The Golden West Hotel was a vibrant place of employment and socializing for Portland’s African American community in the early 1900s. Display panels and audio narrative detailing this history can be found on the W. Broadway side of the building Click here to download the Golden West Hotel Historic Display Panels–Electronic download the Golden West Hotel Historic Display Panels–Electronic Verisons with audio|includes JPG-PDF-MP3-DOCS files
“[My grandfather] saw there was this Black community that mainly worked for the railroad and there was no place for the Blacks to stay….In 1905 he purchased a building and in 1906 opened up the Golden West which was the largest Black-owned hotel west of the Mississippi.”
- Anthony I. Allen
This permanent exterior exhibit, installed in 2009, tells a social and ethnic story of the vibrant African-American community in Portland in the early 1900s and the successes and challenges of its residents. The exhibit – featuring six panels and a soundtrack– can be seen and heard by the public on both sides of the Golden West Building, 707 NW Everett at Broadway.
“ Theater Draws Color Line ”
W.D. Allen and his son Robert, (latter a Senior at Grant High School), attended a performance at the Orpheum Theater on Tuesday evening. On entering the usher told them to go upstairs. Mr. Allen then inquired if there were not seats downstairs. The usher said there were, but that Colored people were prohibited from occupying them. Mr. Allen and his son ignored the usher and took seats downstairs. Later, they were approached by the manager who is quoted as having said: “Gentlemen, I would like to see you out in the lobby.” Mr. Allen: “I don’t care to go out there, and I don’t care to be molested. I came to see the show.””
- Portland Advocate, October 5, 1929
Online Exhibit Celebrates the rich history of the Golden West, the former center of Portland’s African-American social and business life in the first decades of the twentieth century.
“Had The Biggest Gambling Estabishement On The West”
1906-1931When Black entrepreneur W.D. Allen launched the Golden West Hotel in 1906, Portland was booming. The completion of the transcontinental railroad, the opening of Union Station and the Lewis and Clark Centennial Fair triggered a flood of visitors and workers to the city’s bustling North End. The Golden West was designed to serve the Black railway porters, cooks, barbers and waiters recruited by the major railroads. It provided “all the conveniences of home” for Black workers denied accommodation in Portland’s white owned hotels, and was a center of African American social life until the hotel’s closure in 1931. Patrons could get a haircut and a shave at Waldo Bogle’s Barbershop, sweets at A.G. Green’s ice cream parlor and candy shop, and relax in George Moore’s Golden West Athletic Club featuring a Turkish bath and gymnasium. In its heyday, the Golden West provided an overnight home for prominent black entertainers, athletes, and civic leaders such as Illinois Congressman Oscar DePriest and labor organizer A. Philip Randolph. Some even “retired” there, including Portland Advocate newspaper founder and famous Portland Hotel “hat check man,” E.D. Cannady. -Click-Map-Below-
The Golden West Hotel closed in 1931, a victim of the national economic Depression. The “New Golden West Hotel” opened in 1933 but closed in 1935. Other closures plagued the hotel until 1943, when it reopened as the Broadmoor Hotel, surviving until 1984 as low cost housing. Through the efforts of the building’s present owner, Central City Concern, and with the assistance of the Portland Development Commission, the building has been rehabilitated and the name restored to recognize the Golden West Hotel’s significant role in the history of Portland.Cuarator: Graphic Design: Ildiko Toth, SERA Architects, Inc.
Historical Consultants: Cathy Galbraith, Architectural Heritage Center, Inc.
Dr. Darrell Millner, Distinguished Professor@Portland State University. Advisory Committee Members: Nicole Allen, Billy Anfield, Will Bennett, Michael “Chappie” Grice, Bill Hart LOCAL COLOR IS NOW ONLINE Will, In the future, please have anyone interested in getting copies of “Local Color” or in having a public showing of Local Color to contact me directly. We have a limited number of copies of the program and want to make sure they are distributed fairly.
Please email me with your request for copies including a description of who will get the copies and how they will be used.
Jeff Douglas Vice President of Local Production
JDouglas@opb.org Thank you | OPB-TV JDouglas@opb.org Thank you | OPB-TV LOCAL COLOR IS NOW ONLINE Will, This would not have happened without your perseverance and dedication. The exhibit does a great job telling the story of the Golden West and the broader historical context of the African-American experience in Portland in the early 20th century. Thanks. N. ¨ Nicholas T. Starin, City Planner
¨ Historic Resources Program & Central Portland Team
¨ Portland Bureau of Planning & Sustainability
¨ 1900 SW 4th Avenue, Ste. 7100
¨ Portland OR 97201-5380
¨ firstname.lastname@example.org Click here to download the Golden West Hotel Historic Display Panels–Electronic download the Golden West Hotel Historic Display Panels–Electronic Verisons with audio|includes JPG-PDF-MP3-DOCS files