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The History of the Holbrooke Hotel, Grass Valley – Part 1

This post was written by jd on November 28, 2010
Posted Under: Grass Valley
The Holbrooke Hotel Eary Years

The Holbrooke Hotel Early Years

Imagine a time when horse draw carriages and covered wagons carried hopeful pioneers to the gold country and dreams of striking gold became a reality for many.  The vision of that Victorian Era was for a life of rustic elegance and ease surrounded by majestic pine trees, raging rivers, wide open spaces and picturesque ponds.

The path to such a life wasn’t always paved with the gold they dreamed of, but rather with the vision and leadership of many hard working pioneers.  Stephen and Clara Smith were among the first to invest in this boom town known today as Grass Valley.  They built the Adams Express Office and the Golden Gate Saloon which sadly, were destroyed by fire in 1855 along with most of Grass Valley.  The Smiths rebuilt the popular saloon as a one story field stone building with a brick facade, making it safer from the threat of another fire.  The Golden Gate Saloon is oldest, continuously operated saloon west of the Mississippi River.  In 1862 a relative, Charles Smith, built the current structure and named it the Exchange Hotel.

It was noted for it’s convenience to the local Gold Exchange.  When the Gold Exchange closed, 18 ounces of pure gold were found in the carpeting.  Like other local buildings that were constructed, the hotel was fortified against fire damage with heavy iron doors and the roof was covered with a 12 inch layer of dirt and brick.

In 1879 the hotel was purchase by Ellen and Daniel Holbrooke and was given its current name.  Daniel Holbrooke passed away 1884, but Ellen Holbrooke continued to manage and operate the hotel until 1908.

More to follow……………..

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