Over, Under 21: Powell’s and Crystal Ballroom have history

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Powell’s Books at 1005 W. Burnside St is a Portland original that attracts people from all over the world.

The store occupies four buildings on the block connecting buildings of varying sizes, two stories four stories. Walking through the store is an adventure since it is a hodgepodge of buildings.

Powell’s is divided up in to color-coded rooms. Information booths are placed strategically and staffed with friendly, knowledgeable people to help you get from, say, the purple room to the coffee shop. These people also function like libraries. They will locate in the store or hard-to-find books online.

This unique business is a great example of how Portland repurposes its old buildings.

For a reader on a budget, you can go to Powell’s and spend the day, by a book, by a textbook, get a cup of coffee or just wander around. You may be given the opportunity for extra credit. Listen to an author or another reading somewhere within the cavernous wondrous adventure land.

The entrance at 11th street opens to another unique aspect of such a large bookstore. They buy books. Several registers are set up to purchase books from “Harry Potter” to “War and Peace” on the shelves.

Powell’s technical book outlet is across the street. In addition, they have locations on Hawthorne and Cedars Mills Crossing in Beaverton.

The Crystal Ballroom was originally built as Cotillion Hall in 1914 as a ballroom through the Great depression, the original name was changed to the Crystal Ballroom in 1950 and it served as a venue for big bands, jazz, and rock n’ roll.

An antique elevator will take you from a dancing event on the second floor to a concert on the third floor. The bottom floor houses a bar and restaurant.

The McMenamin’s company owns Crystal Ballroom, which is located at 1332 W Burnside St., and so it complies with McMenamin’s style.

The historical building was saved from the wrecking ball by the McMenamin brothers. The top two floors are venues.

Both Powell’s Books and the Crystal Ballroom not only are in preserved, historical buildings, but they are good representations of the stereotypical lifestyle of a Portlander, one full of books, beer and good music.


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