Friday, February 28, 2014

Milwaukee Tavern (Portland)

West Burnside and 20th (1967)
Milwaukee Tavern

Location: 1535 West Burnside, Portland, Oregon, USA

Opened/Closed: 1960s

This account is from the 1999 Portland Gay History Walking Tour:

The Milwaukee Tavern, 1535 W. Burnside.  This storefront (address since renumbered), once a tavern, was fingered in the 1964 vice reports of Chief of Police McNamara as being a lesbian hangout.  The reports noted that it was frequented almost entirely by women who “dress like men, act like men, and are believed to be from areas outside Portland.”  Owner Edna Jordal was a widow at the time of the Portland City Council hearings in December 1964.  She had worked previously at the Transfusion Inn, a notorious lesbian dive located on Southwest Front almost at water level.  The only employees at the Milwaukee Tavern were women.  One, the manager, was identified in the records as “Miss Lewis” who had “served eight years in the service with an honorable discharge,” and the other a young woman of 22 who moonlighted in the evenings following her day job at Meier & Frank.

For those who are interested in these things, there was also a lesbian bar called the Milwaukee Tavern in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

The Walking Tour site mentions a few other lesbian sites we'll get around to posting about eventually. Meanwhile, check out the site itself. Interesting stuff.

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