Research Inquiry: Meadowbrook Hotel

One of the Museum’s research inquiries this month was for information on where the Meadowbrook Inn or Hotel was located.

Built by the Hop Ranch Growers’ Association around 1884 to act as a summer hotel for tourists and business men to the upper Snoqualmie Valley, it operated for about 16 years. The Snoqualmie Hop Ranch and Snoqualmie Falls was being promoted internationally as a grand destination for those wanting a wilderness experience, though the hotel register is filled with the whose-who of famous Seattle residence of the time. Visitors fished and boated along the Snoqualmie River, were taken on hunting trips, toured the Snoqualmie Hop Ranch in a hack (a type of horse carriage).

Part of an 1889 drawing of the Hop Ranch showing the hotel in the bottom right quarter.

The Hop Growers’ Association had purchased 1200 acres of the upper Snoqualmie Valley in 1882 from Jeremiah Borst and his wife Kate Kanim Borst. The land included the Snoqualmie Prairie which was the largest of the Snoqualmie Tribe’s traditionally tended prairies, at least one Snoqualmie Village, the site of Fort Alden, Jeremiah Borst’s first orchard, along with many other very important sacred and historic sites. The association then commenced creating the Snoqualmie Hop Ranch which they billed as the World’s Largest Hop Ranch and to create amenities to attract workers, tourists and finance to the area. The Hop Ranch Hotel (later Meadowbrook Inn or Meadowbrook Hotel) was one of these amenities.

Hardware from the hotel in Museum’s collection.
Frame of mirror from the hotel, image courtesy of Bob Antone.

Constructed of clear old-growth logs, in 2″x6″ timbers. Laths of 8′ by 5/8″ thick were then finished in plaster. Ceiling joists were rough 2″x12″ timbers and the floor fine vertical grain fir 1.5″ thick. Some boards 28′ long. Nails were used through out and it featured lead plumbing considered a luxury. The ceilings were centered with elaborate fixtures holding a hook from which kerosene lamps hung. Wide 3 piece molding topped the walls and bordered the ceilings with two-toned wainscoting finishing the lower floor rooms.

There were two larger and ten smaller rooms on each floor of the upper two stories, totaling 24 rooms for guests. There was one indoor bathroom on the main floor and some rooms even featured wash bowls.

Rooms were furnished with oak furniture and wall to wall carpet. The Parlor had walnut furniture covered in horse-hair fabric that was shipped around the Horn.

The hotel closed around 1904 about the time the hop ranch was sold to A.W. Pratt. It was then used until the 1940s as a bunk house for Meadowbrook Farm workers. In the late 1940s Bert Willard bought the building and in 1949, he and some mill workers he hired tore the hotel down to salvage the lumber. The chandelier was salvaged and sold to a woman in Portland for her home. Other fixtures and furniture were salvaged within the community. The Museum has some of the fixtures.

Hotel in 1949 just prior to being torn down.

Today just over 800 of the original 1200 acres of Meadowbrook is preserved as park land but some of the land was sold and developed over time. In the 1920s the town of Meadowbrook was built on part of the property. Since the 1950s multiple schools have been built on the farm and on the North Bend end of the farm many businesses have been developed on parts of the property.

So where exactly was the Meadowbrook Hotel?

We know that the Meadowbrook Hotel was in the area that most people think of when they think of the Meadowbrook, but that in itself is still a big area. We know from the images to the right that the hotel was located along the south side of Park St and fairly close to the river. We know from the drawing at the top of the page that the hotel was located west of Meadowbrook Way as the barn in the image was also west of Meadowbrook Way. Verbal descriptions of the location tell us that it was on property that is now part of the Mount Si High School campus, but that is still a large tract of land. Where exactly was the hotel? For more specifics, we are lucky that part of it shows up on a Sanborne Fire Insurance map of Snoqualmie.

Meadowbrook Hotel on Park St.
Meadowbrook Hotel on left just peaking through the trees.
1926 Sanborne Map, courtesy of King County Library system.
Aerial view of Meadowbrook.

In this 1926 map, the hotel is shown in the upper left corner, south of Park St listed as farm bunk 110. We can then look at a current map of the area to try and determine the exact location. Also on the 1926 map is the later Meadowbrook Hotel now known as the Colonial Square Apartments, the garage which still stands, along with several other of the town buildings. In the upper left corner by the number 4 is also a house that still stands. With all of these markers it suggests that the hotel would have been around the new driveway. To double check this, we can actually over lay the map to the aerial view to match up the locations. Though the scale is not 100% accurate, the overlay does strongly suggest the hotel was roughly right where the new driveway to the high school is located.

Overlay of Sanborne map and aerial view.