Erickson’s Saloon For The Oregon Encyclopedia

Erickson’s Saloon, Portland.
 Courtesy Oregon Hist. Society Research Lib., photo file 1745

This was another honor! Few topics in the history of Portland have been subject to more mythologizing, hagiography and good old-fashioned hyperbole than August Erickson’s Saloon or, the Workingman’s Club. Separating fact from fiction was a difficult task. Most histories of the topic begin and end with Stewart Holbrook’s influential “Elbow Bending For Giants” which effectively defined the legend.

Getting to write this entry for the Oregon Encyclopedia made me feel like I “had arrived” when it comes to Oregon history. It remains a true honor.

The invaluable work of Doug Kenck-Crispin and the rest of the Kick Ass Oregon History crew helped introduce me to the reality behind the myth. In addition, the Oregon Historical Society had a photocopy of one of the only contemporary primary documents celebrating Erickson’s (prior to the publication of Holbrook) that I could find. That document is included below

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