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Medford Hotel Celebrates 100th Anniversary

The building that opened as the Barnum Hotel celebrated its 100th anniversary this year as the Grand Apartments, which provides subsidized, affordable housing on the corner of Front and Fifth streets in Medford, Ore.

The hotel originally housed salesmen arriving at the nearby railroad depot, now home of Porter’s Restaurant.

William S. Barnum, founder of the Rogue Valley Railroad between Medford and Jacksonville, hired Architect Frank Clark to design the building, constructed during 1914 and 1915.  Clark designed other prominent Medford buildings.

The hotel changed names and owners several times, becoming the Hotel Austin in 1916 and the Grand Hotel in 1927.  The building survived several fires over the years and officials declared it unsafe in 1984.  That’s when two Salt Lake City developers bought it, got it placed on the National Register of Historic Places and created apartments for low-income residents. The Jackson County Housing Authority bought the building in 2009 and refurbished it as the four-story, 26-unit Grand Apartments.

The Medford Mail Tribune quoted historian George Kramer as saying the hotel was built “when the railroad was still the major way to get to town.  The automobile hadn’t taken over yet.”

Source: Boom, Tony. "100th Anniversary Working man's hotel." Mail Tribune 19 Nov. 2015 [Medford, Ore.] , local ed.: A3. Print.

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.