McMenamins: Old St. Francis School, Bend

Bend, Oregon is a quaint and beautiful little town surrounded by nature.  From the mountains to the high desert, you’ll find plenty to do.  Skiing, fishing, hunting, camping, hiking, sight seeing, and shopping, plus a big bonus, like icing on the cake, McMenamin’s Old St. Francis School.  Located at 700 NW Bond Street in the old downtown area.

The school was once a Catholic school house which opened in 1936.  Designed by Hugh Thompson around 1925 and planned for the site of the Catholic parish house adjoining St. Francis Catholic Church.  There was a budget of $45,000 for the project, which was also to begin around 1925.  It was to be a two story structure facing Lava Road with four classrooms, an assembly hall, and a principal’s room on the first floor.  The second floor was to have two more classrooms and a large parish hall.  The upstairs hall was for use for the Knights of Columbus and children’s organizations of the parish.  In 1953 an expansion of the school was planned.  In 1968 there was a major parish expansion that included a gym, stage, meeting rooms, and cafeteria.  In 2000 the school was relocated to a modern campus.  The old downtown property which included four old bungalow houses on the back end of the lot was transferred to the McMenamin brothers.   McMenamin’s renovated the school and reopened it in 2004 with respectful education of its past and now its newfound sense of fun!  The brothers are all about fun.  Present day the school is now a pub, hotel, and four guest cottages.  Old St. Francis also has a bakery, brewery, Movie Theater, private meeting and event rooms, and a wonderful soaking pool which is very inviting for guests after a long day of skiing, hiking, snowboarding, and/or shopping, not to mention the long list of other activities there are to do in Bend and the surrounding area.

St. Francis School is a little piece of heaven and has just about everything you need for an enjoyable time while in Bend.  The school offers 19 wonderfully artistic guest rooms and four individual cottages with room for 2 to 10 people.  The school honor’s the property’s former life by featuring extensive artwork paying homage to the history of the school.  The walls are adorned with memorabilia of days gone by.

Student’s art work and photos are displayed making the hotel a very unique gallery.  All this history is very exciting and interesting.  I admire the McMenamins way of doing things.  They are famous for taking an unused old building and turning it into something magical for all ages.  One other great thing I will mention is that the Old St. Francis School is pet friendly for a small fee as long as you don’t invite your beloved pet for dinner and drinks!

Brought to you by Brian and Glenda.

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