Slabtown Fun Fact #30: The American Inn a small piece of a historic hotel saved

Text on Ad: The American Inn Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition Portland, Oregon. The Only Hotel Within Exposition Grounds.
The American Inn (Courtesy Normal Gholston) A view with Guild’s Lake in the foreground.











Yes the American Inn Condominiums were build out of materials from the American Inn

The images I have come across over the years are like the one above.  I thought it was possible that the center section was saved and moved to NW Northrup.  I only recently found an advertisment below for the hotel and realized that the hotel was a much more massive building than I had previously thought.

John Karlyle had a permit out for a new three-story “flats” structure on July 25, 1906-December 22, 1906 permit for 691 Northrup street. What was exciting was the hand scrawled note on the back of the permit card.” This bldg., is built with material from the American inn if the fair grounds.” More curious perhaps was the note on the other side of the card “This man I had arrested for doing work with out license.” The permit had no name of the plumber just “hired [his] owner.” Pretty exciting that a hundred years ago a city inspector could have a contractor arrested.

The advertisement below right is from the Sunday Oregonian August 26, 1906 for a “high-class Hotel” situated at 689-691-6930695 Northrup Street to be completed next month. The drawing looks far more akin to the American Inn than the reality on the street today. With this drawing in hand in the field you can see where many of the decretive front façade columns and porch features were once attached. The stucco patches are clearly visible and the doors to nowhere on the second and third floors would have once been for access to the former porches.


Oregonian Ad for the completion of the Hotel on NW Northrup
Oregonian Ad for the completion of the Hotel on NW Northrup August 26, 1906 p 18- the address of the agent at the bottom and the 1930s change of address and no referance to the American Inn  made this ad a hidden treasure.
"The American Inn, World's Fair Grounds, Portland Oregon" The Pacific Monthly-Advertising Section
“The American Inn, World’s Fair Grounds, Portland Oregon” The Pacific Monthly-Advertising Section 1905











The permit card was enough to close the case.



Slabtown Fun Fact #17: Petition to Shut Besaw’s Saloon

There is a saloon pictured. The men pee right at the bar-there is a grill along its length. Many of these men have mustaches. Text" "The Oak Besaw & Linklater Props. Cor. 23rd And Savier St Portland ORE.

Wait who is trying to shut down Besaw’s?  Petition to Shut Besaw’s Saloon!

Yes 3,144 Portlander’s signed a petition to close Besaw’s in May 1905.  Voters wanted all bars closed that were near the 1905 Fair Grounds.  It was this movement that led to prohibition.  This fun fact was more relevant when there was a fight to save the building.


Besaws c. 1938 Note the second level & tower was still intact- well now sadly the entire building is gone.
My favorite detail about this image is the drain along the bar so you never need to leave your drink alone to empty your bladder.



1880  According to Portland Maps the building on the northwest corner of N.W. 23rd Ave. and Savier St. was built.

1903 Besaw/ The Oaks (Saloon) 755 North Savier  (this is now part of Tavern and Pool northeast corner of N.W. 23rd Ave. and Savier St.

1904 –  Besaw & Liberty (George Besaw Jr. and Patrick Liberty) 761 Savier (saloon)

1905 – Besaw & Liberty (George Besaw Jr. and Patrick Liberty) 761 Savier (saloon) 765 Savier (restaurant)

1906-9  Besaw & Liberty (George Besaw Jr. and Patrick Liberty) 761 (saloon) Savier    761.5 (restaurant)

1910 Besaw & Liberty 761 Savier

1911-15 Besaw & Liberty (George D. Besaw & Medrick Liberty) 761 Savier (alteration permit in 1912)

1916 –closed/vacant

1917-18 – Besaw & Liberty Soft Drinks 761 Savier

1921-22 – Besaws (Confectionary)

1925-1930 – Solo Club Restaurant

1931-1933 – George Besaw Jr. Restaurant

1932 – Building permit for a card room approved

  1. 1967-1972 Besaw’s Restaurant 2301 NW Savier St. Clyde Besaw

1973- 1987 Vacant

1988-May 2015  Besaw’s Café 2301 Savier

Jan. 2016 Besaw’s restaurant managed by Cana Flug reopens at NW 21st and Raleigh

Jan. 2017 CE John demolishes historic structure at NW23rd and Savier


National Impacting Events

Lewis & Clark Centennial 1905

Oregon Prohibition Period 1914 -1933

National Prohibition 1919-1933

Great Depression 1929

Polk Research

1901-02 none white or restaurants or saloons

1903-  Saloon  Besaw George 755 Savier

1904- Besaw & Liberty 761 Savier saloon

George Besaw and Patrick Liberty

1905 Besaw & Liberty 761 Savior saloon

Besaw and Liberty rest. 765 Savier saloon 761 Savier

1906 Besaw George (Besaw & Liberty) re. 761.5 Savier

Besaw & Liberty (saloon 761)

1907-08 saloon Besaw & Liberty 761 Savier (no rest)

1909 Besaw George (Besaw & Liberty) rest 761.5 Savier

Besaw and liberty saloon 761 Savier

1910 – none rs. None rest. Saloon Besaw & Liberty 761 Savier

1911 –Besaw George D b. 761.5 Savier

Besaw Geo E (Besaw & Liberty) h. 761.5 Savier

Besaw & Liberty (Geo E Bewsaw Medrick Liberty saloon 761 Savier

1912-Besaw & Liberty 761 Savier

1913- Besaw Geo lab b 366 21st N

Besaw Geo D (Besaw & Liberty) h 366 21st N

Besaw & Liberty (Geo D Besaw Medrick Liberty) saloon 761 savier

1914 Besaw Geo D (Emma) (Besaw & Liberty) h. 366 21st N

Besaw & Liberty (Geo D. Besaw Merdrick Liberty) Saloon 761 Savier

Liberty, Medrick (Olive) h 815 Savier

1915 – Bewsaw Geo D (Emma F) (Besaw & Liberty) h. 366 22nd N

Besaw & Liberty saloon 761 Savier

[Oregon Prohibition starts 4 years earlier than national both last until 1933]

1916 – Besaw Geo D (Emma F) h 366 21st n

No Saloon

No Rest

No Soft Drink


No Saloon

No Rest

Besaw & Liberty Soft Drinks 761 Savier

Besaw still at 366 21st n


Besaw & Liberty Soft Drinks 761 Savier (366 N 21st)

1919 (no directory that year)

1920 –No listing soft drinks

Liberty Merdrick (Olive) carmn h 815 Savier


no rest

no soft drink

Besaw Geo (Emma) conf 761 Savior Home 366 21st N

(Stands for Confectioners-Retail)


Besaw Geo soft drinks 761 Savior


Besaw Geo (Emma) soft drinks 761 Savier h 366 21st n

(Liberty Medrick wife Olive lives at 732 Thurman)


Besaw-Geo (Emma- Solo Club Restr ) h 366 21st n

Liberty Medrick (Olive) 732 Thurman

Solo Club Restaurant 761 Savier


No Besaw

Solo Club Restaurant 761 Savier


Solo Club Restaurant 761 Savier

Besaw Clyde C r 366 21st N

-Geo (Emma F) Solo Club Restr h 366 21st N


Besaw Clyde C. opr E E Daily r366 21st n

Geo D (Emma F.; Solo Club Restr) h 366 21st N

Solo Club Rest 761 Savier


Besaw Clyde C opr EE Daily r 366 [31] N

Geo D (Emma S) (Solo Club Restr) h 366 21st n

Solo Club Restaurant 761 Savier


Besaw Clyde C serviceman EE Daily r 366 N 21st

Besaw Geo (Emma) Solo Club h. 366 21st

No Solo Club in rest


Besaw Geo (Emma) restr 761 Savier h 366 21st n

Besaw Geo 761 Savier {under Restaurants}


Besaw Geo (Emma) rest 761 Savier h 366 21st n


Besaw Clyde C (June) cook

Geo D (Emma) restr 761 Savier h 366 21st n

Besaw 761 Savier



no directory published


Besaw Clyde (Irene) (Besaw’s Restaurant) SW 6790 Canby

Besaw’s Restaurant 2301 NW Savier St.


Besaw’s Restaurant 2301 NW Savier St.

Owned by Clyde and Mrs. Irene Besaw


Chester Besaw mech Columbia Body & Equip h 1715 NW 23rd Ave

No other Besaw last names in phonebook

No rest listing


no Besaw


(reverse directory) 2301 Vacant


(reverse directory) 2301 Vacant


No rest. Besaw


Library does not have


No last names Besaw

No rest.


(reverse directory) 2301 NW Savior St. No Return

1988 library does not have


Besaw’s Café [& Beesaw’s Café]2301 Savier