Just about every person who learned I was going to be staying in La Grande, Oregon told me to check this place out.
The original building was constructed in 1864 and has quite a storied history. It is rumored to be haunted. In 1917 it was converted into a sanitorium, whose founder thought his patients would benefit from the healing geothermal mineral waters. Fire destroyed a large wing of the building in 1934. The property was abandoned in 1991 and fell into serious disrepair. Enter a wealthy bronze statue artist named David Manuel from nearby Joseph, Oregon whose family bought the property and used it as a family project to make it what it is today.
Mr. Manuel, whose work is absolutely amazing, made the huge eagle piece located at the entrance to the property, as well as many, many other pieces (large and small) scattered around the property and within the hotel itself. You should take the time to study the history of the property online, as well as the works of Mr. Manuel. Both are fascinating.
The peacock was just kind of meandering around between the front of the building and the large pond between the hotel and the road. I first noticed the cat when I went inside to ask if it was ok for me to take a few pictures of the property. The cat pretty much followed me just about everywhere I went. She peacefully coexists with the peacock and the ducks on the pond. I called the hotel later in the day to find out what the cat’s name is and learned that she is just a stray that showed up 8 or 9 months ago, and doesn’t have a name. Let me tell you, she walked around like she owns the place!