My walk from the Max to work takes me along Davis Street. I’ve walked the length of sidewalk between Second and Third Avenues more than 100 times and never looked to my left at just the right moment. Due to some welding that was happening on the side of the street I usually walk on, today I crossed street and I spied a doorway. “How long has that been there?” I wondered to myself.
It looked open, so I wandered in. I followed the brick path through a brick corridor…
…and ended up in a charming courtyard.
There was a handy sign to let me know that the Merchants’ Hotel was built in 1885 and not only was it a fancy hotel, it had one of the first hydraulic elevators in Portland. Between World Wars, the hotel housed a number of Japanese businesses, including the Japanese-Oregon daily newspaper. The sign does not go on to say that with the coming of World War II all of those Japanese businesses would be abandoned as the Japanese were “relocated”, but ideally you know that story.
Excited to have found a nook of history on a day that only comes around every four years, I turned around and happily continued my trek to work.