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The old becomes new again: Adelaide's Comes to the Taylor Hotel

by rahul kumar 10 months ago in travel

For as long as anyone can recall, the Taylor Hotel has dominated the Bay Avenue streetscape in the heart of Ocean Park

New owner Cyndy Hayward learned early on and first-hand that the hotel has a special significance to peninsula residents. As soon as work on the building began, community members "rallied round" in support of efforts to restore the building and bring its original owner back into the public eye. Yes, "Adelaide's" is coming to town - named in honor of Mrs. William Taylor who, with her husband, opened the Taylor House as a hotel and boarding house in 1887.

Now, 121 years later, Adelaide's will utilize the spacious first floor of the Taylor Hotel as a bookstore and café. "It will feature an espresso bar with comfortable seating and a variety of good magazines and newspapers for customers to peruse. I hope it will be a place where people feel free to just come and hang out," says Cyndy.

The bookstore will be located beyond the café, toward the back of the building. There, browsers will be welcome to read and discuss the latest works of fiction and non-fiction. In one corner, brightly painted with a mural by Seattle artist Quill Teal-Sullivan, children will find their very own section of shelves - just the right height for easy selection - with whimsical carpeting to curl up on.

"Even though Adelaide's will handle only new books," Cyndy points out, "so many people have suggested 'must have' titles that I couldn't resist increasing my original idea of 3,000 books; we'll be opening with many more than that!"

Her plans also include evening events - poetry readings, book club meetings, a weekly jazz night, a place for the local astronomy group to meet, perhaps evening monthly foreign films. "I think Adelaide's will take on its own persona," says Cyndy. "I look forward to it filling a needed niche, especially for north-enders."

Cyndy's interest in the building began a few years ago. "Jimella Lucas was looking for a space to open her fish market and community store. She and I were looking at various possibilities and she pulled up in front of the Taylor Hotel. It wasn't even listed but Jimella had heard through the grapevine that the owners were considering selling the building. She decided it wouldn't work for her, but I was absolutely smitten! I felt that it was a building that needed to be saved; that needed to be used. So I approached the owners, Mr. and Mrs. K. C. Rogers, who had long since left the Peninsula, we negotiated, and the planning was underway!

A Community Hub"As soon as the various workmen started, people began dropping by to ask what was going on and to make suggestions and offers of help. The interest has been truly remarkable - offers to assist with book selection, to do needed landscaping, to provide evening events. The tiles facing the barista's counter were done by Sandy Bradley of Nahcotta; much of the artwork on the walls is by recent Espy Foundation residents. Even the name was suggested by a friend! Adelaide's is already feeling like a community hub," Cyndy enthuses.

The work on the old building has been an adventure in itself. During the stabilization and restoration of the structure, many old-fashioned ("home grown," says Cyndy) construction techniques were discovered. The 'posts' of the pier and post foundation were actually tree stumps.

"Many of the ceiling joists just ended; they didn't go anywhere or attach to anything," she says. "And, over the years the floor beams had tilted had pulled away from the outer walls. It took the workmen's incredible ingenuity and skill to correct that problem!

"The inner walls were beautiful, clear hand-hewn one by tens - fir I think - put together with square nails throughout. They were overlaid with cheesecloth on which were layers and layers of Victorian patterned wallpaper."

Original Front Door Cyndy's eyes sparkle as she asks visitors, "Did you notice the front door? We believe it's the original. And etched on the glass is 'Taylor House.' The Rogers removed it when they left the peninsula and had it carefully stored until such time as it would be needed. The time has come!

"Except for necessary repairs and a fresh coat of paint, we've left the outside of the building alone. The inside, though, was a rabbit warren of little rooms, much changed from the original floor plan. We essentially gutted all of that and opened up the first floor. It will be a friendly space filled with the fragrance of coffee and new books and with cozy furniture inviting you to stay awhile."

No doubt the original Adelaide would have been pleased with that concept. During the years that she owned and operated the hotel, from 1887 to the mid-1930s, the building often served important community functions, from providing housing for shipwrecked sailors to hosting fund-raising activities for local and regional projects. The first street lights in Ocean Park were financed largely through proceeds from card parties held at the Taylor Hotel - "Admission 50 cents per person, 75 cents per couple; refreshments included."

Rooms were mostly rented by the week or the month during the summer, though there were always a few year-round residents as well. In the 1930s, a week's room and board was $10 per person.

The Taylor family (which included nine children, seven of whom lived to maturity) had their living quarters downstairs. The first floor also contained the kitchen and a large dining room where guests ate meals prepared with vegetables and berries grown in Adelaide's large garden behind the hotel.

"According to family stories, Adelaide had two big wood cookstoves in her kitchen," says her great-great granddaughter, Paula Cooper, of Ocean Park. "The tops of both stoves would be literally covered with clams or oysters when she was cooking dinner for the hotel restaurant. And everything she served was fresh, fresh, fresh!"

When the Ilwaco Railway began its Ilwaco to Nahcotta run in 1889 and access to peninsula towns grew easier, it soon became apparent that the six upstairs guest rooms would not be up to tourist demand. The Taylors lost no time in building a 36-room annex to the east of the hotel. The annex was finally torn down in 1931, the lumber salvaged and used to build five little cabins across the street from the hotel. Now, too, the cabins are but a memory.

Ocean Park PioneersAdelaide and William ("Bill") Taylor moved to the Ocean Park area in 1886, just three years after the town's beginnings, but before it was officially named. They had most recently been residents of Oysterville where William had worked for Lewis Loomis as stagecoach driver and had also served as sheriff and assessor of Pacific County in the early 1880s. In Oysterville they lived at the corner of Territory and Weatherbeach Roads where the stage line had its terminus and where Adelaide served as the community's midwife.

Like many of the early settlers in the area, William had already had what might be considered a colorful past. Born in 1845 in Chautauqua County, N.Y., he had lived in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Kansas and California and had worked as a miner, farmer and railsplitter before arriving in Pacific County in 1876 at the age of 31. Here he met Adelaide Stuart and began to think about "settling down."

Unlike her intended, Adelaide was a Pacific County native, born in Bruceport. Her mother, a member of the Quinault tribe, had married a white man, a practice disapproved of by the Quinaults at that time. Therefore, Adelaide's family had moved to the area of the Chinooks who held no such taboo against intermarriage.

Long-time Ocean Park resident Adelle Beechey remembers Adelaide as "a tiny little woman" who was still running the hotel in 1936 when Adelle moved to town. "Her daughter, Mary, was about my age. We had gone to school together in Ilwaco."

According to some reports, Adelaide and Bill Taylor moved to the area that would become Ocean Park in an effort to get away from the rowdy, boom-town atmosphere of Oysterville four miles to the north. They settled not far from today's Ocean Park cemetery and soon established a large vegetable garden - a garden which would continue to supply produce for the Taylor family and their hotel patrons for nearly 50 years.

The Methodist Camp Ground Perhaps their bountiful garden was in part responsible for the Taylors' first commercial venture in Ocean Park - a restaurant. Undoubtedly, it was the first eating establishment in the three-year-old settlement which, in those early days, was still owned and managed by the Ocean Park Camp Meeting Association of the Methodist Episcopal Church in Portland.

The Association had purchased 250 acres of land having three-quarters of a mile of water frontage on the ocean beach. Its purpose was to provide a Christian summer resort for its members. According to the articles of incorporation, each of its members received a perpetual lease on the land and all were prohibited from manufacturing or drinking any kind of alcoholic beverage and from engaging in prostitution or gambling. Known familiarly as "The Methodist Camp Ground," the area was named Ocean Park in 1888.

By then, the Association was beginning to allow "outsiders" to purchase property. The record is silent on whether the Taylors were members of the Association when they purchased the property for their restaurant and, a year later, for their hotel. However, once the Taylor Hotel was up and running, they sold the restaurant which then became the first Methodist Chapel in Ocean Park.

After William Taylor died in 1919, Adelaide remarried. She continued to run the hotel until well into the 1930s and it was not until her death in 1940 that the Taylor Hotel was sold and passed out of the family.

During its long history, the hotel saw many changes in Ocean Park, particularly with regard to transportation. When the Taylors first established their business in 1886, guests arrived by the Loomis Stagecoach which travelled on the hard beach sands from Ilwaco to Oysterville. It is easy to speculate that the Taylors located their hotel close to the beach with that stagecoach in mind. William Taylor had undoubtedly "delivered" many a passenger to the Methodist Camp Grounds during his years as a stage driver.

Within three years, however, the enterprising Loomis had built his narrow gauge railroad and travelers came north from Ilwaco in the relative comfort of the train. Many are the stories of the crowds that gathered at the Ocean Park Depot on summer weekends awaiting the arrival of the Friday evening "Papa Train" - so called because of the numbers of men who came from Portland each week to join their vacationing families at the beach. A 'baggage man' would meet the train with his horse and wagon, load up all the luggage, and deliver it to the hotel and to various summer homes and boarding houses.

By the 1920s, automobiles were becoming increasingly popular and local residents began putting their efforts into the establishment of roads to "the outside." Again, the Taylor Hotel played its part, hosting fund-raisers to benefit construction of the K.M. highway from Longview to Long Beach - the road now known as Washington State Route 4.

Since its closure as a hotel, the venerable old building has housed art galleries, a coffee shop, an arts and crafts co-op, a re-sale clothing store and, for a short while, apartments on the second floor.

"I am so grateful to the Rogers for being careful stewards of the property during their twenty years of ownership," says Hayward. "Although there was a great deal of work to be done to bring the building back to life in the twenty-first century, the 'bones' were kept intact. It is a grand old building.

"We plan to open on for business within the next few weeks. Leigh Wilson of Oysterville will be operating the bookstore portion of Adelaide's and Jason Anderson of Ocean Park will serve as barista in the café. No doubt, I'll be somewhere on the premises, as well, back in my little office or just hanging out, enjoying a cup of great coffee and a good book!

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rahul kumar

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