Beerchaser of the Quarter – John Terry – Historian and Columnist

A Portland Treasure – Historian John Terry

The intent of this blog is to periodically recognize individuals who facilitate this tour of Portland pubs.  It has been too long since one has been recognized and former Oregonian columnist, John Terry is belatedly recognized for the first quarter of 2012

John authored a column for many years on Oregon History in The OregonianTo the consternation of many, including thebeerchaser, earlier this year, the paper decided to discontinue what had become a weekly Sunday feature.  After sending John an e-mail lauding his contribution over the years, he agreed to meet me for lunch where I quizzed him about the history of Portland taverns and pubs.  He was a fascinating and comprehensive resource for thebeerchaser tour.

Jim Westwood – Another John Terry and George Washington Admirer

To give one an idea of the consternation of many of Terry’s fans, see the Oregon Live excerpt below from another Portland amateur historian and celebrity, of sorts – Portland lawyer and former Captain of the Portland State GE College Bowl team in 1965.

Jim Westwood, reflecting the eloquence which has made him one of Oregon’s leading appellate lawyers expressed righteous indignation to the publisher:

“When The Sunday Oregonian discontinued John Terry’s weekly articles on Oregon history, I sighed and told myself I’d get used to turning to something else first thing every Sunday morning. How wrong I was. How long has it been now, a couple of months? It’s an eternity. I miss John Terry’s lively, superbly researched articles.

I miss them desperately. I’m frustrated and angry that The Oregonian could have taken them away without considering making them at least a monthly feature. Sunday will never be the same, and it hit me again this morning. In this season of rebirth, I hope The Oregonian will resurrect John Terry and his wonderful works on the history of our state and its people.”

John regaled me with brief stories of many of the taverns with historic roots in Portland that are still operating:

The White Eagle Saloon    The Slammer    Horse Brass Pub    Kells’    Claudias’

Still Open for a Brewski!

He also told me about the once world-famous, Erickson’s Saloon, founded in 1895, which occupied two stories of an entire block between 3rd and 4th on Burnside and was reputed to have the largest bar in the world (400 feet long…).  Indeed, evidence of the saloon can still be found as the photo below shows: 

The Stories Behind this Wall….

And Bertie’s Montgomery Crystal Gardens near Portland State, which had nickel beers on Tuesday nights and Jan’s Streets of Paris near Hawthorne and Division on the East Side that had a New Orleans theme and ………..

One can still learn a lot about historic Oregon by doing a search on Oregon Live.  For example, John Terry’s column from August 2011, on the Portland Hotel, opened in the 1890’s on what is now Pioneer Courthouse Square:

“The finished product (costing $1 million) boasted 326 sleeping rooms, steam heat, gas and electric lights, restaurant, ballroom, bar, sitting rooms, dining rooms, sewing rooms, reception room, ladies parlors, public restrooms, public telephones, news and cigar stand, Western Union office, elevators, offices and quarters for live-in staff.

Eleven U.S. presidents were among its guests, starting with Benjamin Harrison in 1891. Virtually every luminary – actor, musician, politician, writer, tycoon – who blew through town put up there.”              

Demolished in 1951 for a Parking Lot….

So join thebeerchaser in a toast to John Terry…or better yet, echo Jim Westwood’s complaint to the Editor of The Oregonian about the paper’s error in discontinuing John Terry’s excellent column.

A Toast to Columnist John Terry!

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