Origins of the name “Edgefield”

I’m often asked why we called our property Edgefield and where the name comes from. It’s actually an amalgamation of ideas that we knew just fit, as soon we said it out loud.

Jeff’s surname is “Thierfelder“, which in German means “animal fields“. My maiden name is “Waldeck“, which is also German and means “corner of the forest“. Our property is also bordered on the southern edge by a thick bush reserve. So “edge” + “field” certainly fits the bill. In addition, there is a link back to Jeff’s former home in Oregon, USA.

There is a wondrous place 16 miles outside the city of Portland called Edgefield. It is a gorgeous, rambling 300+ acre property dotted with attractions including a winery, breweries, bars, pubs, restaurants, accommodation, stunning gardens, a theatre, artisan shops and galleries, golf, spa, concerts, and more. Jeff and I stayed there for a romantic weekend back in 1999-00, oh so long ago when we were first dating. It was a delightfully memorable experience and became a highlight in the “story of us”. And so it was fitting for it to continue as a part of our story here in Australia.

You can read all about the fascinating history of Edgefield here. Historically, the property was a poor farm in various forms for more than 70 years, from its earliest beginnings in 1910, through The Great Depression where its numbers swelled, to its eventual salvation in the late 1980s by the McMenamin brothers. The McMenamins were building an empire of neighbourhood pubs in Portland and Edgefield was seen as a distinct departure from their successful formula.

Amongst the ruins of  Edgefield they saw a fabled gathering spot, a village populated by artists, artisans, gardeners, craftspeople, musicians, and folks from surrounding communities. On their journey of discovery, the brothers’ definition and expectations of a pub broadened. At the absolute core is a welcoming gathering spot for people of all ages. It needn’t depend on trendy décor; rather the people who have gathered and their conversations create the finest atmosphere (though, good music, good beer and good food often will enhance the experience). From this core, radiated such new rays as breweries, movie theaters, lodging rooms, artwork and history. But all this proved to be just a foundation for what a pub could be.

Finance came through and the gamble worked. Edgefield is now one of the jewels in the McMenamins crown.

A blending of art and history has become another of the property’s attractions, another McMenamins’ first that germinated at Edgefield. A team of more than a dozen artists was turned loose on the place, armed with tales and photos of the poor farm, its residents, and the surrounding area, with the directive to celebrate the rich past while doing away with the property’s institutional feel. Now, it’s hard to find a surface not enlivened by an artistic flourish and nod to the past. McMenamins Edgefield continues its emergence as a pub of a most delightfully broadened definition, a village of artisans and publicans. The ever-evolving mélange of personalities, events, landscape and architecture makes for a truly extraordinary setting, inseparable from its poor farm past, and soon to be augmented by new lodging rooms in the 1962 county jail facility, and who knows, maybe a 360-degree bar in the old farm silo.