History Notes: Our First Mayor
Reisner wanted everything his way, including the first liquor license for his saloon. By the end of 1893, our first mayor also became the first of a long line of mayors to face a recall petition, which Reisner stopped with a mayoral veto. Somehow, by the beginning of 1894, there was a new election, and J. C. Iler became Mayor for almost four years.
But who was this C. G. Reisner (pronounced Rise-ner) and what were his goals? We may never know very much. We do not even have a picture of him.
"George Risner (sic) is our 'popular meatmarket man.' S. Hogan and Mike Risner (sic) cuts the meat for George. — Newberg Graphic, Dec. 23, 1891.
We know from this first article about him that George wanted to be a businessman, not a farmer. He operated a hotel built with milled lumber from Cedar Creek with his wife, Anna, on the corner of Railroad and Washington Street. He expanded a building to the right of the hotel as a dining room and future saloon. He pushed to attain a liquor license from the city early on before the official handwritten-inked-papers, to establish the city by the state, were even dry.
The City Council was serious about getting a Town Hall built and appealed to Reisner's business interests to purchase the best quality materials for the building. But by Jan. of 1894, Reisner stepped down from public office. By then he had three businesses, including his precious saloon. Whisky and beer were the favored drinks and many males in town were slaves to it in no time. George had a volatile temper, and he flew off the handle early on:
"George Reisner, the Sherwood Hotel man, was fined the other day for beating his wife and attacking his son with a dangerous weapon, and in default of payment, was sent to jail."—Newberg Graphic, Dec. 18, 1896, Page 3.
For 15 years, Anna Reisner, Mary Ellen Smock, E. O. Shepard, and a number of people from the Sherwood Friends church rallied around other prohibition speakers to take to the streets and make their presence known at City Hall. One night, an entire group of ladies and gents adjourned their school board meeting to march on the city council to protest the "wild west antics of the Saloon members." By 1914, Sherwood voted to go dry, followed by the rest of the state of Oregon.
Stay tuned to the Facebook page, Morback Museum, for our next Cultural Exhibit! It is going to be "Toys and Games of the Past." It should be a really interesting exhibit for young and old alike. The Sherwood Historical Society is getting ready to roll up its sleeves with the Boy Scouts and the Robin Hood Festival to build a new picket fence all around the Smock House. You can come to our history center on Wednesdays and Saturdays, 1 to 4 p.m. Come and join in the fun!