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Bars where Pete has had a drink

Sunday, May 10, 2020

#3993 - Linger Longer Tavern, Albany, OR - 3/8/2020

The Linger Longer Tavern, Albany, OR
Albany, Oregon, with a population of around 50,000 citizens, lies at the confluence of the Calapooia and Willamette rivers, about 10 miles due south of Salem and 60 miles sound of Portland. The Linger Longer has operated here on Main Street since 1930 and is said to have been a bar since shortly after the close of federal prohibition in 1933. The building,  constructed in 1905 and one of the oldest in the city, was dragged across the street and a block north up Main Street to its current location in 1921. This street was one of two that battled for the position of the heart of downtown since the mid 19th century, a feud exacerbated by two founding families on separate sides of support in during the civil war. Eventually Main Street, championed by the pro-southern family, conceded defeat to the First Street.

Today the Linger Longer Tavern is classic, older, quieter type of neighborhood dive bar, brimming with historical artifacts and adhering to old school tavern standards -- e.g. no hard liquor and cash only. While the pool table tends to draw much of the action and attention, the centerpiece of the decor is the beautiful pre-prohibition Brunswick back bar, topped with old saddles. It is enlivened by local characters -- and also the occasional robbery or lottery fraud.

To my delight the bar not only has been around for many generations and features a beautiful antique back bar, but the owners actually gave a a great little printed history, which I have reproduced below. The bar appears to have had relatively few owners over the generations, and has primarily belonged to just two women over the last 60+ years. The tavern was said to be established by Russell Deere in 1933, and a 1941 city directory shows him as still the owner at least eight years later (although his name is spelled "Dear" therein). The obituary of Rita Miller (born "Kotthoff" and later "Case") claims that she purchased the bar from her father in the late 50s -- after building B-17s during WWII -- and the bar's history notes observer that she sold it to the current owner Ruth in 1979.

Ruth Tribur has turned management of the bar over to her son Bret Smith, but as of my visit still opened the business herself on Saturdays and Sundays (and celebrated the 40th anniversary of her ownership last November 1). Again, I am grateful for the staff there sharing their historical write-up which I quote below. As you will note the fully history of the back-bar is unknown, but there are a number stories floating around as to how it came to the Linger Longer. Each of these is quite possible, although it is unlikely that it was "three part set" with its remaining parts located in other bars in the area. For some reason these stories -- often involving the parts being actually sawed apart -- tend to be quite commonly associated with these bars, even when the existing piece is quite clearly a full unit exactly as pictured in the Brunswick-Balke-Collender (in the case of the Linger Longer, the "Mont Oro" model). But the Brunswick bars were manufactured primarily in Dubuque Iowa and in the years 1878 to 1912, so it certainly dates back around the 1880s, and as the Panama Canal was yet to be completed, west coast deliveries were often shipped around Cape Horn.

Quite frankly I would want to stop at the Linger Longer for the name alone, but it also makes a fine stop for anyone who would enjoy a cold beer amidst some local  history. And I wish every old bar I visited had compiled such helpful notes:

"The building you are in was constructed in 1905. It originally sat on the SE corner of Main Street and Old Salem Rd (one block to the south). The NW corner of the building would have been located above the new round-a-bout as you turn into Salem Ave. Around 1921 the whole structure was moved to its current location by Mr. Calvin, owner of Calvin's Drug Store. 
During the 1920's the are you are inhabiting was a clothing store. In 1930 it was converted into a cafe and became Linger Longer Lunch. After repeal of prohibition in December 1933 it was established as the Linger Longer Tavern by Russel and Hortense Deere. The tavern has had several owners througout the decades. The Case family owned it for 2 generations. The current owner, Ruth, purchased the tavern from Rita Case (her maiden name), and the building from Dr. Frances Keiser on Nov 1, 1979." 
"In the early 1950's, the back-bar, which was manufactured around 1880, and counter were moved to their current locations. The back-bar faced west and sat in front of the beam that dissects the ceiling. There was seating in the front area and a kitchen behind the back-bar. During the past 39 years that Ruth has owned the tavern, there have been numerous stories told about how the back-bar came to the Linger Longer Tavern. It has been said that it came around Cape Horn on a ship, or that it was stored in a barn then moved here, or that it came across the company on a train, or that it was taken off of a cruise ship, or that it is one part of a three part set and another part is located in (insert name of city here, as there have been dozens). You probably have figured out that we don't know how it came to be here. Many patrons used to play a game where they would try to toss coins over the top of the bar. Whoever made it over first, won, causing the other player to buy the next round. The coins that didn't make it over became the bartenders to keep as a tip. 
The bar is now managed by Ruth's son Bret. He is here Monday through Friday opening every day at 7 a.m. Ruth celebrated here 83rd birthday in January. She still enjoys opening on Saturdays and Sundays."

145 Main St SE, Albany, OR 97321 - (541) 926-2174
Est. Dec 1933 - Building constructed: 1905
Previous bars in this location: None known
Web site: facebook
Articles: democratheraldcorvallisadvocate - yelp - 2008 lottery ticket theft - 2002 robbery - yahoo

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Thanks for the detailed history. I first saw it in 1948, but was too young to go inside. In fact, I'm not sure I ever got to go inside. My sister and I at lunch at Calvin's Drug Store next door. Really enjoyed what you wrote.