Construction Begins in 1914
Arcata Hotel was designed by San Francisco architect W.H. Weeks and completed in 1915 by the contractors Elsmore and Jacobs. Originally called "Sportsman's Headquarters", it catered to adventurous travelers who came through by rail or steamer. Back then the rate for a stay was one dollar, or two dollars if you wanted to splurge and get a deluxe room with a bath in it. (Since then bathrooms with tubs and showers have been added to every room). In the 1920's the Redwood Highway was completed and afterward most of the business came from the motoring public.
A hot air Balloon rises on the Arcata Plaza. This photo, taken in 1897 before the hotel was built, shows some of the history of the Plaza area.
Lumber was a big industry in the area back then and it's still alive today.
A federally designated historic building, the hotel was completed shortly after Humboldt State Normal School opened, which later became Humboldt State University. Over the years the hotel has changed functions and ownerships, even breifly becoming long term rental rooms for a time. To this day people still sometimes stop by to visit their old residence. In 1986 the hotel was renovated at a cost of 1.2 million, and in 1990 the Big Lagoon Rancheria, a Native American Organization, acquired the Hotel. It reopened it in 1991.
The Hotel Today
Since the opening, the Hotel as well as Arcata have gone through some changes. Originally, the biggest industries in Arcata were mining and then later timber. Today, it is a college town and college students make up a large percentage of the population when school is in session. With its central location, our hotel is a great place to stay if you want to experience Arcata. With many of the community events happening on our doorstep, people relaxing on the plaza when the weather is good, and numerous locally owned restaurants and businesses clustered about, staying with us will make your experience an authentic one.
Although much has changed in Arcata, the Hotel Building still keeps many of its original features and is still recognizable from this old photo today.
Much thanks to the HSU Library Archive for maintaining these photos and granting permission for use, with special thanks to and Susie Van Kirk for providing research for the context, and Joseph Wilhelm for restoration.