McMenamins historian highlights Kalamas past as new property takes shape

first_imgLONGVIEW — In the mid 1990s, Tim Hills was in a “less-than-fulfilling” job when he hatched an idea to combine his love of history and pubs.He and his wife frequented Portland pubs owned by the McMenamin brothers. While they loved the atmosphere and the buildings, they lamented the lack of historical information provided about the places. So he wrote a letter to the McMenamins suggesting they hire him to bring historical color and flavor to their properties. Hills’ timing was perfect: The company was embarking on the renovation of the Crystal Ballroom in Portland, so they gave him a shot.More than 20 years later, Hills remains on a constant quest to find unique stories and characters about the towns where the hotel and restaurant chain develops new properties.His research has helped McMenamins earn a reputation for bringing history to life through artwork, design, food and events at its 55 pub and hotel locations throughout the Northwest. As McMenamins develops a hotel and restaurant at the Port of Kalama — due to open early in 2018 — Hills and his team of two other historians have already started pouring over old documents and interviewing area families as they attempt to uncover more about Kalama’s history.“It’s exciting. … The unknown that’s out there. To put together pieces to make a kind of a whole understanding with a project like this, it’s just great,” Hills said.last_img read more