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Monday, May 27, 2013

Help Save Bottler's Crypt (A Memorial Day Post)

I plumb forgot the post I had lined up for today--but fortunately, it's still today!  Nearby my home is a cool old pioneer cemetery called Lone Fir.  I was wandering around over there a while back and came across this wonderfully decayed old structure:



On one side was a most curious placard.  It reads:
"This ruin is the mausoleum of George F. Bottler.  George F. Bottler was interred here in 1865 by his brother, a Portland fireman.  He erected the crypt and lovingly memorialized his brother with a 6-foot marble slab reading, "Gently his ashes shall rest."  The mausoleum, now crumbling in the oldest part of Lone Fir, is one of the first structures built in the cemetery." 
All interesting but how, you might ask, is this relevant to a beer blog?  Read on:
"Many people may not be familiar with the early history of craft brewing in Oregon.  Portland's first brewery, the Liberty Brewing Company, was founded by Henry Saxer in 1852.  In 1856, George F. Bottler established the second brewery, naming it City Brewery.  In 1864, Henry Weinhard took over Bottler's interest in the business; Bottler died the following year.  Weinhard continued expanding the brewery until it was the largest in the Pacific Northwest."
The end of the story is a little sadder--but perhaps the beer geek community can help.  The final bit from the placard explains:
"Bottler did not have any other family in this country and, consequently, no one remains to help pay the expenses of restoring this decaying monument.  Metro [the owner of the cemetery] is working with Robert Dortignacq, an architect for historic structures, to repair it.  At this time, no funds are in place for restoration; grant funds or other funding will need to be secured.  Until then the mausoleum is fenced off for safety.  Lone Fir Cemetery is listed on the Department of Interior register for historic places.  For more information, call Metro at 503-797-1850."
I wonder if maybe an area brewer would have interest in holding a fundraiser.  One dollar for every bottle of Bottler's Ale goes to restoration?  Surely something can be done.

6 comments:

Pete Dunlop said...

There was some kind of gathering at Bottler's memorial a couple of weeks back. Art Larrance told me about it. I believe it was beer people. I'll ask him what it was all about.

Jeff Alworth said...

Huh, that's interesting. Not only did I hear nothing about it (wholly unsurprising), but the Google records no evidence of such an event (much more surprising). Sounds good, though. I don't know why, but preserving the crypt of an obscure long-dead member of Oregon's brewing heritage somehow strikes me as valuable.

Pete Dunlop said...

They are getting the funds together and intend to remove the old structure and replace it with one that is newly designed and appropriate. Art says the OBF is kicking in some money and others are also contributing. The target is $80K. There are some well-known people involved. I assume the Guild is somehow behind it. There are reportedly other brewers buried in that cemetery...some of the older headstones are obscured. Art has more info if you want it.

Anonymous said...

Friends of Lone Fir Cemetery also has a website:
http://www.friendsoflonefircemetery.org

Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Who is Art and how does one reach him? Some people have more information on George Bottler.

Jeff Alworth said...

Art's the owner of the Raccoon Lodge and Cascade Barrel House. Give the Rac Lodge a ring and they'll hook you up.

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