National Register of Historic Places in El Dorado County
The Bayley Hotel is an excellent example of brick architecture now rare in El Dorado County and one of the largest buildings of its type to survive in the Mother Lode region. There is no other building in the vicinity of Pilot Hill of similar construction, scale, or architecture.
Little in the immediate vicinity has changed in the century since it was built.
In 1849, Alcander J. Bayley immigrated from Boston on the ship Edward Everett. Upon arrival in California, Bayley and his company secured teams and supplies then proceeded to the Mokelumne River mining district.
As was often the case with such ventures, the Boston Mining Company soon disbanded.
Bayley subsequently became manager of the Winters Hotel at Coloma. In September 1850, he resigned this position and built his own hotel, the Oak Valley House at Pilot Hill. This hotel was in operation until 1861 when it was destroyed by fire.
In 1861, Bayley chose another site and began construction of the Bayley Hotel. Bayley labored under the mistaken impression that the Transcontinental Railroad would eventually be routed through Pilot Hill, following the wagon route then in use. The hotel would serve the thousands of rail passengers who would pass through the then-thriving commercial center of Pilot Hill.
Bayley manufactured 300,000 bricks and milled all the lumber at the site. Bayley's grandiose plans did not develop to fruition because the Central Pacific Railroad was constructed using a route some miles north of Pilot Hill. Consequently, he used the hotel as a private residence and headquarters for his ranch.
Bayley's ambition to establish a large hotel was satisfied when he acquired the Grand Central Hotel at Lake Tahoe. Bayley was also engaged in the manufacturing business in Pilot Hill and was a pioneer vintner in El Dorado County.
Adapted from the NRHP Nomination Form dated 1978