a native of Bristol, England, the son of a wholesale cattle dealer and butcher. When Richard Perkins built the  six-story Perkins Hotel on the NE corner of 5th and Washington streets in Portland in 1891, he honored his roots as a cattleman by placing a golden steer on the exterior above the top floor. The hotel catered to visiting cattlemen and served steaks in its restaurant across the street, but it also attracted politicians and actresses such as Sarah Bernhardt.

Mr. Perkins had financial trouble in the following years and had to sell the hotel.  The hotel was redecorated and re-opened by its new owners without the golden steer in 1908. However, when A. Everett Meyers leased the hotel in 1924, he returned the steer to its alcove. It remained there until 1957. At that point the hotel had been declared a fire hazard and the top floors were closed. The entire building was demolished in 1962. The golden steer is now stored (though not on display) at the Oregon Historical Society.

I love the message on the front of this card sent to Mrs. E. Thrall of Albany, Oregon in 1907:

Dear Mamma - All we girls are up on Council Crest. How are you? (???? T.)

At the time, Council Crest was the site of an amusement park. I'll post a card of that one of these days too.

For more on the Perkins Hotel and history of Portland, visit Vintage Portland.


  1. What a shame it's been demolished. Thanks for the interesting history.

  2. Interesting read. I always like my Portland Hotels and have yet to stay in one I didn't like. It would have been interesting to have seen the Perkins as long as it didn't smell of cow.



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