Victorian hotel in Dayton has welcomed guests for 132 years

Weinhard Hotel in operation since 1890

Daytons+Weinard+Hotel+allows+for+a+more+Victorian-style+visit.+

COURTESY OF MARISA WEST

Dayton’s Weinard Hotel allows for a more Victorian-style visit.

GABRIELLE FELICIANO, Evergreen reporter

Note: This piece was written and shot for the Murrow Rural Reporting Plunge. For more info, please see rural.murrowbpj.com/ 

For over 130 years, Dayton’s Weinhard Hotel has welcomed guests into its halls with the decor and hospitality of the Victorian era.

Located in central Dayton at 235 E Main St., the hotel features 15 rooms furnished with Victorian-American antiques dating from 1830–1890, in addition to the heavy doors and high ceilings of its original Victorian architecture. Weinhard Hotel offers guests the modern-day conveniences of minifridges and private bathrooms while preserving its history.

Owner Christina Dingman said she and the hotel staff go out of their way for the little details, such as using physical guestbooks, allowing late check-ins, doing room deliveries and giving parting gifts.

“A big part of it is the hospitality we perform for the guests,” Dingman said. “We want people to feel like they really and truly are stepping back in time to where hospitality used to be, not just turn in, turn out. It used to be more of a family-oriented style … That is still what we do today, and we strive to live up to that.”

Local business owner and philanthropist Jacob Weinhard built the hotel in 1890, a decade after he moved to Dayton, said Erika Greenup, Dayton Historical Depot Society curator. Besides the hotel, Weinhard helped establish many other businesses in Dayton, including a bank, store, theater and brewery.

Located inside the hotel is Jacob’s Public House, a pub that serves a variety of drinks and appetizers. It was originally a coffeehouse, but Dingman said she renamed it to Jacob’s Public House to differentiate it from Weinhard Café, which also stood in central Dayton.

Also located inside the hotel is a retail shop that sells locally-sourced sheets, blankets, sweaters and other miscellaneous goods.

Dingman said the drink glasses and soap used by guests are locally-sourced, as well.

“We try to source everything local,” Dingman said. “Everything was sourced from somewhere here in town or in the region. We believe in sourcing other small businesses.”

Guests at Weinhard Hotel can visit the local shops and restaurants that line Dayton’s Main Street, some of which Greenup said were also originally built during the Victorian era.

Dayton is also home to several historic sites, including the Dayton Historic Depot, the oldest train depot in Washington, and the Boldman House Museum and Garden, a historic house museum built in 1880. Other historic sites include the Smith Hollow Country Schoolhouse and the Quarantine Log Cabin, as well as Dayton’s two historic housing districts.

Additionally, Weinhard Hotel is nearby a statue of Sacagawea, the Palus Museum and Patit Creek Campsite, where Merriwether Lewis and William Clark camped during their expedition.

“The sheer amount of history we have here is really impressive,” Greenup said.

Dayton’s history has given some of its locations a haunted reputation, with one such location being Weinhard Hotel.

Dingman said members of the Eastern Washington Paranormal group conducted a paranormal investigation of the hotel in 2010, where they captured whispers on some audio recorders. One guest at the hotel reported being stopped and pulled back by a disembodied force, and another reported seeing a little girl at the foot of their bed.

Dingman, who lives at the hotel, said the only supernatural experience she had was when a pan flew, not fell, off one of the hotel’s kitchen shelves. However, she remains skeptical of ghosts’ existence.

“Anything with age and people automatically want to throw in a ghost,” Dingman said. “I’m never scared.”