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From the Greentree to Greenwood

Updated: May 10

Visting Sandon in August 2018, I was surprised to see a hand-carved wooden sign on the old brothel as you enter town that reads: “Greentree 1 mile.” The sign must have been added fairly recently, I figured, as I certainly didn’t remember it and it doesn’t show up in photos I’ve taken of the building in years past.

What came to mind was the short-lived Greentree Hotel, which operated for a few months in 1897 between Sandon and Cody. Its exact location is unknown and no photos of it exist.


The Sandon Mining Review reported on June 12, 1897: “D.N. Peters, late of Puget Sound, has leased the new hotel on the Cody road and purposes opening it about the 26th in grand style.”


I’m don’t know if this was the Greentree, but it may have been. Peters was never mentioned again. At least one other hotel existed on the Cody Road, the Denver House, built around the same time and operated by Bennett and Carbray.


The Greentree was first mentioned by name a week later in a legal ad in the Mining Review, seen below right.

Elsewhere in the same issue was the announcement: “The Portmann Bros. are opening the Greentree Hotel on the Cody road about the 15th of next month.”


All I know about the Portmanns is they were Swiss and came to the area from Tacoma.


Even before its opening, the Greentree had a new proprietor. Thomas Levi’s Park Hotel at Cody burned down. According to the Mining Review of July 10: “Mr. Levi has leased Mr. Portman’s new hotel at Greentree, near the new brewery, where, with the limited facilities at his disposal he is prepared to do the best he can for all guests.”


The brewery in question was the New York Brewing Co., Dryer and Hoffmier proprietors. The hotel was never mentioned again, although the Mining Review of July 23, 1898 noted “Mr. B.C. Riblet is surveying right of way for an aerial tram for the Last Chance mine, to strike the Cody branch of the K&S [Railway] near Greentree.”


So did the hotel give its name to the place, or take its name from an existing place?


By early 1898, the Portmann brothers were operating the Hotel Vancouver in Sandon proper. The last ad with their name on it is from October of that year.

Afterward Leutfried went to Greenwood to form the Elkhorn Brewing Co. in partnership with another brother, Anton, and Frank Hartinger. The partnership dissolved in 1899 with the Portmanns continuing until 1906 when they sold the brewery to John Docksteader.


The Portmanns then went into ranching. Leutfried was elected to Greenwood city council in 1927. He died there on Dec. 3, 1940, age 83. Anton (or Antonn) died on Jan. 14, 1934, also in Greenwood, age 60. John died at Grand Forks on May 30, 1958, age 86.


Which brings us back to the sign. Could it really be referring to the hotel? If so, who found it and where? If not, what does it refer to? So far I haven’t been able to find answers to these questions. If you have any information, let me know.


UPDATE: As of May 2024, the sign had disappeared. Who took it down and where did it go? Once again, I have no idea.

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