The Art Deco rejuvenation of the Mt. Baker Hotel – Cranbrook Daily Townsman
The saying that everything old is new again holds true here in Cranbrook, as the historic Mount Baker Hotel enters its second phase of revitalization and renovation.
Three years ago, Greg Eaton bought the Mount Baker Hotel on Baker Street in hopes of transforming it from a run-down, almost run-down hotel into a popular spot for businessmen.
A few years and a few hundred thousand dollars later, Eaton’s dream comes true.
“The Mount Baker Hotel was built in 1923, just after Prohibition. At the time, it was one of the better hotels, with overnight accommodation, ”Eaton explained. “The Trozzos owned it until about the year 2000, and then things started to go wrong. He walked through a series of homeowners who basically drove him into the ground. The hotel has a terrible reputation, known to be shady and neglected. We had a vision to turn the tide and saw the potential of this historic building.
According to Cranbrook Courier research records, courtesy of historian David Humphrey, the Mount Baker Hotel was built by Nils Hanson, using bricks from his own brickyard northeast of Cranbrook.
“Mount Baker Opening – The newest hotel in Cranbrook, the Mount Baker Hotel will be officially opened by its owner, Mr. Teddy Clauson, on October 31, All Saints’ Eve.” – Reads an excerpt from the Cranbrook Courier for October 26, 1923.
Records also indicate that Clauson owned and operated the hotel until March 1947, when Mr. and Mrs. WM Kenneman purchased the hotel.
It went through a series of other owners, until Ralph and Gina Trozzo bought it in 1971. They completed their own renovations, like adding another section, and owned the building until in 2002. In 1984, Ray Dube opened a hairdressing salon on the ground floor. , where he continues to cut his hair to this day.
Eaton says the hotel’s original charm and appeal is what it draws from.
When he bought the building, Eaton said there were tenants renting the place for months at a time. Its ultimate goal is to operate the hotel the same as Airbnb, with overnight rentals.
Step by step, the hotel is being renovated, each room undergoes profound changes. At present there are seven rooms which have been completely redone in an Art Deco style. Eaton says each of the renovated rooms is almost fully booked at all times. The hotel was built with bricks and fir, and this has been included in the updates.
“We want to bring this hotel back to what it was originally,” Eaton said, adding that it was Cranbrook’s only boutique hotel. “We want it to be memorable, to be an experience. Our target audience is the business traveler. It is easily accessible on foot; you don’t need a car to stay here. Each room is different and we hope that the people who stay here will remember the uniqueness of each room. ”
Eaton is heading into phase two of the renovations, having secured over $ 200,000, which will be used to replace the roof, upgrade services like plumbing and electrical, and hopefully renovate more rooms.
Many hallways feature murals and photos acquired from the Columbia Basin Trust Institute, depicting the history of the city, from the railroad to the hotel itself. Eaton says they’ve also worked with The Bedroom Furniture Galleries, to make sure each bed is comfortable and covered with high-quality linens. Each of the 28 rooms has wifi, cable and air conditioning and ranges from $ 99 to $ 200. Those who wish to stay can book through Airbnb or by calling the front desk.
Eaton adds that the renovations have gone well, aside from the typical plumbing and electrical issues that tend to be associated with older buildings.
“You know, the biggest problem we have right now is changing the stigma around what this hotel was like. We are trying to change that, ”Eaton said. “We want this to be a place where the people of Cranbrook invite their families to stay, where people who travel can enjoy their time.”
He says many of their recent clients are from Alberta, Vancouver and the rest of British Columbia, especially as travel restrictions have eased and tourism is back.
The location of the hotel is ideal, with the Soulfood restaurant just below, as well as Velvet Life and of course, Barber Ray. Not to mention the fact that it’s right on Baker Street, minutes from all of Cranbrook’s other great shopping and dining options.
“You really can’t find a better location, and Cranbrook is a fantastic town in the heart of the Kootenays. There are so many great businesses downtown and we’re happy to be a part of them, ”said Eaton.
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