When you’re traveling down North Portland’s Lombard Street one name is seen on street signs, store fronts, gateways to parks and schools, and, of course, our own Mock Crest Tavern. But who is the illustrious man behind the famous name? Well, have a seat at our bar and order up your favorite beer while I tell you a tale of one of North Portland’s earliest pioneers and the man who’s name has become part of the world we live in today.
The year was 1852 when thirteen-year-old John Mock and his family journeyed across the American frontier. They spent between 4 to 6 months on the Oregon Trail, as one of the millions of families chasing the American dream all the way to a new city called Portland. They settled on 317 acres of land that eventually became the University of Portland, University Park, Mock’s Crest and Mock’s Bottom and built two hand-hewn log cabins with wood chopped from the endless Pacific Northwest forests. John Mock went on to open up more land for settlement and eventually his efforts, combined with other pioneers, led to the neighborhood we love today; Mocks Crest.
Throughout his life, John Mock’s entrepreneurial spirit built an empire, with mining, transportation, farming and real estate ventures. He also donated land to Columbia University and expanded the roads and street railway connecting Portland to St. Johns. A route we still use a century later. He also built a gorgeous Victorian Queen Ann-style home located on Willamette Blvd. that is listed on the National Registration of Historic Places (currently undergoing restoration).
So, where does Mock Crest Tavern come into the story of John Mock? Our unique cigar-shaped tavern is one of the earliest, still in-use buildings constructed in North Portland; serving the community well for over seventy years as first a pharmacy, then a butcher’s shop, and now our own beloved bar, Mock Crest Tavern.
We’ve reserved a place of honor for John Mock on the wall you pass by on your way to our back patio. Next time head outside raise your pint to the photo of the man with the neatly trimmed beard who built our North Portland city and inspired the name, Mock Crest Tavern.