Manufacturer: Unknown German Pottery
User: Portland Hotel – Portland, Oregon
Distributor: Burley Company – Chicago
Date of oyster bowl: circa 1898 -1920s
Notes: In 1882, Henry Villard, president of the Northern Pacific Railroad, commissioned New York architects McKim, Mead & White to design an upscale hotel for travelers arriving in Portland on Northern Pacific passenger trains. Construction began on the hotel in 1883 but stopped in 1884 when a national financial panic forced Villard to resign as president of the railroad. A group of 150 Portland business leaders formed a syndicate in 1888 to complete the construction project. The six-story, H-shape, 326-room Portland Hotel opened on April 7, 1890. It's location, at 721 SW 6th Avenue and Morrison Street, was just west of the Courthouse and the Post Office. The Portland Hotel contained a large dining room, ballroom and bar. For several generations it was the center for Portland's upper- and upper-middle-class social life. By 1914, a couple of more elegant hotels had been built in downtown Portland, and The Portland Hotel was no longer the social center it had been. In 1944, the Meier & Frank Department Store, located nearby, bought the hotel and operated it until 1951. The Portland closed August 15, 1951, and was demolished and replaced with a parking garage for Meier & Frank customers. The parking garage was torn down in 1984 and replaced with an urban public space known as Pioneer Square.
During the years of its operation The Portland Hotel had a number of crested china services. Most of these contain variations on the hotels cross within a shield, within a garter belt logo.
Distributor Burley & Company supplied oyster plates to The Portland which are crested with a green garter belt logo. The design for these bowl-shape plates was patented in 1900 by Burley. They had them made in England and Germany. The German plates made for The Portland were produced before the patent was issued.
An early Portland menu lists about seven oyster options "In Season." In Maryland the oyster season use to be from September to the end of April, months with 'r' in their spelling. When fresh oysters were available they were advertised as "Oysters 'R' in season."
For additional info:
Portland Hotel by Maddock Pottery, John Maddock & Sons, and GDA Limoges
Portand Hotel 2 by Maddock Pottery and Scammell China
Portland Hotel 3 by GDA Limoges
Portland Hotel 4 by William Guerin & Company
Portland Hotel 5 by Syracuse China
Portland Hotel 7 by Unknown Pottery
Portland Hotel 8 by Haviland & Company
Portland Hotel 9 by Tressemann & Vogt
Author and photos: Larry Paul