Fun Fact #62: Was the Hotel Repose built for the 1905 Fair?

Half demolished three story wood frame building
This image posted inside Tavern and Pool taken in 1924 outside the Bodner family tailor shop courtesy George Bodner via Mike Ryerson. It is a rare image of Besaw’s in the background with the second floor intact.

The Hotel Repose, a working-man’s lodging, stood on NW 23rd and Savier from 1912 until 1968. The Bodner family moved into the building in 1915 and ran a tailoring shop on the first floor of the hotel. George Bodner was interviewed by Sylvia Frankel June 26, 2007, he had this to say about his home and neighborhood: 

At that time it was a very nice – not first class – but a nice, family neighborhood. On that corner of Savier and NW 23rd, across from Besaws, there was a new hotel called the Hotel Repose. And along 23rd Avenue , there were stores. There was a grocery next door and a hardware on the other…We lived in back of the shop. He had a good-sized tailor shop there. And in the back was a roomy apartment. And back of that we had a backyard with chickens. My father bought the shop. He came out in 1914 and he bought the shop about 1915. We were there until 1925.

 Link to Full Oregon Jewish Museum  Interview

The Hotel Repose was still new on the block when the Bodner’s arrived in 1914. In the building’s last years after the Hotel Repose closed was occupied by the Wizard of Odds furniture store on the first floor frontage at 1629 NW 23rd, a lawn mower repair shop on the side and a Chinese gambling hall was tucked in the rear of the structure. 

Half demolished three story wood frame building
Image Courtsey The Oregonian. September 20, 1968 p 32.

Despite the Sanborn footprint evidence that there was no hotel at the site in 1905, rumors persist that the hotel was built for the Lewis & Clark Exposition, or that it was a building moved in 1904 from a site cleared for the Exposition. As it turns out there was a bit of truth to all three of these narratives. This history detective believes that the Hotel Repose was a repurposed section of the North Portland Hotel built in 1905 at the foot of NW 22nd. A significant segment possibly half of the  of the North Portland Hotel, was moved seven blocks from the corner of Guild’s Avenue and Suffolk, and  transformed into the Hotel Repose. That also explains in part why the new building in 1912 appears to be an out of date design. The Oregon Journal reported on that relocation while covering the destruction of the quaintly named desolate structure. Davis Industrial Products had the building demolished to create an employee parking lot.  

1910 Federal Census

The North Portland Hotel in 1909 proprietor J.S. Bruck was charging $1/week for furnished rooms, hot and cold water and bath. Most of the residents worked for the neighboring saw mills, a few for the iron works rolling mill of the Pacific Steel & Hardware Company, the streetcar, an odd farmer, miner and sailor for good measure.  The Federal Census of 1910 lists over 105 boarders in the 89 rooms at the North Portland Hotel at 734 Suffolk Street. There was a Saloon in the hotel operated by J. E Brink.  Adolph Wildman purchased the 3-story hotel in 1909 for $25,000 from the J. M. Wright Estate. The hotel and saloon were offered up for sale again on Christmas in 1910. The last historic record of the North Portland Hotel was in the 1912 Polk directory listing the property manager as the widow Mrs. Charlotte Borglund.