Home | About Us | Subscriptions | Advertising | El Centinela
Catholic Sentinel | Portland, OR Sunday, May 1, 2016
CYO Football 2015 2015 Priest Reassignments, Archdiocese of Portland Cardinal Francis George dies Mothering with faith Sisters of the Holy Names, 2015 Live Nativity at St. John the Baptist 2014 Fall CYO results Catholic Charities Donor Lunch 2014 Year of Consecrated Life opening Mass Holy Spirit Sisters Jubilee 2014 Seaside youth conference Mount Angel 125th Northwest Hub Furlow at papal Mass 2014 Rosary Bowl NW Brother André 2014 Fall 40 Days for Life 2014 Inauguration of Fr. Mark Poorman Coffee shop at abbey First day of school, 2014 Regis High School 50th anniversary 2014 Crooked Finger Pilgrimage Mass with migrant farm workers Maronite Ordination Consecration to "Immaculate Heart of Our Lady of Fatima" CYO track Southern Oregon Evangelization 2014 Priest Ordination Christ the King youth 2014 priest reassignments Our Lady of Lavang Confirmation, 2014 Memorial Day 2014 2014 Transitional deacon ordination Padre Foster Granados visits Albany Bishop Smith ordination Canonization of Pope John Paul II, Pope John XXIII Bishop Peter Smith 2014 Easter Vigil 2014 Walk of Cross 2014 Chrism Mass CYO basketball 2014 St. Patrick of the Forest 150th Catholic Charities Celebration of Hope, 2014 Boys2Men Archbishop visits Oregon State Penitentiary 40 Day Vigil for Life, 2014 Pope Francis creates new cardinals St. Henry shelter 2014 CYO swimming Funeral of Fr. George Wolf Travel on a budget Lunar New Year, 2014 Tech in Catholic schools 2014 Right to Life Rally Archbishop visits Santiam Prison First Mass in Oregon Milwaukie Posada St. Francis, Sherwood, Toy Drive Central Catholic football Typhoon Haiyan Deacon Ordination/ Kresbach, Schmitt A Catholic fisherman St. Cecilia Centennial Southern Oregon Welcome Mass Shepherd of the Valley, Central Point, dedication Grotto Anniversary 2013 Champions of Faith Dinner Gardenripe farms Coleman hop farm Corvallis Year of Faith Archbishop Howard at St. Rose Hitchhiking priests Franciscan Spiritual Center Sacred Heart, Medford Migrant Mass Tanzanians' jubilee World Youth Day 2013 2013 Blessing of the Animals 2013 Freedom Mass Albany school closure Fabric art Megan graduates from Catholic school St. Vincent de Paul Hillsboro 2013 Deacon ordination Sister Theresa Lamkin St. Helen Mission, Brownsville Marist Brainiacs St. Mary, Eugene St. Francis eighth graders Ascension confirmation 2013 Pastoral Ministry Conference St. Joseph Salem — Year of Faith Archbishop Sample's Installation Mass 2013 Archbishop Sample Chrism Mass 2013 2013 Young Catholics Pope Francis inauguration Celebration of Hope Vlazny Farewell Mass Archbishop Vlazny Farewell St. Paul Church in St. Paul Valley Catholic Green Building Rite of Election 2013 Water summit 2013 Lunar New Year Alveda King in Eugene New Monsignors, 2013 2013 Right to Life Rally MLK Mass, 2013 St. Henry, Gresham, Centennial Jesuit High drama School uniforms Friar in the mall Holy Trinity food ministry January Book Covers St. Andre Bessette food Year of Faith Mass Nestucca Sanctuary Hillsboro Choirs Father Betschart installation Salem Religious Freedom Rally Year of Faith Vespers, Awards Roy's Catholic School Adelante Mujeres 10th anniversary New Blanchet House Missionaries of Holy Spirit Priest, religious photos Providence Nursing Schools Pioneros Fortnight for Freedom Mark Bentz Deacon Ordination OLL School Walk Through Gaga over science St. Philip Neri Centennial Ordination of Bishop Cary SVDP, Grants Pass Holy Cross School centennial Confirmation - Mount Angel Holy Land Pilgrimage Blanchet Watershed Chrism Mass, 2012 Bishop-designate Cary Pope in Cuba, 2012 SSMO 125th Jubilee Mass Pope Benedict in Mexico 2012 Catholic Charities Celebration 2012 Madeleine Mardi Gras Centennial Rally for Life, 2012 Martin Luther King Jr. Mass 2012 Day Laborers-Guadalupe Guadalupe 2011 Christ the King, Milwaukie, 50th Sesame Doughnuts Central Catholic Volleyball St. Peter Centennial Deacon Ordination, October 2011 St. Agatha Centennial Rosary Bowl 2011 St. Wenceslaus, Scappoose, Centennial Filipino celebration Polish Festival 2011 Holy War Football 2011 World Youth Day 2011 Sun Gold Farm Our Lady of Victory's New Church Freedom Mass 2011 St. Mary Church Steeple Removal Priest reassignments, 2011 Old Catholic Buildings Paige Rice, St. Mary's runner Graduation 2011 Easter vigils 2011 Pastoral Ministry Conference Basketball Holy War 2011 Search for Peace 2011

Pacifica Senior Living - Calaroga Terrace

Home : News : Local
8/19/2011 3:18:00 PM
Tradition of hospitality lives on at corner
Catholic Sentinel photo by Ed Langlois
This spot on Southeast Division Street is where Nick Sckavone operated a drugstore for decades. His son, Jon Finley, continues the legacy with a popular restaurant.
Catholic Sentinel photo by Ed Langlois
This spot on Southeast Division Street is where Nick Sckavone operated a drugstore for decades. His son, Jon Finley, continues the legacy with a popular restaurant.
Finley family photo
Nick Sckavone, right, enjoys several children diving into ice cream in the late 1940s.
Finley family photo
Nick Sckavone, right, enjoys several children diving into ice cream in the late 1940s.
Ed Langlois
Of the Catholic Sentinel

Hospitable, enterprising Italian spirits inhabit the intersection of Southeast 41st and Division in Portland.

There, amiable and resourceful Nick Sckavone operated a drugstore from 1930 to 1976. And now Sckavone's, the restaurant started on the site in 2006 by Nick's grandson, has revived the drugstore's peaceful, neighborly milieu. The homey Italian legacy is reflected in hearty dishes like the meatloaf, seasoned with sundried tomatoes and smothered in marinara.  

The massive oak cabinet behind the bar came with Nick Sckavone when he opened his pharmacy on the site. He stood before it for decades, dispensing ice cream, sodas and smiles.     

"It feels more like a gathering spot again," says grandson Jon Finley, sitting near the same wooden behemoth, which backs a bar now instead of housing candy, cigars and comic books. "I like the continuity."

In 1908, six-month-old Nick Sckavone emigrated with his family from near Naples, Italy to the Richmond neighborhood of Southeast Portland, where he would live his entire life.

Later, to help support the household, young Nick sold newspapers on downtown streetcorners. At one point the Oregonian, aiming to boost circulation and raise revenue, stopped buying back extra papers from the newsboys at the end of each day. Nick, at age 15 showing a natural ability to organize, formed a union and took the newsboys on strike. The publisher resumed the buyback policy.

At 17, Sckavone established the Richmond Athletic Club to form neighborhood baseball teams. For this boy who lacked the skills to make his school squad, it was another act of self-reliance and the start of a longtime devotion to amateur sport.

After scrimping and working hard to graduate from pharmacy school, Sckavone bought the Ever-Ready Drug Store in 1930. Over the next four decades and more, the lunch counter became the neighborhood gathering place. At the start, diners offered opinions about hard times, then went on to exchange news about FDR, World War II, Vietnam, Watergate, neighborhood gossip, local politics and, of course, sports.

Sckavone, a member of St. Ignatius Parish, lived with wife Eunice halfway between the church and the drugstore and held many organizational meetings at home and work, founding teams and leagues and helping educate the many sports writers he called friend.

He would hound city officials to build a lighted baseball stadium on a former swamp in Westmoreland Park, saying that youths who are playing sports are not making trouble. Before he was 50, the city would name the field in his honor.

Sckavone got things done, but was not overbearing. One Oregon Journal article called him "salt of the earth."

Wrestlers from nearby Loprinzi's Gym would come eat a sandwich at the drugstore. Sckavone, in addition to promoting baseball, was a booster for boxing and wrestling.
He worked for girls, too, sponsoring the St. Ignatius CYO softball team.

Sckavone's first shop was in a small brick building on the southwest corner of the crossroads, but in 1946 he built a new drugstore across the street on the southeast corner. That's the building where the restaurant is today.

People who grew up in the neighborhood remember stopping by for 5-cent Coca Colas or 20-cent milkshakes. Many children from Richmond and St. Ignatius schools made the Ever-Ready their afternoon haunt.  

One man tells the story of pilfering candy from the store as a boy. The lad's conscience got to him, so he saved money and eventually stood before Sckavone to pay up and confess. Prepared for a tongue-lashing, the boy instead got a free milkshake.

Sckavone, active in the Italian Businessman's Association, guessed he knew 97 percent of his customers by their first names.

"I was so proud of him," says Shirley Finley, the daughter who worked in the drugstore as a clerk and delivered prescriptions while attending Immaculata Academy. "I followed him everywhere. I did my homework in the stands at baseball games."

Now days, this member of Holy Family Parish keeps a log of the restuarant's diners who remember her dad.

"We all looked up to him and considered him a mentor," wrote Helen Juliana, who grew up in the neighborhood in the 1930s, an area known then as Little Italy.

One woman wrote that the store holds a special place in her heart as the place where she bought her first lipstick. A man recalls spinning on the stools.
In the 1960s and '70s, there was talk of a major freeway coming through and obliterating the neighborhood. Businesses in the area became depressed. The freeway never was built, but in 1976, Sckavone closed shop. It was the era that marked the end of the corner drug store, anyway.

Years later, relatives reviewing the store's books found that Sckavone allowed customers to mount large tabs that were never paid off. Stories abounded about free baseball tickets and other quiet generosity.

Jon Finley, who recalls his grandfather's sparkling eyes as he handed out ice cream, surmises that Sckavone wanted to make life bright, especially for children, since his childhood was so difficult.

For decades after the drug store closed, a survey instrument company occupied the building. Then a fancy restuarant moved in. Jon Finley says his more casual, friendly eatery — elegant in its way — is more fitting his grandfather's unpretentious legacy.   
Nick Sckavone died in 1998.

Related Stories:
• 'Going like a house on fire'
• Social clubs promote Italian culture
• Italian immigrants became key part of Portland life
• An ancient sport bonds young and old
• Festival celebrates 'la vita dolce'

Advanced Search

Mary Jo Tully ~ The Path to Resurrection

News | Viewpoints | Faith & Spirituality | Parish and School Life | Entertainment | Obituaries | Find Churches and Schools | About Us | Subscriptions | Advertising
E-Newsletter | RSS Feeds

© 2016 Catholic Sentinel, a service of Oregon Catholic Press

Software © 1998-2016 1up! Software, All Rights Reserved