St. Charles Hotel

From Lane Co Oregon

[edit] Illustrated History of Lane County, p. 440

This hostlery was first built in 1855, by Dr. Renfrew, and conducted by him until 1874, its manager during 1872-74 being D. A. Rice. In 1873 the brick building adjoining was erected and became a part of the hotel. In 1874 the property was rented by Charles Baker, who conducted it for a year; for another year it was again in the hands of Dr. Renfrew, who finally sold it to Charles Baker, who in turn exchanged it for the Astor House property with Geo. B. Dorris, who is now the proprietor. It has since been leased to various parties, the present lessee being William Hersey Watkins. The St. Charles hotel is one of the most comfortable and best conducted hotels on the Pacific Coast. There are two other hotels in the city, the "Home" and the "Star," while a third, of brick, and three stories high, has just been commenced by Charles Baker.

[edit] Eugene State Journal, September 8, 1864


Eugene City, Oregon

A. Renfrew, proprietor.

This established and popular HOTEL is open for the accommodation of travelers and the public generally.

Commodious rooms, a well supplied table, and good beds are among the inducements offered to guests at this Hotel.

The California and Oregon Stages

Have their Office at the St. Charles, and make It their point of starting and arrival.

Parties traveling in their own conveyances can have their vehicles and animals well cared for.

A. RENFREW, Proprietor.

Eugene City, Sept. 8. 1864, 28-tf

[edit] Knights of the Whip, p, 89

From Robinett's Station the stage road led north twelve miles, through boggy Camas Swale, to Eugene City on the Willamette River. Here the stages stopped at Dr. Renfrew's St. Charles Hotel. Later in the 19th century, historian A.G. Walling would say the St. Charles was "one of the most comfortable and best conducted hotels on the Pacific Coast... Large maples shaded the front of the hotel, and Mrs. Tirildy Renfrew's good meals could be enjoyed inside for 25 cents.

In 1927, 83-7ear-old Edward J. McClanahan, the famous "whip" of Staging Days, reminisced to an interviewer about his acquaintance with the historic old hotel. In the late 1860s Big Ed had the stage run between Eugene City and Oakland, a distance of 57 miles, which he drove each day going alternate directions. When his stage had covered the distance from Oakland, through the mud and ruts and corduroy, uphill and down, he arrived in Eugene City, and , with a flourish, swung up under the maples before the St. Charles. Ed said sometimes he had eight or ten passengers, occasionally twenty on a big Concord, and sometimes only one. Whatever the number, they always ate supper at the St. Charles, where "Aunt Tirildy" Renfrew had a good, big pioneer meal waiting for them. And there the drivers ate.

The passengers unloaded, McClanahan would drive down to the large stage barn at Broadway and Charnelton, go around to the back entrance and swing his four or six grays inside to be exchanged for a fresh team.

The St. Charles was torn down after a fire on March 2, 1960. The site of the St. Charles Hotel is on the northeast corner of Broadway and Willamette, on the Mall in Eugene. The hotel site is now occupied by a bank and Hoffman's Jewelry Store.

The site of the stage barn is on the southeast corner of Broadway and Charnelton Streets, where B. Dalton Books and Olympic Outfitters now stand.

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