Originally published in UMagazine – February 2017
Maren Gribskov is synonymous with Pine Tavern. Her business acumen and audacity made her a woman to be reckoned with for almost half a century. Even though she would never admit to it, Gribskov was a pioneering force in Bend. And she did it all because her mother told her that she could do anything she wanted, even if it meant being a single woman doing business in a man’s world.
The story of Maren Jensen Gribskov and Pine Tavern started in June 1894. Born to Danish immigrants, Gribskov spent her first 11 years in Cozad, Nebraska. The small town was home to contingent of Danish farmers, and Maren’s parents tried to eke out a living farming the land.
“At the time, they had crop troubles in Nebraska,” said Shirley Ray, Gribskov’s niece and later in charge of operations at Pine Tavern.
The Danish population in Nebraska was served by newspapers in their own language. One of the newspapers was pushing a large land development in “The West.”
“My grandfather went to Oregon, bought sixty acres, went back to Nebraska and brought the family to Junction City in 1905,” said Ray.
Maren picked up her interest in cooking and baking thanks to encouragement from her mother.
“My aunt liked to cook,” said Ray. “Her mother permitted Maren to bake and experiment with a free hand.”
After finishing high school, Gribskov set her sights on higher education. Her father saw no reason to send his daughters to college, but her mother thought otherwise.
“My grandmother was very progressive. She had eight children, but told her girls that they could be anything they wanted,” said Ray. “All three girls went on to college, which was rare at the time.”