by Dorothy Timpy
Hot, saturated with energy and talent is a three-piece rock band called
Hipwaiters. They jammed the house and kept the small dance floor packed
to overflowing at the Corner Saloon, located at Wanker’s Corner,
2509 S.W. Borland Rd. in Tualatin. Their energetic vocals and instrumentation
shot out off the bandstand and affected everyone in the audience. The
club was filled with a mostly young crowd.
Blending vocal and instrument talents for a truly big, tight, solid
sound were David Nelson on guitar; Frank Henderson on bass; and Norm
Whitehurst setting up percussion rhythm on drums. Not only did they
perform exceptionally well together, but they left no holes in a set
of songs they move from one song to another without hesitation, thereby
keeping dancers on the floor.
In a room rampant with historic appeal and major background, Corner
Saloon boasts an existence covering four generations, with parts of
the original family still living in the original farm home. The tavern
boasts the original beer coolers from prior years of business at that
location. Also carried forth from business days of yore are the bar
taps, which were estimated to be 50 to 60 years old.
History says that John and Dora Von Waunker came to the area known
as Wanker’s Corner from German immigrant family background. John,
born in 1825 and Dora, born in 1863 came to Oregon by wagon train from
California. They reared seven children and put up a building where
a thriving grocery store and tavern kept them busy on 50 acres. The
change in name spelling came about when their children were born and
they dropped the Von and the U and made it Wanker. Their son Jack,
whose actual name was Lloyd, ran the business when the parents opted
to slow down. A couple of gas pumps were added; then later, Bob and
Ted Saarinen moved them across the street for a service station when
legislation began to tighten on the dispensing of fuel. The two brothers
operated the service station for 23 years.
One of the sons, Dubs, real name Walter, did a stint in the military
and when he came home, took over operation from 1905 to 1979. A local
elementary school, Stafford School, was built on Wanker property.
A fire destroyed the building and it was restored as Wanker’s
Corner Tavern, a place where neighbors and friends gathered to visit,
listen to music, drink a beer or two and dance. It has been such a
place for the past four generations and still is. Though Jack died
some 15 years ago, other members of the family carried on the location’s
tradition, adding an outdoor dining area and gaining a phenomenal reputation
for the quality of their nachos.
Dorothy, Jack’s daughter, to this day resides in the original
home built at the origination of Wanker’s Corner, while his granddaughter
Sheryl moved on to Bend, Ore. Yvonne Addington, a son Ted’s daughter,
went on to become city manager of Tualatin and a judge, among other
Dorothy remembers that the wood floor of the tavern had to be cleaned
and mopped with linseed oil. She currently maintains and writes about
the Historical Society’s information regarding the surrounding
area. Her son Randy stayed in the area, making his home in Oregon City
and going on to become a supervisor at the furniture-making portion
of the Oregon State Corrections site in Salem.
Today’s Corner Saloon, as the tavern has become, is still filled
with memorabilia covering the walls and ceiling and includes sports
shirts, hats, banners, etc. Not only is it a favorite spot for relaxation
but for a wide variety of food ranging from homemade chili, soups,
fresh salads, burgers, sandwiches and pizza, to such saloon specialties
as halibut fish and chips, captain’s platter, rib platter, N.Y.
steak sandwich, chicken linguini alfredo, enchiladas and Jose’s
Corner Saloon has always managed to keep live music as a drawing card
for the tavern. The music they choose is of superb quality, appealing
in a big way to the crowd who visits on a regular basis. Another unique
aspect is peanut shells on the floor; peanuts are free from 3 to 6
p.m. It was such a good idea that the former owner of the Wanker’s
Corner Saloon took the idea with him when he moved into a brand new
building in Wilsonville.
Hipwaiters, starting as Dumbwaiters, had a farsighted band member,
Whitehurse, who thought the name needed to be upgraded. They utilize
sequencer fill to add instruments they can’t get on the bandstand
and fill their performing sound to it enormous presentation.
Henderson, the bass man, also doubles as troubleshooter in the event
of unforeseen difficulties with sound equipment. His co-musicians call
him their McGyver and explain that he can take a rubber band and a
toothpick and “fix” the sound system. He came on the scene
with the group in 1993.
Guitarist Nelson joined in 2000 and, with his incredibly funky style,
changed the band. Following his addition, the trio was presented the
opportunity to perform songs made famous by such artists as Led Zeppelin,
Guns ‘n’ Roses and Journey. He has a comic ability to change
lyrics just to make sure the musicians and audience are listening and
elicits a “crack-up” response.
Whitehurst who came on the scene in 1992 with Dumbwaiters, brings hard-rocking
chops that elevate the band’s rhythm section to its current levels.
He also runs the light show from behind the drums.
You can catch and enjoy their show May 21 at Rodders, Oregon City;
June 2-4 at Holiday Inn, Wilsonville; June 10-11 at Beavercreek Saloon
in Beavercreek; July 1-2 back to the Corner Saloon in Tualatin; three
more appearances at Hings and another at Corner Saloon Aug. 25-27.