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Oregon Historical Photo: Portland's Silver Saloon


Silver Saloon, Portland, late 1800s. Drinking establishments generally served men only: loggers, dock workers, sailors, miners, fishermen and farmers.

Silver Saloon, Portland, late 1800s. Drinking establishments generally served men only: loggers, dock workers, sailors, miners, fishermen and farmers.

The Oregon Historical Society. #ba017751

Every week, Oregon Experience shares a photo highlighting the state’s diverse, exciting history. All photos are courtesy of The Oregon Historical Society.

Oregon Territory’s first brewery opened in 1852. Immigrant braumeisters quickly built an empire based on the region’s high-quality hops and water. Workingmen flocked to saloons to enjoy alcohol in the biergarten tradition.

After Oregon enacted Prohibition in 1916, breweries sold nonalcoholic beverages like root beer, but they struggled financially. Even after Prohibition was repealed in 1933, local brewing failed to rebound.

In 1985, the Oregon legislature passed a bill allowing beer and food to be made and served under one roof, the first time in nearly 70 years. That kickstarted a vigorous craft-beer and brewpub revolution, driven by visionary brewmasters and microbrew enthusiasts.

To learn more about the history of the local beer scene, watch the Oregon Experience documentary “Beervana.

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