Friday, July 05, 2013

Celebrating Our Hawthorne Hotel History

Something Old is New to Us.

The Hawthorne Hotel opened to the public on July 23, 1925.  As we approach the 88th anniversary of that date, we thought we would share something we recently acquired which is related to the opening of the hotel.

Last month a guest staying here for her Salem High School class reunion asked to see me.  Her name is Rosemarie Byer, and she currently lives in California.  In preparation for coming out here for her class reunion she had been going through boxes of things that her mother had collected, and saved, and she found a brochure of the Hawthorne.  It appears that her mother or someone in her family had been one of the original shareholders of the hotel.  In addition to this letter below, she had an envelope that contained a brochure of the Hawthorne Hotel.

Here are images of each page of the brochure.  If you want to enlarge them simply click on the images.  We think it is great fun to see the room rates and details of the rooms from 1925.

 In researching the possible date of publication of this brochure we determined that it must date back to the opening of the Hawthorne Hotel.  The reason for this determination is that Herbert Brooks was the opening General Manager, and that the hotels that are listed as being "under construction" all opened in either 1926 or 1927, and a number of them were "conceived" in 1924 or 1925.

This is the first time we have seen this brochure in recent history (at least the last 15 years that we know of for sure) and we are thrilled to have it in our possession.  We send many "thank yous" to Rosemarie Byer for her generous donation to the Hawthorne Hotel archives.

I hope you enjoy this little bit of Hawthorne Hotel history, and of course, I hope to see you here.



  1. Anonymous9:43 AM

    I enjoyed this historical collage, and glad that The Hawthorne is still striving & thriving! What a wonderful old Hotel! ~ J.M. Johnson

  2. What a great piece of history to have in your possession! I love reading the history behind historic hotels!

    I found it rather interesting that the rooms with the tub baths were so much more expensive than the others - were bathtubs a rare commodity back when the hotel was first built? Do you know what the breakdown was on how many of each type of room were available?

  3. I am sure they were more expensive than a standing shower. In addition, the way they built the hotel, the rooms with the tubs had the "outside" view and were the larger rooms, and the ones with the standing showers were the smaller rooms with the view of the top of the kitchen roof, as they still are today.

    I do not know the breakdown of the number of different room types for the original hotel, which had 150 rooms, compared to the 89 in the hotel that we have today. Some rooms only had a sink and a toilet, some rooms had the sink, toilet and shower, some rooms had the sink, toilet and bathtub-shower combination. The ones that had no shower or tub had access to a shared tub room "down the hall" rather like being on board some kinds of ships, such as the ferry that travels up and down the Alaska coast.

  4. So when people today complain about "small bathrooms" in hotels they should have tried staying in a modern 1925 hotel, huh? ;-) If I am remembering correctly, a lot of hotels had shared baths back in the day, didn't they? I suspect that putting a bathroom in every room was a very expensive proposition.

    Are the original blueprints to the hotel still around somewhere? I bet those would be fascinating to look at and compare to the current layout if they were!

  5. Actually you are correct!

    We do have the original blueprints, but no one thought to produce "as builts" as they changed things.

    1. It would still be pretty cool to compare it "then" and "now"; I'd love to know how many of the original rooms I was staying in when I am there in a Derby room or one of the other bigger rooms that you have now. Perhaps that's something that the hotel could do for one of its upcoming big anniversaries that would make it fun for guests - or at least those of us who love history along with comfort and style! :-)

  6. Anonymous10:39 AM

    It was my honor to give this to the belongs in Salem.....the Dupuis family has been in Salem since the end of 1800' aunt would be pleased that this now belongs where it should be!....Rosemarie Finney Byer

  7. Linda -- Great idea! Maybe for our 100th birthday. Meanwhile you can easily tell how many rooms you are staying in by just counting the “doors” in the hallway.

    1. True! There are definitely more doors than rooms!