The West Linn Inn was built in 1918 by the Crown Zellerbach Corporation. Stories differ about the original purpose of the place. One story says that it was built to provide homes for the mill employees as well as other workers in West Linn. Another story says it was built to house strikebreakers that were brought in when mill employees tried to unionize.
This postcard shows the inn from Oregon City, probably around 1950 (CardCow.com)
As the town grew and the workers found homes in the area, the building’s 85 rooms were opened to the public as hotel rooms. The large lobby had terrazzo marble floors and a huge stone fireplace, and there was a bowling alley in the basement. A long veranda overlooked the river with views of Willamette Falls, the mills, and Oregon City.
West Linn Inn as seen from Oregon City, date unknown (Bolton Walking Tour)
The hotel shut down in July 1972, although dining and banquet service continued to be offered for another few years. But eventually the owners realized they could either spend a lot of money renovating the old building or shut the place down. The West Linn Inn closed its doors in the early 1980s and was soon demolished.
The photo below shows the intersection of 5th and Main in Oregon City with the West Linn Inn in the background at right. This photo was probably taken from the railroad tracks above the tunnel on McLoughlin Blvd.
Oregon City and the West Linn Inn, c1939 (Oregon State Archives)
The next photo shows the same scene about 20 years later. This one appears to have been taken from the bluff behind High Street in Oregon City.
Oregon City and the West Linn Inn, c1960 (This Week in OC blog)
Compare the photo above with the photo below, taken in 2012. The hotel has been gone for 30 years and many of the buildings in Oregon City are gone or significantly altered from the 1960 photograph.
View of West Linn from Oregon City in 2012
Former location of West Linn Inn:
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