Guide to the St. George Hotel Collection (1899-1984) – History

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The St. George Hotel was built in 1897 by Anson Hotaling. Anson Hotaling was a San Francisco real estate developer, and in the mining and whiskey distilling business. He was a frequent visitor to Santa Cruz. He built on the original hotel site the Pacific Ocean House. The Pacific Ocean House and other local businesses (People’s Bank, Tanner’s Drug Store, Jonas’ Brothers Clothing and Mrs. Howard Antrim’s boarding house) were burned to the ground in 1894. Mr. Hotaling built the St. George Hotel on this location.


Anson Hotaling spared no expense building this new, modern hotel in Santa Cruz. He recruited an Italian craftsman to live in Santa Cruz to install a Primitive Mosaic Tile floor. He also recruited a German Artist to paint eight wall murals. To complete the European theme for his hotel, Anson imported furniture and other room settings using French sailing ships going around the Cape Horn. Another feature used by all visitors to the hotel was the first elevator in Santa Cruz. The hotel was a popular stopping point for dignitaries and visitors to Santa Cruz, such as Fox Film Studios and the many baseball clubs that came to Santa Cruz to play the local team. Per the local papers “The hotel was widely praised for its beauty” and gave “Santa Cruzans reason to be proud.”

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The appearance of the hotel was being eclipsed by other hotels in the area. In 1919 the hotel was extensively remodeled. The exterior was changed to Spanish Colonial revival style with iron balconies and stucco relief. The interior now included new furnishings, electrical outlets for the convenience of patrons, and the rooms were equipped with showers and bathtubs. For the opening ceremony the David Ferrari band played throughout the evening.


The hotel steadily declined. The lobby was trashed when the 1955 San Lorenzo River flooded. By the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake it was a flophouse for the forgotten. After the earthquake the owners obtained financing to refurbish the hotel. It is now a multinational community and is home to local businesses like the Santa Cruz Bookshop.