In 1912, Portland had been put on the map as a great place to visit, particularly after the “Lewis and Clark Centennial and American Pacific Exposition and Oriental Fair” usually known as the “Lewis and Clark Expo” of 1905. As throngs came by train and a few may have puttered in on the fancy newly more available horseless carriage, many a weary traveler was in need of a place to hang their hat.
That very year, a special hotel was built to meet that need. The “Grand Lady of 4th Avenue,” the Multnomah Hotel was built with 700 rooms- the largest lodging option in the entire Pacific Northwest. A case could be made that it is the most important visitor’s institution in Portland history. For generations now, the hotel lobby has been an important gathering place for visitors and locals alike.
Throughout those many years, many important people have rested there. In the lobby is a list of notables, including a long streak of presidents and other celebrities from Charles Lindberg to Elvis Presley. Maybe the most notable was actual royalty when in 1926 the Queen of Romania held a grand reception.
For funsies, a guy named Silas Christofferson flew a plane off the roof of the hotel in a historic flight off of a very short wooden runway. It was in conjunction with the opening of the hotel in 1912. The stunt was replicated in 1995 when the hotel reopened.
Today, The Multnomah Hotel is part of the Hilton Group, and is an Embassy Suites location. The newest factor changing the character of the bottom level is that Mother’s bistro has taken over a huge space on the East side of the hotel. This particular blogger would put Mother’s toe-to-toe with any other breakfast place in the world. Even if not staying at the embassy suites, it’s worth it to enjoy the historic lobby and get breakfast or at least something baked and gooey at Mother’s.
Images courtesy PDX history.com.