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Portland Then/Now: Southwest Fifth Avenue

Thursday, March 12, 2015

 

Cinnamon Bear

Cinnamon Bear on a ladder outside of Lipman, Wolfe and Company, 1962 : City of Portland Archives, A2004-002.6705

Southwest Fifth Avenue

Red Star Tavern, Southwest Fifth Avenue and Alder Street. 2015. Photo by Byron Beck.

Portland Then/Now: Southwest Fifth Avenue. 

 

THEN: According to pdxhistory.com, The Cinnamon Bear first showed up in Portland on the radio in 1937.

In November of that year, "a magical radio show about the adventures of The Cinnamon Bear filled the airwaves...Each year, it became a ritual to listen to The Cinnamon Bear on the radio and count down the days to Christmas."

The Cinnamon Bear is pictured here in 1962 just outside his homebase at Lipman's, a beloved downtown Portland department store, located on Southwest Fifth Avenue between Alder and Washington Street. 

It was at Lipman's that "he would sit in the window and draw throngs of kids to the store so they could tell their parents what they wanted for Christmas, and if they were good, they might get to visit the Chocolate Lounge."

Fredrick and Nelson continued the tradition after it absorbed the Lipman brand until it closed in the mid-1980s. In the background you can see the downtown J.C. Penney location on Fifth Avenue and Washington.  

NOW: Where The Cinnamon Bear is standing in the photograph from 1962 is now just outside the Red Star Tavern, the site of a bustling open kitchen and a busy downtown bar. The Red Star Tavern itself is located inside one of downtown's Portland most well-regarded hotels, the Hotel Monaco Portland.  

And, have no fear, The Cinnamon Bear tradition lives on too...just on the water. 

The Cinnamon Bear Cruise is available via The Portland Spirit.  Every year, in late November and December, the two-hour cruises up and downt the Willamette River provide holiday treats for children and a cast of characters (including The Cinnamon Bear) who entertain the crowd with storytelling, music and magic. 

 

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