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Then & Now: The Arlington Hotel

Updated: Jun 29, 2021

Here is another photo from a series of negatives I recently purchased showing Trail in 1953. Pictured is the intersection of Bay and Spokane streets, with the Arlington Hotel on the right. If we didn’t otherwise know the date, we’d be able to tell based on the license plate on one of the parked cars.

Here is the view today from the same spot.

The chief differences are the top two storeys have been lopped off the Arlington (more on that below), exposing the West Kootenay Power building in behind, and a couple of trees have grown up where there were none before.

The Arlington was built in 1896 by R.T. Daniel, making it one of the oldest buildings in Trail. Daniel was not in Trail long, but is remembered in both the Arlington and in Daniel Street. He was later a leading citizen in Tulsa, where he built the much larger Hotel Tulsa in 1912.

ca. 1890s, not long after the hotel was built. Jacob Lukov had a dry goods store on the ground floor.

Although it was stuccoed over in 1926 and lost its cupola in the 1940s, the Arlington retained many heritage characteristics well into the 1980s.

ca. late 1970s or early 1980s. (Al Peterson photo)

ca. mid-1980s. The paint scheme has been reversed from the top photo, which shows the bottom floor brown and the upper storeys white. (Greg Nesteroff collection)

But, as Nancy Rode wrote in the Trail Times on Sept. 27, 1996 when the hotel celebrated its centennial:

Current owner Doreen Stanley-Clarke said she was forced to remove the top floors after she was refused heritage funding. “It was 1988 and there was a strike going on in town at that time, and I had no choice.”

The story did not say which agency refused the funding or exactly what the goal was of removing the floors (to reduce heating costs?). I checked the Trail Times for March 1988, the date written on the back of the photo above, but could find nothing (I also checked all of April). The reference to the smelter strike suggests it happened earlier, for the strike began in May 1987 and lasted until September of that year. In any case, the hotel looked like this afterward, with a sort of mock Tudor design:

ca. 1988 (Greg Nesteroff collection)

October 2000

March 2011

Updated on May 3, 2021 to add the later photos and additional info on when the top storeys were lopped off.

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