Grass Valley’s Holbrooke Hotel featured on Travel Channel |

Grass Valley’s Holbrooke Hotel featured on Travel Channel

Photo for The Union by John Hart
John Hart | The Union

One of Grass Valley’s most prominent historic landmarks is reportedly poised for a televised makeover, according to the Holbrooke Hotel’s owner.

“I am really excited about it,” said owner Ian Garfinkel, who purchased the hotel in 2010.

“They are also going to feature a lot of stuff about Grass Valley,” Garfinkel said in a phone call to The Union. “I think it is going to be good for the community.”

Hotel Impossible” is a reality makeover television show focused on turning around struggling hotels and first aired in April 2012.

“Each episode features a hotel that is having problems or is not living up to its potential,” according to the show’s website.

The crew from the show will film from Feb. 27 through March 5, said Travel Channel spokeswoman Caryn Davidson in a phone call to The Union.

Billed as California’s oldest continually operating hotel, the Holbrooke is a Grass Valley landmark with signs flagging Highway 49 commuters to the historic vestige at mileposts heading into the city’s borders. The hotel was founded in 1851, and its present structure was built in 1862 following an infamous fire, according to the Nevada County Historical Landmarks Commission.

The hotel garnered California Historic Landmark designation in 1978. Its visitors have included presidents Ulysses S. Grant, James Garfield, Benjamin Harrison, Grover Cleveland and Herbert Hoover, according to the Grass Valley Downtown Association, as well as Mark Twain, among many others.

The hotel includes 17 antique-furnished rooms in the main building and 11 additional rooms in the rear “annex,” known as the Purcell House.

The Holbrooke’s iconic bar has been in continuous operation since 1852, when it operated as the Golden Gate Saloon.

While lodging at the Holbrooke is popular among out-of-town history and antique lovers, the bar and banquet rooms are frequented primarily by local residents. Clubs such as Rotary and the Mining Council host regular meetings in the banquet rooms, one of which can hold more than 200 people.

The Holbrooke has had some past experience in front of the camera. In February 2012, Texas Outback Productions reportedly rented out the whole hotel to film a females-hosted ghost show to pitch to networks. What happened to that show remains to be seen.

But the hotel has no shortage of paranormal folklore. Local haunted-tour guide Mark Lyon tells stories of inexplicably shaken doorknobs to locked and vacant rooms and of ghastly stacked furniture blocking stairways.

To contact Staff Writer Christopher Rosacker, email or call (530) 477-4236.

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