Oregon Black Pioneers is excited to learn that three historic African American sites have been added to the National Register of Historic Places. On March 4th, 2022, the National Park Service accepted the nominations of Dean’s Beauty Salon and Barber Shop, the Golden West Hotel building, and Mt. Olivet Baptist Church, which had been nominated by the Oregon State Advisory Committee on Historic Preservation (SACHP) in November 2021.
Dean’s, which opened in 1956, is possibly the oldest continuously-operating Black-owned businesses in Portland. Three generations of the Dean family have owned this community landmark in Lower Albina. The Golden West Hotel was Portland’s first Black owned hotel when it opened in 1906. It was built by Black entrepreneur W. D. Allen to provide accommodations to African American railroad employees. The business closed in 1930, and today the Golden West is an apartment building. Mt. Olivet has been an anchor institution of Black Portland for a century, and a gathering space for social gatherings and civil rights organizing.
Sites on the National Register of Historic Places represent stories of local and national significance. Recognizing that significance, these sites are eligible for tax breaks and preservation support. The NRHP qualifies sites for certain grants, and limitations of their alterations or demolition.
The selection of these three sites was made possible by the creation of the African American Resources in Portland from 1851- 1973 Multiple Property Document (MPD) in 2020. This MPD established the criteria by which multiple properties could be added to the National Register as locations which tell the broader story of Black history in Portland. Kim Moreland, OBP’s Board President, was the leading figure behind the creation of this document.
Oregon Black Pioneers is proud to have been part of the efforts to create the Portland African American MPD, which allowed these sites to be listed. OBP continues its work to preserve historic African American spaces in Oregon by nominating additional sites to the NRHP under this MPD, and by creating similar tools to protect historic Black structures in Oregon beyond the Portland area.
Oregon Black Pioneers is an educational non-profit based in Salem. Since 1993, OBP has used research, exhibitions, and public programs to tell the seldom-told stories of people of African descent in Oregon. OBP’s vision is to be the premier source for information about Oregon’s African American heritage. For more information please visit oregonblackpioneers.org.