The White Eagle Cafe & Saloon

The White Eagle Saloon was considered the place to be for men from all over the world who worked on the docks. It wasn't just the thirst of alcohol that kept them coming back. The White Eagle Saloon depicted much of the seedier side of frontier life in the 1900s.

Two Polish immigrants, Barney Soboleski and William Hryszko, opened the White Eagle in 1905 to offer other Polish immigrants a place of after-work recreation: pool, cigars, poker, liquor, beer and for the right price patrons could indulge in a brothel upstairs or an opium den downstairs. It earned the nickname "Bucket of Blood" from frequent brawls that erupted in and around the saloon. However, it didn't stop the trolley from dumping men at its doorstep until 1916 when Prohibition put a stop to legal drinking. Then, The White Eagle became the "it" place to get ice cream cones and those wanting a good stiff pop could still get the goods down in the basement, below the "soda shop."

Once Prohibition was lifted, The Eagle served hard-working, blue-collar clientele for over 35 years until the 70s and 80s when bands such as Pete Karnes Blooz Band, Driving Sideways, Paul DeLay, Terry Robb, Steve Bradley, Robert Cray and the Razorbacks began playing there. It achieved legendary status in Portland much like CBGBs once was (and always will be).

Now, The Eagle attracts more than just music lovers or potential hotel guests. Many who once worked there have never left. A "working girl" named Rose still wanders the upstairs rooms where the "white" brothel once was, weeping. She was the personal property of the saloon manager until one paying customer fell in love with her and wanted to take her away from her dangerous life. Rose wanted to go but was fearful of the saloon manager's reaction. So, she refused. Instead, her young lover confronted him and was nearly beaten to death. He again pleaded with Rose to run away with him, but she refused. In a fit of rage, he stabbed his beloved to death in one of the upstairs bedrooms. However, she didn't let death stop her. Many have reported being propositioned by a woman who could only be the ghost of the dead prostitute. Rose is not the only ghost still seen at The Eagle.

Spirits of black and Chinese women who disposed of their babies in the basement are said to clog the atmosphere. Men who were shanghaied in the underground tunnels still hang around after being dead for so long. The image of a man named Sam who worked at the saloon the length of his life has been seen, gazing from the second floor window. Perhaps he's watching over the establishment.

Sources: McMenamins and Ether Scribe's Famous Hauntings


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