Old School in Oregon
I had heard about these legendary buildings turned into modern cafes and restaurants all over Oregon, but I never really looked into it until fairly recently when someone I know was going to Portland and I wanted to recommend something cool.
Enter the McMenamins. These guys basically invented the concept of a brew pub. They started great pubs all over Washington and Oregon that are family friendly and the tradition grew from there. They bought up old historic properties that were falling into disrepair and turned them into something new and interesting. They also started the idea of movie theaters where you could sit in a comfortable chair and enjoy a nice beer and something to eat while you watched your movie.
The first two pictures are from the Old St. Francis school, a catholic school building from the early 20th century that has been turned into hotel, pub, movie theater, bakery, and best part – public school! This one is located in Bend, Oregon. They maintained a lot of the integral features of the property – there is still art on the walls done by schoolchildren as well as other school memorabilia.
The Kennedy School is located in Portland (next 2 pictures). It’s an old schoolhouse-turned hotel as well. I think that one of the coolest things is that they keep the original chalkboards in the rooms! One of my friends made a visit to “Detention”, which, as it turns out, is the cigar bar downstairs. They’ve also got an in-house brewery so you don’t have to go far for a great beer.
I just think that it’s amazing that they take old falling apart buildings and turn them into something new, interesting and vibrant. I think it’s a shame that they’ve only done projects in the Pacific Northwest. I’ve always been interested in doing something akin to this so it’s great to be able to look to these guys for inspiration.