Story Image

The Ladies' Orchestra in Erickson's Cafe and Concert Hall, 1905

Image: City of Portland Archives, A2004-001.231.jpg (Used by permission)

A Laborer's Retreat

The history of Erickson's Saloon

Finnish immigrant, August Erickson, owned a whole city block of bars in Portland, just north of Burnside, between 2nd and 3rd. Collectively known as Erickson's Saloon, the establishments featured a physical bar that was 684-feet long. These bars featured a variety of entertainment and cuisine for his clientele: the sailors, loggers, and miners who passed through Portland on their way to and from jobs all over the Northwest. The bars began their decline with the onset of Prohibition in 1920 and Erickson's death in 1925.

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As Told By...

Doug Kenck-Crispin

Resident Historian, home of the podcast series Kick Ass Oregon History

Website: Kick Ass Oregon History

Doug Kenck-Crispin is the Ribald Resident Historian from He researches, writes and co-produces the bi-weekly podcast series Kick Ass Oregon History, recently featured in the Portland Mercury, Portland Monthly and The Oregonian. He has a BA in History, and is nearing completion of his MA in Public History, with an emphasis on the History of the Pacific Northwest (Portland State University). A lifelong resident of the Pacific Northwest, Doug enjoys a good yarn — the more outlandish and unseemly the better — especially when they are true!

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