Cary House Hotel
03/31/2009 05:00PM ● Published by Super Admin
William Cary founded the Cary House in 1857. The hotel originally had 77 guest rooms with luxuries of its time like a bathroom on each floor, hot and cold running water, and a brick exterior which was the safest due to its fireproof quality. During the historic building’s early years, the Cary House served as a stage stop for the Wells Fargo Lines and welcomed pioneers traveling through old Placerville. During the Washoe silver excitement, $90,000,000 in bullion allegedly passed through the doors, and $600 worth of gold was discovered in the basement in the early 1900s.
The blue crystal displayed behind the front desk is actually locked, as it is poisonous and for decoration only. The original logbook for the hotel hides money from the Civil War underneath and includes Mark Twain’s signature. Other famous past guests include President Grant, Betty Davis, John Studebaker, and politician Horace Greeley whom reportedly addressed the miners in Old Hangtown from the Cary House iron balcony in 1859. Brooke Shields and Lou Diamond Phillips are more recent famous visitors.
The Cary House saw many different owners and in 1915 the original building was completely rebuilt and renamed Hotel Placerville. In 1926, it became the Raffles Hotel and it was not until the late 1970s when Doug and Peggy Milton began a restoration process that the name was changed back to the original Cary House.
Visitors can ride the famous old elevator, the second oldest operating elevator west of the Mississippi, built in 1926. There is also a mysterious safe in one of the hallways with a missing combination. Even the hotel owners do not know what hides within it.
The hotel has two meeting facilities that are able to accommodate about 60 guests each; one of which is an elegant outdoor courtyard called The Fountain Plaza, which is draped with 90-year-old ivy.
The Cary House Hotel sits at the end of the now busy and narrow Main Street, and is a hop, skip and a jump away from many specialty boutiques, cafés, beer and wine tasting rooms, books, and ice cream.
For more information on the Cary House Hotel, visit caryhousehotel.com.