Remembering the Woodland Hotel

As devastating as the fire of 1925 was to the downtown area of Forks, taking out most of the buildings on the east side of the main street. It did offer an opportunity for some new “modern” construction. One of those new and modern buildings was the Woodland Hotel.

The large three-story building once stood at the corner of Calawah Way and Mainstreet. It was built by the Siegfried brothers and opened in July 1925, just six months after the fire.

An ad in a publication in 1927 boasts its clean and modern rooms with hot and cold running water in every room.

By 1976, time and loggers had taken a toll on the structure. Due to safety concerns, by the local fire department, the once-popular hotel had changed its status to a boarding house. By ‘76 it was the kind of place where a “guest” might start his chainsaw in his room at 2 a.m. in the morning.

It had become a much-needed home for single loggers. The Hotel had 41 rooms and the weekly cost was $70. The street floor cafe packed lunches for those working in the woods.

Over the years Mainstreet had been widened so many times that the front porch of the old building was almost in the traffic lane.

On November 19, 1976, a fire was spotted in the building at about 1:30 a.m. by Forks Police officer Dave Anderson. By 4 a.m. the fire was brought under control. Thanks to the work of the Forks and Beaver Fire Departments and ladders all in the building were rescued from the second-story rooms. The third-floor tenants made it to the second floor where they were rescued. One man jumped from the second floor.

After the fire, members of the Fire Departments rummaged through the rooms to find the tenant’s boots and work clothes. Most of the tenants made it to work by 6 a.m.

The only injury was to a tenant who cut his hand breaking a window so he could escape.

Fire Chief, at the time, Phil Arbeiter credited his department’s training in how the fire was fought and the fact there was no loss of life. Two fire trucks and 15 volunteers fought the fire.

The once beautiful hotel was a total loss and the lot remains vacant today.

The Woodland Hotel Bar around 1932.

The Woodland Hotel Bar around 1932.

The nearly new hotel around 1930.

The nearly new hotel around 1930.