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Wolf Creek Inn Closes for Repairs While Seeking Concessionaire

 

The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department has closed the Wolf Creek Inn State Heritage Site for repairs while it searches for a new concessionaire.  The state originally closed the inn in October to install fire suppression sprinklers, but dropped plans to reopen this spring when it lost its concessionaire.

Located on Interstate 5 between Roseburg and Grants Pass, the inn dates back to 1883 when merchant-entrepreneur Henry Smith built what was first known as the Wolf Creek Tavern.  It served travelers along the old Applegate Trail, and was an important stop on the 16-day stagecoach journey from San Francisco to Portland before the Oregon and California railroad cut through the Siskiyou Mountains in 1887. 

Believed to be the oldest continuously operated hotel in the Pacific Northwest, it is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.  The state acquired and restored the former stage coach station between 1975 and 1979. 

The Grants Pass Daily Courier said the surprise closing was a blow for the Wolf Creek rural community that provides cooks, waiters and housekeepers for the inn.

The inn is expected to reopen with a new concessionaire, possibly by the spring of 2016.

 

Sources: Hall, Shaun, Grants Pass Daily Courier. "Wolf Creek Inn closed for the year." Mail Tribune 9 June 2015 [Medford,Ore.] , local ed.: A3+. Print; "Wolf Creek Inn State Heritage Site." Oregon State Parks Nature History Discovery. Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, 5 June 2015. Web. 9 June 2015. .

Kernan Turner is the Southern Oregon Historical Society’s volunteer editor and coordinator of the As It Was series broadcast daily by Jefferson Public Radio. A University of Oregon journalism graduate, Turner was a reporter for the Coos Bay World and managing editor of the Democrat-Herald in Albany before joining the Associated Press in Portland in 1967. Turner spent 35 years with the AP before retiring in Ashland.