Architect: Whidden & Lewis, 1910
"The big deals in town " are conducted over the lunch tables at
the Arlington Club." Federal Judge Gus J. Solomon
This ivy-covered Georgian building gives club members a surge of pride at belonging to such a reputable-looking structure. After all, this is Portland's elite club. Once dubbed the "last bastion of gentile male chauvinism" by E. Kimbark MacColl, the club now admits Jews, blacks, and women " and they were admitted in that order, women finally in 1990.
* The first Jewish member of the Arlington Club was a lawyer named Moe Tonkon. Asked what his secret to being admitted was, the Russian-born Tonkon responded, "I haven't stood aloof " as a lot of our people have done."
As to the building, sparkling white pillars fairly leap out from the front of this red brick, neoclassical building. Its architects excelled at these types of designs. Boston-native William M. Whidden (1857-1929) originally came to Portland to supervise construction of the Portland Hotel for the famed New York architectural firm of McKim, Mead, & White. He eventually hooked up with MIT graduate Ion Lewis in 1889. Their firm designed an incredible number of residential, institutional, and commercial buildings in Portland. (A. E. Doyle worked as an apprentice in their office for twelve years.)
When the Arlington Club originally formed in 1867, their goals included having a "meeting place for discussing their own and Portland's destiny." (Scary, huh?) Most city councilmen and members of the Chamber of Commerce Executive Committee have been Arlington Club members. To become a member, you need to be nominated by an existing member and approved by the club's board. (I'm happy to put in a good word for you if you'd like.)
On the north side of the Arlington is the Paramount Hotel (2000, 808 SW Taylor Street, Curt Jensen & Associates). This fifteen-story building is locally notorious for its stucco-covered Styrofoam moldings and cheap construction materials. (It does create an interesting silhouette against the sky, though.)Less Text