Saturday the Artistic One called me to ask how my impromptu gene was doing on that day. My response was that it was just fine, healthy and happy. The reason she was asking was that she had learned that it was the last day of the season for the Baldwin Hotel Museum, a place we had both said we’d like to visit. She picked me up, and off we went.
The Baldwin Hotel was built between 1900 and 1905 by George Baldwin, who was born in 1855 and died in 1920. The building was built on a hill of basalt rock, terraced and leveled by pick and shovel. Because of this, the upper floors were longer than the lower. The building was the first in town to be built of brick, and the brick was from George Baldwin’s brickyard, built specifically to manufacture bricks for this building. George Baldwin was originally a tinsmith, then a hardware store owner.
The building was opened in 1906 with the Baldwin Hardware Store on the ground floor, and the upper floors housing offices with small apartments behind the offices. George and his wife, Josephine, and their children lived in apartments in the building. In 1908 George was working to get the Southern Pacific railroad to come to Linkville (renamed in later years to Klamath Falls), and with that becoming a reality converted the building to a hotel. Quite a luxurious hotel for the times, as it had both electricity and running water.
During its time, the hotel hosted many prominent people; legend has it that Theodore Roosevelt stayed in the hotel when he made Crater Lake a national park, but that legend is questioned. Although Theodore Roosevelt had visited Crater Lake, he was not in town when he made the park designation. It is true, however, that the hotel had many visitors whose names are familiar in history.
In 1977, building codes were changed, and the hotel’s construction no longer allowed it to continue operation as a hotel. It was later purchased by the County of Klamath and turned into a museum.
Now, some photos – I must warn you, this is the first of a few days on this topic. I took 86 pictures (but no, I will not subject you to all of them!) on this tour, which was really only half a tour because they were getting ready to close and could not give us the complete showing. Perhaps next summer. In the meantime, here are the first of the photos I’ve selected to share.
The stairs leading from the lobby to the second floor. The shiny bits in the corners of each step were brass, created by George in his tinsmith mode, and installed in the corners to make them easier to clean. Unfortunately, the brass pieces needed polishing periodically – but less frequently, I am sure, than the stairs were swept.
At the top of those stairs was a landing, installed specifically to hold this “fainting couch”, made necessary by the fact that women wore tightly bound corsets, which made is difficult to breathe. Therefore, climbing stairs often left them breathless and in need of a respite. On the couch is one of those culprit corsets.
The luggage room. When the County converted the building to a museum most of these pieces of luggage were found in the luggage room. Which makes one wonder if the owners of the luggage left in a hurry, or simply forgot them.
We shall stop there for this day. I hope you’ll join me for more of the tour tomorrow.