Updated: Jun 29, 2021
Jada Regis of the Northport Historical Society recently came across a gunnysack full of old paper from the Kendrick store and Northport State Bank. Although in poor condition, several items were intriguing, including this letterhead from the New Zealand Hotel at Hedley. There was a New Zealand House hotel in Northport, which burned in 1914. It was rebuilt and burned again in 1958. Regis asked: was the New Zealand a chain of hotels? And was there any connection with the country?
I never knew why Northport’s New Zealand Hotel was so named and had never heard of Hedley’s New Zealand Hotel, but it appears they were indeed connected.
The Hedley Gazette, which been digitized, reveals that in 1905 John Jackson ran the Hotel Jackson in Princeton while August Jackson (I’m not certain if they were brothers) had the license for the New Zealand in Hedley, which opened in August. Yet ads, such as the one below, listed John as proprietor. He was still associated with the latter when it burned down in November 1912. Jackson was burned in the fire.
The Gazette of Dec. 26, 1912 reported:
Mr. and Mrs. John Jackson left on Monday for Northport to spend Christmas. Mr. Jackson expects to be back in a week or two to look after some unfinished business, but it is unlikely that Mrs. Jackson will be back again. it was seven years ago last summer when they first came to Hedley and opened out the New Zealand Hotel, which had been built early in the summer of 1905 and was given a license at the board meeting in June of that year. The hotel has been conducted in a very satisfactory manner since and the town loses good law abiding citizens in their departure.
The last sentence was premature, as John Jackson subsequently bought the Great Northern Hotel in Hedley. The Gazette also reported on May 12, 1910: “On Thursday last John Jackson of the New Zealand Hotel received a telegram informing him of the death of his brother-in-law, Mr. Williams at Northport and left that day with his wife and family to attend the funeral.”
The index for the Northport News 1895-1903 doesn’t mention John Jackson, but does mention Charlie Williams. From the July 23, 1896 edition: “Charles Williams opened the New Zealand saloon on the corner of Third street and Columbia Avenue last week. Although he is a little back from the present business center, the near future may show the wisdom of his choice of location.”
The Illustrated History of Northeast Washington, published in 1904, contained a mini-biography of Williams.
Williams died on May 4, 1910, age 51, and was buried at Forest Home Cemetery in Northport. According to a family tree at ancestry.com, he was born in Sweden. I don’t know what his sister’s first name was. His son Edwin was born in Northport in 1901 and died there in 1940.
This photo of the New Zealand House in Northport, date unknown (courtesy of the Northport Historical Society), shows “Williams and Jackson, props” on the window.
After Charles Williams died, Magnus Wulff became the proprietor and married Williams’ widow. They raised Ed Williams, whose daughter Janet is presently a member of the Northport Historical Society. In the photo below, taken after 1910, Helma and Magnus are third and fourth from left. Helma’s mother Emma is believed to be seated at centre and the little boy is Ed.
Like Charlie Williams, John and August Jackson were also born in Sweden, so I’m not sure why they called their hotels the New Zealand, unless it just sounded exotic. John Adolph Jackson died in Hedley in 1928, but I don’t know what became of August. In 1901, he and Iver Almstrom were partners in the Central Hotel in Rossland at the corner of Spokane and Le Roi.
When the second New Zealand hotel in Northport burned, it took the lives of two men and a woman from Trail.
Click here for a look at some of the other items that came out of the gunnysack.
— With thanks to Jada Regis