Those Elks…

The photo shows part of the ceiling decoration in the Sentinel Hotel in Portland, OR, which was built in 1923 as an Elks’ Club. I have some questions about those Elks…..

This week I was in Portland, Oregon for a Primary Care Review put on by Oregon Health Sciences University. The conference was held in the Sentinel Hotel. It has high beautiful decorated ceilings and walls. In the afternoon there are break out sessions, which are held in the Library or the Billiard Room. We need a candlestick, a wrench and Colonel Mustard. It is a little bit surreal to be in this gorgeous setting and then hear lectures about complications of diabetes and the United States obeisity epidemic.

Our last breakout a few days ago was two hours about addiction medicine, held in the Library. The photo is of the frieze just below the ceiling. There are cupid satyrs with weapons and horses. Some are nude and they are definitely male. They are not engaging in activities like the brothel wall paintings in Pompeii, but it does make me wonder about those Elk members in 1923.

I asked a person at the front desk about the building and she said that it was only an Elk’s club for a few years, because of the depression. I asked what else it had been used for and she looked rather severe and said, “other things”. There are naked women and cupids around the frieze in the lobby: I will try to get a decent picture of them, too.