National Register of Historic Places in Humboldt County
In 1914, when Humboldt State Normal School was founded in Arcata, a citizens committee was formed to develop Arcata as a resort for tourists and students. Public and private groups were formed to preserve tracts of redwoods as public parks and reserves.
The Northwestern Pacific Railroad had recently initiated passenger rail service in Humboldt County, ending the necessity of travel by sea or horse-drawn carriage.
These events created a demand for new public accommodations. The Hotel Arcata, located on the historic plaza, opened in 1915 to meet this demand. A hotel shuttle picked up passengers from every arriving train.
The building, designed by W. H. Weeks, incorporated the Beaux Arts detailing popular in American architecture of the early 20th century. Electricity throughout the building, telephones in every room, and hot and cold water in every room made the Hotel Arcata a totally modern and convenient facility. Fifty mounted heads of elk, moose, and deer, and a pistol range in the basement made the hotel into the "Sportsman's Headquarters" of northern California.
Because the Hotel Arcata was considered the finest in the county, the film casts of the 1916 "Hazards of Helen" and the 1917 "Valley of the Giants" stayed at the hotel. During their stay dining, room business increased as many local citizens sought opportunities to see the movie stars.
Today the Hotel Arcata appears essentially as it did when newly built.
Adapted from the NRHP Nomination.