Marble stairwell with historic photos

Benson Historic Stairwell

Since opening its doors over a century ago, The Benson has been around to see the constant evolution and growth of its home, the city of Portland. With the nature of such a landmark hotel and its location right in the heart of Portland, the idea of creating an exhibit to showcase local history, art, and to be a guide through all the city’s fascinations was incontestable. The Historic Stairwell was created in 2019 as a unique guest experience to educate, delight and inspire guests and visitors alike.

The Historic Stairwell in The Benson is a twelve-story original marble stairwell that features over 160 photos and stories of Portland and its many historic landmark buildings, including the venerable Benson Hotel and its transformation over 100 years. In addition to building Portland’s Finest Hotel, Simon Benson, successful lumber baron, businessman, and philanthropist spent a decade of public service directed to the State of Oregon and the City of Portland, and his many contributions are highlighted in the stairwell.

Film stars, musicians, athletes, Presidents, and other luminaries have all marveled at the timeless beauty of Portland’s historic hotel. See rare photos and read stories about their visits to The Benson in this unique exhibit. The Historic Stairwell features over 50 famous landmarks and historic buildings throughout Portland, with photos dating back to 1847. It showcases the story about how Portland got its name (and other recognizable nicknames), and many fun facts about Portland, from its cultural offerings in museums, music, film and the arts, to its food scene that has become part of the city’s fabric.

We welcome you to visit the Historic Stairwell, and to learn more about the storied history of Portland’s landmark hotel, the city of Portland, and its many iconic treasures!

Lobby of The Benson, a Coast Hotel

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