The famous 1906 brick hotel was once called the "Mayo Clinic of the West" and attracted visitors and patients from around the world
Hot Lake's heyday lasted into the mid 1930's until a devastating fire in 1934 destroyed all wooden structures, but the 1906 brick building survived.
On May 7, 1934, a fire destroyed the majority of the building's right side, completely demolishing the wooden structures of the hotel but the brick portion of the building survived. The building had contained nearly 300 rooms and dining areas for over 1,000 guests prior to the fire. From then on, business at the hotel declined, and eventually the hospital area on the third floor was the only functioning business.
A flight school and nurse's training center was established at the hotel during World War II, and U.S. Route 30 was later built, with Oregon Route 203 branching off of it and running right by the front of the hotel grounds. The attraction of the complex declined in later years, and its use as a resort came to a halt in 1953 when it was converted solely to a nursing home, and later an asylum. By 1975, ownership of the building had changed, and a short-lived restaurant and night club was opened, which only ran for two years.
In the mid-1980s, Dr. Lyle Griffith purchased the property and used one corner of the hotel as a bath house; within a few years the bath house closed down, and the hotel was abandoned, falling prey to local vandals and the elements.
The building sat abandoned and decrepit for over fifteen years, and various stories circulated concerning reported hauntings in the hotel's it has been rumored to be haunted by old vacationers, a gardener who committed suicide, and insane people from the building's nursing home/asylum days. When the hotel was originally constructed it acquired a piano formerly owned by Robert E. Lee's wife, which was said to play all by itself up on the third floor. Other reports of screaming and crying were reported by owner Donna Pattee and caretaker Richard Owens coming from the hospital's surgery room, as well as rocking chairs moving at their own accord; Pattee and her husband owned the property in the 1970s when it was a restaurant; both they and Owens lived on the second floor of the building at the time.
Books on the history of the Hot Lake Hotel are available in our office from author Dick Roth.