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Seeking an "African American Historical Districts Exploratory Advisory Committee" for the City of Portland, Oregon.Contact us for more info:

Today's African-American community in Portland dates back to the beginnings of the transcontinental railroad. Many black workers made Portland their home in order to have access to Union Station and jobs on the railroad.

In the early year's of this century, the Golden West Hotel offered blacks the best, and only, hostelry in Oregon. Connected with the hotel is a well appointed barber shop owned by Waldo Bogle; the finest ice cream and candy shop west of Chicago, serving its patrons all kinds of delicacies and soft drinks under the constant supervision of A.G. Green, the proprietor; a well appointed restaurant serving all kinds of dishes. Wo Gong, manager; a well furnished club room with Turkish baths and gymnasium for the Golden West Athletic league. Under the management of Geo. P. Moore; all provide for the amusement and satisfaction of the guest.

Until Oregon's public accommodations law was passed in 1953, this was the only hotel in Portland catering to African Americans. Built in 1906 for railroad men away from home, it soon became a social center, especially on Sunday afternoons. With the Mt. Olivet Baptist Church just across the street, the Golden West Hotel hotel drew church goers to its restaurant, billiards room, ice cream parlor and candy shop. There was a thriving saloon, too (though perhaps not after church!). The barber shop was operated from 1913 to 1930 by Waldo Bogle, grandfather of former television news anchor and Portland City Commissioner Dick Bogle. Closed during the Depression, the hotel now serves the homeless mentally ill. Interpretive historical displays are on either side of the entrance.