“Umatilla House: 1857-1930″
When the Umatilla House was completed in 1857, it soon became nationally known for its architectural charm, lavish furnishing and fixtures and warm and gracious hospitality. This stately property was considered to be the finest hotel west of Chicago and north of San Francisco. Further, it became the meeting place for steamboat men, miners, sheep and cattlemen, freighters and the citizens of The Dalles. The barroom was elaborately decorated and often stocked as much as 2,500 gallons of whiskey and was the scene of many high stakes card games.
The main dining room seated 250 persons and employed as many as 16 waiters and 12 cooks. This was backed by an abundantly stocked storeroom that held hundreds of dozens of eggs. Beef and ham were purchased by the ton, while a number of farmers sold their entire crop of garden produce to the hotel. Considering the luxurious furnishings, outstanding service and quality food and drink, it is no wonder that the Umatilla House was the center of Mid-Columbia affairs.
During its long and illustrious life, the hotel played host to many distinguished guests. Some of them were the likes of: U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant, General W.T. Shermon, Railroad Tycoon Henry Villard, Author Charles F. Train, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas A. Edison, England’s Lord Litchfield, Author Rudyard Kipling, Boxers John L. Sullivan and James Corbett, U.S. Vice President Schuyler Colfax, Author and Humorist Mark Twain and U.S. Senators J.N. Dalph and J.S. Mitchell.
The hotel had several owners that included H.P. Isaac’s who sold the property in 1883 to N.B. Sinnott and Major Dennis Hardley. They sold an interest to Judd S. Fish in1893 and he sold to H.B. Salisbury in 1897.
The life of the Umatilla House was not always a scene of fine dinning and gracious living. It suffered several tragic events that included two devastating fires: each time it burned to the ground. On both occasions it was rebuilt only to be damaged by the destructive flood of 1894. The once proud hotel fell into disrepair during the early 1900′s and was ordered destroyed by owner H.B. Salisbury on June 30, 1930.
Artist: Robert Thomas and Debbi Lunz
Location: Downtown, West 2nd Street, on the The Dalles Inn building.