Don’t forget to stop by the Old Hotel Art Galley, located at 33 East Larch Street, this weekend during Othello’s Centennial celebration. The structure, built in 1912, housed workers on the Milwaukee rail lines.
“A lot of the people here probably know the history of the hotel, but it is important to note we are almost 100 years old,” Sally Laufer, manager, Old hotel and Art Gallery, said. “It’s the only railroad associated structure left in Othello and the surrounding areas.”
The hotel also housed locals and the occasional travelers who ventured to town.
“It was the thriving place to be,” Laufer said. “The depot was located just across the street.”
In 1895, President Grover Cleveland awarded a patent to the Northern Pacific Railroad Company to build the hotel on the land it currently sits on. Ownership of the property exchanged hands five times over the next 11 years. In 1906, a man who went by the name of Sherman bought the site and adjoining land for seven cents and acre and sold it to the Spokane and St. Paul Land Company for $12 an acre.
Ten months later, the Western Townsite Company purchased the property and transferred it to the Milwaukee Land Company to use for a railroad right of way. In 1909, the Milwaukee Railroad was established in Othello and its tracks defined the western edge of Othello townsite.*
Events happening at the hotel during the centennial weekend include a free art class in the new children’s art center building for children and adults from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., an antique car club will line the parking lot and perimeter of the building with old cars, the Old Time Fiddlers will appear from 1 to 2 p.m. and the Andy Sulzman band will perform throughout the weekend.
The Old Hotel Cafe will also be serving samples of authentic railroad chili.
“We’ll give everyone a little taste …. Sort of an appetizer when they come in to eat,” Laufer said. “Linda Boothman and I will be cooking it. We got the recipe from a fellow who made railroad chili. He called it Ken’s authentic railroad chili. People would come from everywhere to eat it.”
People who come to the Old Hotel and Art Gallery will also be able to see the new organic garden recently planted.
“Master Gardeners Terri Rice and Linda Crossier did a marvelous job,” Laufer said.
The Old Hotel and Art Galley is open to the public, but is a not-for-profit business, so it depends on commerce conducted by those who visit.
“We can also rent out the art center for reunions or birthday parties and get togethers,” Laufer said.