Red Rose

Rosebuds Blog

A historic stroll for Rose Hotel guests

January 17, 2012

Some hotels have advantages others simply cannot match. In the case of The Rose Hotel, it’s our geography. We’re blessed by our location on historic downtown Main Street in pastoral Pleasanton, Calif. We never forget just what an irreplaceable asset this is.

The evening lights of historic Downtown Main Street in Pleasanton, Calif.
The evening lights of historic Downtown Main Street in Pleasanton, Calif.

The Pleasanton Downtown Association puts it aptly: “Downtown will greet you with unexpected finds and uncommon treasures. The pedestrian-friendly, tree-lined streets offer a vibrant blend of parks and historic buildings, specialty shops and service businesses, fine dining and coffee shops.”

Self-guided walking tours and guided audio tours via your cell phone will open up this marvelous community to you. Downtown Pleasanton is filled with architectural treasures, ghost stories, underground tunnels, murders, speakeasies and even a brothel or two.

For just $1 you can buy a Walking Tour Guide at the Downtown Pleasanton Association, or pick up a free audio tour pamphlet at the Museum on Main, replete with the phone number one must call to activate the tour, as well as the numbers that must be entered to provide you with the appropriate information based on your location.

Pleasanton was named in 1894 and was first settled in the 1850s by Spanish families. By 1900, Pleasanton had become the agribusiness center for the Amador Valley.  Among the many crops of the valley, hops played the largest role in making Pleasanton internationally famous.

Many of the buildings that you will see on the tour were built from the revenues generated from the hop fields.

Here are some of the historic locales you’ll enjoy during your tour.

288 Main.  Now occupied by the Gay 90’s Pizza Company, originally housed a general store, bar and Wells Fargo stagecoach stop.  The upper floor housed a brothel for many years, and some Pleasanton residents have reported seeing a “full-figured ghost lady” in the front second story window.  Chinese laborers constructed a connection in the basement to the town’s underground tunnels.  During the 1870s, Chinese people were discouraged from residing in town, so many lived in the underground tunnels.

500 Main. This location is a former branch office of the Bank of Italy, later renamed Bank of America, one of the country’s largest banks.

548 Main.  The site of the original Pleasanton Hotel, later renamed The Rose Hotel. The famous racehorse Sea Biscuit was once stabled behind the hotel. In 1930, a jealous jockey named Sykes murdered a man at the hotel after a dispute over a woman. The Rose Hotel had many famous visitors, including Henry Ford, Leland Stanford of Stanford University fame and presidents Herbert Hoover and Calvin Coolidge. It is also rumored that William Randolph Hearst kept a room at the hotel for his close friend, Marion Davies. In 1941 Abbot and Costello made the movie It Ain’t Hay at the fairgrounds and used the hotel as a backdrop.

537-541 Main.  This Snug Saloon was built here in 1879. Later, 537 Main became the Green Door and later Elvira’s Castle, a local watering hole for three generations of patrons.

200 Ray Street.  John Kottinger’s barn was constructed in 1852 and later became Pleasanton’s first jail. It is one of the few remaining adobe structures in the area and is the only building in Pleasanton to be designated by the National Register of Historic Buildings.  Kottinger became the county’s first Justice of the Peace in 1853. After criminals were convicted in Kottinger’s courts, bandits waiting outside overcame the lawmen and helped the outlaws escape on horseback.  Kottinger then had a tunnel built from the courthouse to the jail.  Notable desperadoes such as Juaquin Murrietta, Juan Soto, and “Three Fingers” Jack Garcia were tried in Kottinger’s court and escorted through the tunnel to jail.

There is much more to see and sample. Contact the organizations mentioned above. We invite our hotel guests and neighbors to take advantage of the history that has been made right outside our front door.