Treasure-hunters swarm Grass Valley’s Holbrooke Hotel for ‘estate sale’ |

Treasure-hunters swarm Grass Valley’s Holbrooke Hotel for ‘estate sale’

A once-in-a-lifetime “estate sale” of the furnishings from the 150-year-old Holbrooke Hotel drew hundreds of bargain hunters to downtown Grass Valley Saturday morning.

The sale was intended to clear the rooms ahead of a massive renovation project for both the main building and the Purcell House, which sits behind the iconic structure on West Main Street.

The Holbrooke, and the National Exchange Hotel in Nevada City, are being renovated by Santa Barbara-based Acme Hospitality in partnership with Eastern Real Estate, the owner of both properties.

The decision to shutter the Holbrooke temporarily was made so that upgrades could be done more efficiently, according to Erin Lewis, who is handling outreach for the project. No reopening date has been set.

All of the proceeds from the estate sale were earmarked for Yuba River Charter School. Approximately 20 school parents volunteered to help with pricing, moving furniture, loading vehicles, baking and cleaning. Local estate sale host Paul Matson donated his time to run the sale.

“There were 200 people lined up” when he opened the doors, Matson said, adding that goods from furniture to paintings to Christmas decorations were available for purchase in four large rooms downstairs, as well as in all of the hotel rooms up on the second floor.

“Everything was priced to sell,” he said. “By noon, it was slim pickings.”

Not everything went, however. Matson credited design coordinator Bri Ingram with doing an “excellent” job of selecting which historically significant items she wanted to retain for the hotel’s revamp. By 3 p.m., almost everything had been cleared out and people were returning for the send-off party in the bar, with music provided by Ragged but Right and food and wine from the Holbrooke team.

“We had a blast,” said Nevada City resident Louise McFadden. “We had to come get a little bit of history.”

Ingram, who organized the fundraiser, said the sale went very well, adding that anything left over Sunday would be free for Camp Fire survivors. She is an alumna of Yuba River Charter School and currently has a kindergartner at the school.

The sale raised $5,000 for the school, said Logan Edwards, president of the Yuba River Charter School Educational Foundation.

“Yuba River Charter School has always incorporated organic farming and a practical arts program into their curriculum and the land at the new campus holds an amazing opportunity to expand and put down roots,” Edwards said in a press release. “The money raised at this estate sale is being donated to support the farm education program, and to develop the onsite organic farm that will grow fruits and vegetables to be eaten by children in the school lunch program.”

Contact reporter Liz Kellar at 530-477-4236 or by email at

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