The Geiser Hotel

1996 Main St.

Baker City Or.

August 5th, 1998


One of the neat things that we experience in our travels is that we come across some small relatively unknown place or thing which is somehow forever linked to our heritage, past, or history. We had stopped in Baker City, Oregon, for a few days. This is a common thing in our travels. Sometimes the story produces the stop, and sometime the stop produces the story. We really didn't have any particular intention when we pulled in, other image-01then we had driven enough and it was time to camp. As we wandered the town, we came across a majestic building on a corner in the center of town. The crown jewel of historic downtown Baker City. The beautiful Geiser Grand Hotel was built in 1889 by the Geiser family during a gold mining boom in Eastern Oregon. The magnificent Geiser boasted a reputation as the finest image-04hotel between Salt Lake City and Seattle and served as the Baker City Stagecoach stop. People marveled at the Geiser Grand's Italian Renaissance Revival architecture. Serving as the social center of the region, virtually all travelers of means visited, mingled, and dined under the Geiser famed stained glass ceiling. Guests enjoyed such delicacies as fresh Maine Lobster and Green Turtle Soup, served by white-gloved waiters. image-02The Geiser family spared no expense in creating a showcase for the wealth they attained from the famed Bonanza gold mine. The worldly sophistication and skill of the Czechoslovakian born architect, John Benes, spilled onto the Geiser Grand. A great variety of architectural accents are featured throughout the building. Some exterior features are frieze pilasters, image-05Romanesque jambs and sashes, extensive decorative tin work pediments, ornamental keystones, cornices, chimney caps, and decorative scrolls. We sat in the dining room, below the Palm Court mezzanine, an oval area of balustrade made of cast iron, wrought metal and Honduran mahogany frames, capped by the largest stained glass ceiling in the Pacific Northwest. A place where ladies would take tea and watch the activities below. Ten foot high windows afford breathtaking views of the mountain ranges image-09around Baker City from the guest rooms. King and queen sized beds, silk damask draperies, marble tables, and gilt chairs furnish the guest rooms and suites. More than 100 Viennese crystal chandeliers grace every public area and guest rooms. Through the years the building has also been used as a brothel, a casino, and a veterans hospital. Before closing in 1968. "The movie, Paint Your Wagon was filmed here in 1968, after which the Hotel closed" said Barbara Sidway who, with her husband Dwight, recently purchased the Hotel. "It was heading for the wrecking ball at the time", she commented, but three years and six million dollars later, the Geiser Grand Hotel has reopened to accept satisfied guests for exquisite meals, and a good nights rest. Should you find yourself wandering the streets of Baker City, lunch or dinner is on our recommend list.

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