Hauntings of McMenamins Edgefield

Posted by in US Ghost Adventures

Located on scenic 2126 SW Halsey St, McMenamins Edgefield is one of Portland’s haunted hotspots. The structure itself dates back to 1911, and during that time, the counties within Oregon began to suffer from an overwhelming amount of poverty. Families affected suffered from sickness, lack of affordable housing, and other issues. Rather than letting all of these families gather in the streets, the state decided to create a “territorial legislature,” which meant that each county was responsible for its homeless population.

This is where ‘poor houses’ came into play. The idea originated in England during the time of ‘poor laws’ when each district maintained simple farms and roads. Underprivileged people in those days were viewed as ‘deplorable’ and were in desperate need of reform.

At these ‘poor houses,’ whole families were expected to follow a strict schedule and work manual jobs or face punishment from church officials. These farms started to become common in the West around the start of the 19th century. They often produced corn and wheat and kept livestock, which sustained the poor house’s population. State laws continued this tradition for many years until the Social Security Act came into being in 1935. Many of these former poor houses fell into disrepair; over time, most of these poor farms disappeared by 1950.


Why is McMenamins Edgefield haunted?


The conditions and horrors faced during the property’s time as a “poor house” left behind a heavy energy and restless spirits that continue to inhabit the McMenamins Edgefield today. Keep reading to learn what was discovered during the building’s restoration process and why these findings could be the reason for its infamous hauntings. To learn more about the most haunted locations in Portland, book a ghost tour with Portland Ghosts!

History of the Edgefield Poor Farm

Edgefield helped Portland and the surrounding cities with their poor population for most of the early twentieth century. Due to its rapidly growing population, an infirmary was added to the building. By that time, almost seven hundred people were living on the farm. In need of more space, more acres were added, totaling 350. In 1939, more expansions took place, including a doctor’s apartment, waste incinerator, sprinkler systems, and sunroom.

The farm, which ultimately grew to 345 acres, was completed in a year at a cost of $100,000 and included a main lodge, outbuildings, dairy, and piggery. In November 1911, 211 inmates (later called residents) moved in, 75 of whom were bedridden due to chronic or untreated illness“Meat and mush” tables divided residents: those who worked in the fields or the institution ate meat three meals a day; the others had meat only once daily.

The farm concept was gradually abandoned. The county jail, built on the site in 1959 mainly because the land was available, had no prisoners who would toil in the fields. The dairy herd was sold in 1969, and the fields were leased. In 1964, the main lodge was renamed Edgefield and became a nursing home, the first in Oregon to offer physical rehabilitation. It served in that capacity until 1982 when the buildings were closed and abandoned.

After an estimate came in for renovations that totaled more than four hundred thousand dollars, the county decided that Edgefield should be closed down instead. Any remaining patients were moved to different facilities across Oregon in 1982. After this, the building fell into disrepair and remained abandoned.

A couple of years later, county officials cleared all remaining buildings from Edgefield except for the main one. County officials and community members didn’t like the idea of destroying that last and final building; it felt too much like the destruction of history. In the early 1980s, Edgefield became a historical landmark and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The McMenamins Brothers

During this time, the McMenamins brothers purchased the land and its buildings. They restored them, creating a recreational area. Today, the land features a movie theater, garden, golf course, and concert area and is even rentable for weddings.

In 1987, the brothers opened the Mission Theater and Pub, which gained them traction and popularity in the area. As of 2018, the McMenamins company owns and operates 55 different locations.

The Spirits of Edgefield

As a poor house, Edgefield was home to hundreds of people at a time. According to Portland’s locals, after the McMenamins bought the property, they performed a spirit cleansing to get rid of any lingering entities. During the cleansing, they found animal bones in room 215. Worse still, the bones had been arranged in the shape of a pentagram. It truly comes as no surprise that many guests report feeling strange energy around the remaining building.

There are stories of unmarked graves dotting the property, one of which tells of a new mother whose child passed away from chickenpox. The mother and child were reportedly buried on the property, and it seems that even after death, they remain at Edgefield.

These days, Edgefield is a beautiful hotel. Guests can enjoy all of the amenities Edgefield provides, as well as the handful of hauntings that have been reported.

According to one guest, the woman can be heard on the upper floors trying to calm her crying child. Staff report that she sings nursery rhymes almost every night at midnight. The rhymes, commented one guest, are “soothing.” Most guests and staff seem to be completely at ease with this ghost.

One visitor reported to staff that she felt watched and followed. Soon after, they both heard a disembodied voice scream, ‘Get out!’

Other visitors report feeling unseen hands pushing against their shoulders, back, and chest. Guests hear whispers when no one is around, and some people have even been violently pushed as they make their way throughout the building.

Others report smelling a flowery perfume, which many believe belongs to the ghost of an elderly woman who passed away at the facility. Others report seeing a small child racing down the hallways at all hours of the day. When guests approach the child to ask where his parents are, he vanishes.

Haunted Portland

Portland is filled with historic and haunted locations, Edgefield included. Have you ever stayed at this poor house turned luxury hotel?

If you’d like to dig deeper into the hauntings of America like Edgefield, check out our blog here!

To visit some of Portland’s most haunted locations in person, book a ghost tour with Portland Ghosts!