This last year saw dramatic improvements for one of Portland's largest and most recognizable African American historical landmarks.
The Golden West Hotel, 707 NW Everett at Broadway, now home to affordable housing owned by the Central City Concern, was once one of the only places in the early 20th century where Blacks could find an overnight room. It housed a Turkish-style bath and gymnasium that was home to the Golden West Athletic League; a barbershop owned by Waldo Bogle, and a restaurant and ice cream shop.
Though the Great Depression caused the demise of the once-great meeting place for Portland's African Americans, the Central City Concern organized a group to recreate a historical display that had fallen into ruin since it was originally created in the 1990s.
The building is now adorned with several plaques, telling the personal history of the building and many of the denizens that used the Golden West's unique services. Guided by both visual and auditory explanations of the building's history, any passers-by can hear narrators telling the story of Portland's Black past.
Now, the exhibit is also online, available to view and hear at http://www.centralcityconcern.org/golden-west-intro.html.
The plaques were made possible with help from curator Dr. Jacqueline Peterson Loomis, the Golden West Advisory Committee that included Golden West Proprietor W.G. Allen's descendents Anthony Allen and Nicole Allen, as well as a number of community members such as Will Bennett, Michael Chappie Grice, Richard Bogle Jr. and others.
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