Saturday, December 29, 2007

Bishop's House, downtown Portland

The center, top floor windows of this building in downtown Portland caught my eye first. Then I noticed that center embellishment at the bottom of the large, arched center window, topped with a cross. Finally, when I read Bishop's House on the building, just above the center awning, I got even more interested.


Naturally, I searched the Internet for information to share with you, not only about the building but also about the restaurant. I cannot explain the differences in the name of the bishop who supposedly built and lived here for a short time. Also, at the Portland Archdiocese's Web site, I found one of the names spelled as Gross, not Goss. And get this--Gross wasn't made bishop until 1885, while Blanchet (the other name, as you'll read) was still bishop until some point in 1880. If anyone knows more facts, please share them with us. I plan to go back at some point to see if there is a plaque on the building, too.

From My Travel Guide dot com: Bishop's House, SW Stark Street, (between Southwest Second and Third avenues), Portland, OR

Catholic Archbishop Blanchet originally lived in this house, which was built in 1879. The Gothic Revival-style building had divine beginnings, but through the years it was also the location of a speakeasy, architectural studio, a sign company and is currently the home for the Al-Amir Lebanese Restaurant. This ornate structure has been well preserved and boasts eight arched windows framed with elaborately carved moldings. The light brown exterior and red trim blend in well with the other historic buildings in this part of downtown area and is a sound example of Portland's historic past.


From Wikipedia: Bishop's House is a historic building in downtown, Portland, Oregon. It is in the city's Yamhill Historic District. Built, 1879.

When the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese was moved to Portland from Oregon City, Archbishop William Goss constructed the Bishop's House as his official residence. Originally, the building contained a church library, the Archbishop's living quarters, and an insurance agent's office. Despite the presence of a cathedral next door, the immediate area was in decline, and Goss moved out only after a year.

For a time the Bishop's House hosted a Chinese Tong society, rumored to be the source of phone taps in the nearby former Police Bureau Headquarters Building. Between 1911 and 1915, an architectural workshop led by A.E. Doyle and Morris H. Whitehouse met in the building.

A major renovation took place in 1965, and Bishop's House was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974. The building today serves as offices and as a Lebanese restaurant.


You can click on Al Amir's Web site here. I've not been there yet, but the menu certainly looks interesting. I'll have to ask around to see if I can get any personal experiences with it.


WendyB said...

Fascinating history. Good find!

Annie said...

Hello Lynette,

Your Bishop's House looks far more elegant than the downtown restaurant I show on my blog today. But still, there's something faintly similar about the two photos, I think.

dot said...

A very interesting place.
Yesterday as I was taking my walk and thinking I started thinking about your picture and wondering why there were no people in it. Is it not a busy place?

Andrea said...

Interesting post. I love the reflections of the trees in the windows. Great shot.

Jim said...

What a great looking building and rich history.

GMG said...

Great post Lynnete!
The building is quite interesting, the history amazing, and a Lebanese restaurant makes me hungry (even after all the stuff I've been eating these days...)!
Wish you a very happy, healthy and successful 2008!

Dan said...

Great post lynette. I share your interest in old, historic buildings. I find the buildings, their history, and the lives of the people who lived in them facinating.

Lilli & Nevada said...

Great building and i love the reflection of the trees in the window

Dick said...

Interesting and beautiful building.