A large number of the 87,000 black people in Oregon can trace their heritage back to this hotel. For many black people this hotel is why they are in Oregon today. 100 years ago their Great Grand Fathers and Grandfathers worked there and for a few of us so did our Grandmothers. When my Grandfather came to Portland in 1935 he was able to work there for 2 weeks learning the “Boot Black Hustle” (Shine Shoes) He was filling in for someone else while they were away. He made as much as $2 per day there at 10 cents a shine and he felt he was rich. He use to say a man could feed himself well with that hustle and he did not have to worry about cops.
These men in the carriage are outside the Portland Hotel in 1895. L.L. Hawkins is at the reins on the occasion of the University of California men’s chorus visit to Portland. L.L. was a member of the first class to graduate from the University. The date is from the original print of the photograph that included the exact date printed on the front of the image.