Hotels became plentiful in Del Norte County

June 03, 2007 11:00 pm
Nicholas McNamara arrived in Crescent City in 1853 and found people camping out. He built a hotel at Front and J Streets. (Photo courtesy of Del Norte County Historical Society).
Nicholas McNamara arrived in Crescent City in 1853 and found people camping out. He built a hotel at Front and J Streets. (Photo courtesy of Del Norte County Historical Society).

By Adam Madison

Triplicate staff writer

When white settlers started arriving in Crescent City during the early

, there were no hotels – only camp sites. That situation did not last long.

The Cushing House became the city's first hotel, built in 1853 directly on Front Street. At the time, Front Street was right on the beach, so winter storms brought debris and driftwood right up to the front doors. Later, a seawall was built to keep out the debris.

The hotel was sold the following year and renamed the Crescent City Hotel. The name was changed a third time by Gotlieb Meyer to the City Hotel.

Francis Burtschell bought the property in 1857 and changed the name a final time to the Bay Hotel.

Burtschell had the hotel renovated in 1885. The front section was removed and later expanded into the Bay Hotel Annex, which was destroyed by a tsunami in 1964.

The American Hotel was built in 1853 by Nicholas McNamara, who arrived on March 12 of that year. He decided to build a hotel because new arrivals had to camp out. A few years later, the hotel burned and McNamara replaced it with a brick structure.

The Travelers Hotel was built by Alexander Zaic in the 1880s. John D. Rockefeller and two of his sons stayed at this hotel. The hotel survived until it was torn down in 1942 and sold for lumber.

Frank Williams constructed a building during the early 1900s called the Williams Building. Many years later it became the Central Hotel.

James Brooking built the Brooking Hotel in Smith River in 1868. The hotel also housed the first post office in Smith River.

One of the first hotels in Smith River was the Valley Hotel, built in 1883 by Daniel Otto. Otto sold the hotel to James Andrew Jackson McVay in 1885. It burned down around 1937.

The first hotels in Gasquet were build by Horace Gasquet, a Frenchman who arrived on the Northcoast in 1853. His first hotel, erected in 1858, was a cabin, which also provided a rest stop and beds for travelers. The next building Gasquet constructed, in 1860, was called the Redwood House, with bedrooms on the first floor and a dance-hall on the second.

From a few hotels in the 1800s to both sides of town covered with them along U.S. Hwy. 101's entrance into Crescent City, travelers now have a multitude of "rooms to rent."