Built in 1870, the Tillicum was a log cabin tavern, with five smaller log cabins in the timber behind the main building, which awaited the stagecoach passengers. The route from the Oregon Coast to Portland by stagecoach took several days with stops in Dilley, Forest Grove and Hillsboro, before arriving at the Tillicum.
For some weary travelers, refreshed by food and drink, and more drink, the warm & willing arms of the ladies living in some of the cabins welcomed them. For the other more sedate travelers who carried their bibles in hand, the Tillicum was a restful waystop only. They ate, drank and slept, unaware that the “ladies of the night” were quietly slipping by their cabins to entertain the more lucrative, receptive passengers.
In 1923 the original building burned to the ground and was rebuilt. The separate cabins and their ladies of ill-repute who comforted willing males became only a memory. During Prohibition, we’re told there was a flourishing beer trade being done out the back door!
The Tillicum was known to everyone as a friendly rest stop with the highest quality of food and service. It still is (although a different kind of haven), but the comforts of good food, drink and companionship have not changed.
Generations of Portlanders have been fortunate enough to enjoy delicious, home cooked meals, excellent drinks and live music. Many of us have celebrated our birthdays, anniversaries and holidays here. Many guests have told us that their grandparents and parents were patrons before they themselves discovered the Tillicum.
Over the past few years, the Tillicum fell into the hands of well-meaning but inexperienced operators and lost its luster. We aim to restore the “Tilly” to its former glory and welcome you to join us on this journey! We thank you for your visit and look forward to honoring all of you “weary travelers” to the newly “rescued” Tillicum.
Tillicum means “Friend” in Chinook