West Main Street
Grass Valley, California
Grass Valley was originally known as Boston Ravine,
later officially named Centerville
and when the post office was established in 1851,
it was renamed Grass Valley,
for unknown reasons.
Many of the first settlers
were tin miners from Cornwall, England.
They were attracted to the California gold fields
because the same skills needed for deep tin mining
were needed for hardrock (deep) gold mining.
Many of them specialized in pumping water out of very deep mining shafts.
Grass Valley, California
Grass Valley has eight designated historical landmarks,
one of which is the Holbrooke Hotel.
The Holbrooke is the oldest hotel
that has been in continuous operation
in California's Mother Lode
and the Golden Gate Saloon
is the oldest continuously operating saloon west of the Mississippi.
The original building was constructed in 1852
by Stephen and Clara Smith
as a saloon called The Golden Gate Saloon.
The following year,
a single story annex,
The Exchange Hotel,
was added at the back of the saloon.
A fire in 1855
burned down the saloon
but it was rebuilt with fieldstone and bricks.
The Exchange Hotel
also caught fire in 1862,
after which it was renovated into a two story structure
and in 1879,
it was named the Holbrooke Hotel
after the owner, D. P. Holbrooke.
Currently the hotel has 27 rooms
and is 19,400 square feet in size,
which includes a restaurant along with the Golden Gate Saloon.
The bar in the saloon
was shipped around Cape Horn.
Several notable people have stayed at the hotel including
Black Bart, "Gentleman Jim" Corbett, Lotta Crabtree, Bret Harte, Jack London, Lola Montez and Mark Twain,
and five US presidents:
Grover Cleveland, James Garfield, Ulysses S. Grant, Benjamin Harrison
and Herbert Hoover.
The reception area of the Holbrooke
Throughout the hotel's history
many reports of otherworldly spirits
According to the hotel manager
when she goes downstairs by herself,
she never feels alone
and many visitors to the hotel
have reported a presence in their rooms.
Hotel staff have reported signs of ghosts
in the hallways and in the rooms of the establishment,
tugging on the feet of guests
and unplugging electrical sockets.
One such staff member reports
her hair being pulled in Room 10,
and a guest recently complained
about a ghost sitting on top of them
as they slept.
A pet was reported to have problems
in one of the rooms,
the dog was uneasy all night.
It wouldn't rest or lay down
and the owner said
he felt a cool breeze
The card room
This past week
the Travel Channel has been investigating the hotel
for their show, "The Dead Files".
They will try to substantiate
whether these paranormal claims
are true or not
and if they are,
whether the spirits are
The Golden Gate Saloon backbar
The hosts of the show,
psychic medium Amy Allen
and former NYPD homicide detective,
will explore and then meet
with the owners
to discuss their findings.
Amy Allen sees ghosts
and she will come at night
to walk the whole hotel
and nobody can be in the building
except for her
and her cameraman.
From left to right:
Susan, Sandy, Judy (me) and Cheryl
are members of the
C..ute - S..ocial - S..ecurity - J..unkies.
We are all retirees
from the Grass Valley School District
and we've formed our club,
using the initials of each of our first names.
We meet for lunch, once a month,
at different establishments around town.
Here, we are pictured, in the dining room
of the Holbrooke Hotel.
We were hoping a rich ghost
would show up that day
and pay for our lunches,
The front entrance to the hotel
As of yet,
no air date has been set for the show,
but I will let you know
when that happens.
Just be aware
of a little tap
on your shoulder!
The stairway leading up to the rooms.
You never know
who you will meet
on your way
up to bed.
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