Wolf Creek Tavern, located in Oregon, is a significant historical site. It was built around 1883 by Henry Smith, a successful local entrepreneur, and is considered to be the oldest continuously operating hotel in the Pacific Northwest10. The building is a prime example of Classical Revival architecture, a style typical of early inns in the American West10.
The tavern is representative of the stagecoach inns and hostelries associated with the early roads and trails of Oregon. While it was not an official stagecoach stop, it served as a roadside inn for travelers en route to Southern Oregon and California4. The establishment of the hotel, mercantile, and post office coincided with the completion of the Oregon and California Railroad in Wolf Creek10.
The building itself has a storied history. It was initially constructed in 18578, contrary to the often reported dates of 1868 to 1873. The tavern was used as a way station for stages traveling the California Stage Company’s Portland to Sacramento line2.
Originally this place was called a “Tavern” which in the 1800’s meant “a hotel that serves food”. Henry Smith, the builder and original owner forbad the serving of alcohol in the Wolf Creek Tavern and it was not until after prohibition that any form of alcohol was offered to the inn’s guests.
In the 1890’s the name was changed to “Wolf Creek Hotel” to better define the services provided at that time. This title remained until 1925 when John Dougal, looking to capitalize on the history of the property changed the name back to “The Wolf Creek Tavern”
The name stayed “Tavern” for the next 75 years. During the 1930’s a major remodeling occurred and the owners of the inn added a large oak bar where the Lady’s Parlor room is today. The tavern catered to the loggers, miners and roughnecks in the area serving beer and good whiskey. A pool table, pinball games and slot machines were added attractions to the facilities.
In 1972 the property was purchased by a group of “Hippies” who wanted to operate the tavern as an organic restaurant, communal residence for 70 young people and a full service bar. Frequent patrons of the Wolf Creek Tavern during this time was the local Hells Angels Motorcycle club that would ride their bikes through the bar on Saturday nights.
Pistols and guns were worn by many of the patrons at this time but they had to leave them on the coat rack at the bottom of the stairs while drinking.
The tavern has been carefully restored and is now run as an inn where guests can indeed spend the night25. The inn offers a relaxed restaurant and a cozy lounge2. It also features a speakeasy in the basement, which served as a secret bar during the Prohibition era6.
The speakeasy is open from October to April, Thursday through Saturday, serving Prohibition-era cocktails using their original recipes6.
In terms of amenities, the inn offers a restaurant that is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner to the public5. The restaurant is praised for its good menu and food13. There is also a bar/lounge where guests can relax with a drink1318.
In terms of its architectural features, the Wolf Creek Tavern is a two-story structure with a symmetrical facade, a central entrance, and a hipped roof10. The interior is characterized by its old-school, wormy-wood-everything décor1. The tavern also has a lounge with a large howling wolf statue and a good-sized dining room with booths and tables1.
The rooms are noted for their cleanliness and comfort, providing a quaint, no-frills experience that takes guests back to the late 1800s13.
Imagine yourself as a traveler along a section of the Applegate Trail in the late 1800s. You have just arrived by stagecoach to the Wolf Creek Inn, a welcome refuge from the perilous journey over mountains and across valleys. After paying 75 cents for a room, bath, and meals, you’re ready to relax. You sit down to a hot meal and some easy conversation with the innkeepers or other guests. Afterwards, the men sidle off to the tap room for some quaffs of beer while the ladies adjourn to the parlor. The conversation drifts from tales of inspirational beauty to frightful experiences of the trail.Wolf Creek Inn State Heritage Site
Wolf Creek Tavern offers a variety of accommodations for its guests. The inn has nine beautifully appointed rooms, each with a private bath and free Wi-Fi5. The rooms are individually furnished and feature separate dining and sitting areas. The beds are equipped with Egyptian cotton sheets and premium bedding for a comfortable stay1618.
The inn is pet-friendly, welcoming one dog up to 35 lbs in designated rooms (rooms 1, 2, 3, and 4) for an additional fee of $30 per stay37.However, pets must be leashed or carried while inside and outside on the grounds, and they are not allowed inside the building except in the designated guest rooms. Dogs must not be left unattended by their owners7.
Other notable guests include Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, and John Wayne4. The renowned author Jack London also stayed at the Wolf Creek Inn for several weeks in 1911 and completed his novel ‘Valley of the Moon’ in a room on the second floor2.
During his visit, Jack London finished a short story entitled “The End of the Story. The writer and his wife loved to hike the mountain trails taking along a back pack lunch for the day, paper and pen.
Jack London was so enamored by the local landscape that they named the mountain behind the inn “London Peak”
The room is decorated as one would find at a stage coach inn around the turn of the century. In 1887 you would expect a small bed, chair, dresser and wash basin. Water was brought up each night to the room by the hotel staff and placed in a pitcher. A bowl was provided in the room for the folks to “wash-up” before dinner. Light was provided by the oil lamp which was lit by the hotel staff shortly before dusk.
Note the absence of an attached bathroom as the inn had no plumbing until 1918. Before that time guests had to journey out behind the inn (about where our water tank is today) to “answer the call of nature”. The inn provided two privies, one for the gentlemen and another for the women. Each privy provided six seats and was considered quite luxurious for the day. In 1918 three shared bathrooms were installed where the “water closets” are located in the ballroom. At this time a wood burning steam boiler and radiators were installed to provide heat to the building.
Rooms in this hallway are four of the original hotel rooms. The inn was built with 16 of these rooms extending through what is the modern day ballroom and along the back walls. Almost all of the windows are original, produced in the early 1880’s and you may notice how thin the walls are between the rooms and the exterior of the building.
The Men’s Tap Room was used as a gathering place for men that were hotel guests passing though on stage or locals coming in from the mines. Card games were in order as the men talked about the issues of the day while enjoying their favorite libations and cigars.
The fireplace was used to dry the cloths and boots of those arriving by horseback or stage. You can see chipped bricks along the top of the fireplace caused by the spurs of the boots hung to dry over the warm fire. Spurs were also the cause of the dints in the wooden floor of this room.
The round game table is an original Wolf Creek Inn piece dating back to the late 1880’s. It was used to play checkers or serve as a card table. Please feel free to take a seat at the table and get a feel for the wood grains and touch a piece of history.
Please take a moment to sign our guest book. You will be adding your name to the famous names that have enjoyed the wonderful Inn just like you.
The rooms were considered very desirable for the travelers of the day. According to records from previous innkeepers, the rooms were in constant use by traveling salesmen who spent many nights here along with loggers, gold miners, businessmen and the “refined ladies of the day”.
While in this area please visit our gift shop. The items you will see here are produced by talented craftspeople who reside in the Wolf Creek area. Your support of our local artists is appreciated and your friends and relatives will enjoy a gift from a historic stage coach inn.
As you leave this area please proceed to the ballroom for additional history. At the opposite end of the ballroom, and to the left, you can proceed into the guest wing and view the guest rooms available for overnight visits. Please feel free to examine the guest rooms with open doors on either floor of the guest wing.
Thank you for visiting the Wolf Creek Inn.
As for the question of whether the hotel is haunted, there have been numerous reports of paranormal activity at the Wolf Creek Inn. The inn has been featured on TV series like “Mysteries at the Hotel” and “Ghost Adventures” as a haunted location1. Visitors and past owners have reported eerie tales and unexplained activities, with room eight being identified as the most ghostly6. Paranormal investigators and mediums have reported experiencing paranormal phenomena inside the inn, including apparitions of Jack London, a lady in the parlor, and some sort of vampire spirit9. However, these accounts are based on personal experiences and beliefs, and as such, they are subjective and not scientifically proven.
Wolf Creek Inn hosts several special events throughout the year, including holidays and other occasions. Here are some examples:
- Thanksgiving Dinner: Wolf Creek Inn offers a Thanksgiving dinner event on Thursday, November 23, 2023, from 4:30 PM to 8:30 PM2. This event is an excellent opportunity to enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving meal in a historic setting.
- Event Space: Wolf Creek Inn has three acres of picturesque grounds and a charming rustic ballroom available for events such as corporate events, family reunions, and weddings356. The ballroom can accommodate up to 50 guests, and the inn offers catering services for events3.
- Tours: The Historic Wolf Creek Inn offers tours of the building every day at 8:30 AM and 6:00 PM, Thursday through Sunday14. The tours provide an opportunity to learn about the history of Wolf Creek and the building itself.
- New Menu: Wolf Creek Inn has a new menu restaurant open Thursday through Sunday from 8:00 AM to 8:30 PM14. The restaurant offers a unique dining experience where history and luxury meet.
In summary, Wolf Creek Inn hosts several special events throughout the year, including Thanksgiving dinner, event space, tours, and a new menu restaurant. These events provide guests with a unique experience and an opportunity to enjoy the historic setting of the inn. And Wolf Creek Tavern is a significant historical site that offers a glimpse into the past, serving as a representative of the stagecoach inns and hostelries associated with the early roads and trails of Oregon. It continues to operate as an inn, offering guests the opportunity to experience its rich history firsthand.
Using the wolf inn as a base of exploring, What is noteworthy as a day excursion? Mention gold mines, fall colors, fishing and ghost towns.
Wolf Creek Inn, located in Southern Oregon, serves as an excellent base for exploring the surrounding area, which is rich in history, natural beauty, and outdoor activities. Here are some noteworthy day excursions:
- Gold Mines: The Wolf Creek Gold Mine, located near Wolf Creek, is situated within the Greenback Mining District, which has a rich historical significance28. The mining operation primarily employs placer mining techniques, focusing on extracting gold. The geological landscape of the area is characterized by the presence of the Klamath Mountains2.
- Fall Colors: Oregon is known for its stunning fall foliage. Mid- to late-October tends to showcase the best fall foliage in Oregon, although the timing varies by region39. You can check the Oregon Fall Foliage Blog for weekly updates on where to find the best fall color around the state3.
- Fishing: There are several fishing spots near Wolf Creek. Fishermen will find a variety of fish including steelhead trout, sockeye salmon, coho salmon, and cutthroat trout in the area10. Valley of the Rogue State Park, TouVelle State Recreation Site, and Illinois River Forks State Park are some of the popular fishing spots near Wolf Creek4.
- Ghost Towns: Golden State Heritage Site, located 3 miles east of Wolf Creek Inn, is now a ghost town. This once-bustling mining town included a church, general store, and school house. The entire property is listed in the National Register of Historic Places712. Visitors have reported feeling some creepy vibes when visiting the town, adding to its ghost town reputation12.
In summary, the area surrounding Wolf Creek Inn offers a variety of activities and attractions that make for interesting day excursions. Whether you’re interested in history, nature, or outdoor activities, there’s something for everyone.
Upon the path of Highway 99, Lies Wolf Creek Tavern, a sight so divine. Eight rooms of comfort, where guests may recline,
With WiFi strong, and red wine so fine, a lot of work will get done. It is Devine.
Clark Gable once rested his weary head, And Jack London wrote, in a room now filled with Halloween dread.
Stagecoaches of old, and Teslas so sleek, Both find their occupants rest here for a day or a week.
When Halloween’s moon in the sky is bright, The tavern’s beer garden is a delight. Vodka flowed freely, and laughter rang clear, In this historic inn, that after visiting, we now hold so dear.
So come, dear traveler, rest and stay, In Wolf Creek Tavern, you’ll not want to delay.