Tailor by trade also built local hotels


By Nicholas Grube

Triplicate staff writer

A man who hemmed pants and altered garments for a day job also earned money moonlighting as the builder of some of Crescent City's earliest hotels.

In the 1880s, Alexander Zaic, a tailor by trade, built both the European Hotel - later named the Swiss-American Hotel - and the Travelers Hotel which were both located on Second Street.

The Swiss-American was a three-story, 36 room hotel located on the corner of Second and K streets. Zaic later sold it to Silvio Barri and then to Edward Plaisted and his wife, who in 1924 renamed it the Sequoia Hotel.

In 1938, a severe fire consumed the former Swiss-American and forced the building to be razed, or torn down.

Zaic's other building endeavor - the Travelers Hotel - had a similar fate, however through different means.

A.D. Kendall leased the hotel from Zaic until he sold it to Glenn Ireland, who on March 20, 1926, sold it to a couple from San Francisco, J.D. McGee and his spouse.

In the same year the McGees bought the Travelers Hotel, they hosted a resort caravan from Redwood Empire Association (which still exists, marketing the Northcoast's many tourism opportunities). A member of that caravan party was the son of famous Standard Oil tycoon John D. Rockefeller, John D. Rockefeller Jr., who brought along his wife and his two sons to revel in the Northcoast.

Zaic's creation finally met its demise in 1942 when it was torn down and sold for lumber.

Reach Nicholas Grube at ngrube@triplicate.com .

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