The date of Aug. 8, 1988, may ring a bell for those people living in or near Medford, Oregon, for that day is remembered as the day a fire destroyed the Hotel Medford.
Built in 1911, the hotel was designed by architect Frank C. Clark and stood an impressive five stories tall in downtown Medford. The hotel was spectacular in its day, with crystal chandeliers, an elegant dining room, a marble fireplace, a men’s lounge, and even a rooftop garden. Hotel Medford was “the” place to be and to be seen. The rooms even had such modern conveniences as long distance telephone service, electric elevators, and cold storage in the kitchen.
During the orchard boom of the early 1900s, many wealthy people stayed at the hotel and elaborate parties were an ongoing event.
A sixth floor was added in 1933, but the Depression years hit the hotel hard. Things turned around for the hotel from time to time, but the glamour and glitz never returned, and on Aug. 8, 1988, the fire wiped out all but the memories.
The hotel was rebuilt and is now home to many people who rent apartments in the building.
Source: Oliver, Michael E. “Hotel Medford Echoes of Grandeur.” Table Rock Sentinel, September/October 1988.
— As It Was is a co-production of Jefferson Public Radio and the Southern Oregon Historical Society. As It Was stories are broadcast weekdays on Jefferson Public Radio and are available online at asitwas.org.