Our View: Holbrooke, National hotels are boons to downtown | TheUnion.com

Our View: Holbrooke, National hotels are boons to downtown

The Union Editorial Board

The people watching is pretty good at the Holbrooke Hotel.

Thankfully, it appears it’ll stay that way.

The pending sale of the historic downtown Grass Valley hotel to Jordan Fife is a boon to our area. Fife, who also purchased the National Hotel in Nevada City, has said he’ll renovate both hotels and keep them operating.

These changes aren’t merely transactions of ownership from one person to another. The hotels are monuments of our community, landmarks of our downtowns that anchor our history and story in place.

Without them, we’d be as lost as the ghosts that supposedly wander the halls of these brick-and-mortar icons.

Fife is taking a risk by purchasing these hotels, as any investor does. He deserves our thanks and well wishes. After all, his success is ours as well.

But let’s not overlook those hoteliers who operated both properties for years. We must commend Tom Coleman and Ernie Kehn at the National and Ian Garfinkel at the Holbrooke. They, and those who came before them, acted as business people as well as caretakers of community resources that existed long before we did. Hopefully these hotels will continue to dominate our downtowns for decades after we’ve left.

The greatest success we can hope for is that people a century from now will sit at the National and Holbrooke hotels and watch passersby while away an afternoon.

Some people might wonder why the renovation and operation of two hotels in different cities have value to them personally. These are properties passing hands, as they’ve done many times since first constructed.

We’d be wise to support these hotels, both vocally and financially. The Holbrooke and National are vital to our downtowns. All our local businesses are important to the vitality of our cities, and these hotels help them succeed. They provide the space for locals and visitors alike to eat, drink and sleep and then explore what our towns and county offers.

The hotels don’t just draw tourists here. They draw attention. They build memories and reputations.

How many of you still mention the National Hotel was featured in “The Christmas Card,” a 2006 movie, when family is in town? How many visitors do you think visit our county because of that movie?

And how many people decide to spend just a bit more time in Nevada County once they see what we’ve got to offer?

The beauty and history of our downtown historic buildings casts a spell on residents and tourists — an incantation that lasts year-round.

For those of you not under that spell, visit the hotels when you can. Sit at the bar or by a window, sipping a cool drink as a hot sun heats the nearby concrete.

Or wait until temperatures calm and the sky promises snow. Step into a movie scene featuring either Victorian or Cornish Christmas.

The Holbrooke and National hotels loom above you. Around you people move in costume, offering hot cocoa or candy.

Take a moment to watch the passersby as they walk down the street or enter the hotel. The people and the buildings, the hotels that act as lifeblood through our towns, are part of the patchwork that makes our county unique.

Feel welcome. You’ve come home.

Our View is the consensus opinion of The Union Editorial Board, a group of editors and writers from The Union, as well as informed community members. Contact the board at EditBoard@TheUnion.com.

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