Hotel Marysville Peach Festival

Another country roads trip through northern California and I have been staying off the interstate freeways as I travel the Sierra and Cascade mountain ranges.

Marysville is north of Sacramento on Highway 99. This town has long been famous for peaches.

“I picked the peaches from the Marysville trees” – Bruce Springsteen in the song “The New Timer” from the album The Ghost of Tom Joad.

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Marysville Peach Festival July 20 & 21 sign on boarded up Hotel Marysville. The hotel design is similar to the historic St. Francis San Francisco.

Post update July 18: See the comment section where I found a 2004 Marysville city government document describing the history of Hotel Marysville from its 1920s opening to its current state. 

I stopped in downtown Marysville looking to eat breakfast at a local diner. Downtown seemed like it was all furniture shops and martial arts studios. Vacant buildings reminded me of many northern California towns I have seen these past three years.

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State of the State Theater in Marysville, California.

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Center for the Arts, Marysville, California.

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Historic Downtown Marysville.

The town has some beautiful Victorian architecture.

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Maria’s Mexican Restaurant was not really open at 10am in the morning.

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Old town housing in Marysville.

There are still many square miles of peach orchards in the area.

I ended up driving to Oroville for breakfast at Cassidy’s Family Restaurant located across the street from the Holiday Inn Express Oroville.

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Sign outside Cassidy’s Restaurant, Oroville, California

Omelet, biscuit & gravy, hash brown potatoes, hamburger patty and coffee for $6.99. This is cowboy food to prepare you for a day out riding your horse on the cattle ranch, or your boat around Lake Oroville, or in my case driving my car into the Sierra Nevada on Highway 70 along the Feather River.

Oroville’s main claim to fame is Oroville Dam, the tallest dam in the United States on the Feather River and Lake Oroville, the second largest reservoir in California. The mountains were calling me and I didn’t linger in the Big Valley to see the dam and reservoir.

California Highway 70 is one of those black dot roads on the AAA map indicating a National Scenic Byway. This route connects to Highway 89, another black dot National Scenic Byway that traverses Lassen Volcanic National Park.

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California Highway 70 in the Sierra Nevada mountains along the Feather River.


Ric Garrido, writer and content owner of Loyalty Traveler, shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests. You can follow Loyalty Traveler on Twitter and Facebook and RSS feed.

About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined BoardingArea.com in 2008.

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  1. looks like fun, Ric.

    As mentioned, taking my twins up the 1 from LA and trying to think of fun places to stop along the way: too young for Hearst Castle and Wine Country but maybe would dig Cambria and the many Sand Dunes along the way. You keep giving me ideas. Thanks!

  2. I just came across an article about Marysville on a blog NorCal Explorer that gives more insight to this historic town. Marysville was almost the same population in the gold rush days as it is today.

    The article calls Marysville the “prune capital of the world”.


    Johnston, South Carolina calls itself the peach capital of the world according to my google search.

    I love the internet for its wealth of obscure information. Here is the history of Hotel Marysville from an official government 2004 report on Marysville with plenty of citations. Hotel Marysville was the grande dame of the town when it opened in April 1926 and the hotel finally closed in 1986 when it had become a hotel for wasted souls.
    Source: http://www.marysville.ca.us/apadmin/img/upload/2-Ch%203.1%20to%20Ch%203.5.pdf
    City of Marysville Cultural Resources
    Final EIS/EIR
    Marysville Hotel Demolition Project 3.2-6
    December 2004

    “Marysville Hotel

    The idea for the Marysville Hotel was born when a group of local businessmen realized their city needed a world-class hotel. The businessmen, who were flush with the success of the economic boom of the early twentieth century, reasoned that a hotel that had every available modern amenity would encourage tourists and business travelers to stay in Marysville rather than pass through on the way to other places. These overnight visitors would presumably spend money in Marysville, boosting the local economy and increasing property values. The businessmen reasoned that a new hotel would not only benefit their shops and other enterprises, but the entire city of Marysville. On June 3, 1919, Cline Ball and H. H. Dunning of Marysville, and three investors from Oakland filed articles of incorporation for the Marysville Hotel Company to “carry on and conduct the hotel business” in Marysville. Later that year, Ball, Dunning, and 23 other local investors purchased two lots on the corner of 5th and E Streets as the site of the new hotel (Marysville Hotel Company 1919; Marysville Democrat 1926).

    This location for the hotel, on the main arterial through the city (E Street) near the central business district, was considered ideal. In addition to its central location, the hotel would be on the main line of the Sacramento Northern Railroad, an interurban railway that ran from San Francisco to Chico. The
    Marysville Hotel Company paid $25,000 for the parcels and an additional $10,000 to clear the lots of the existing buildings. At the time of purchase, the
    Rideout Hospital and Potter house occupied the site. Banker Norman Dunning Rideout originally built the Rideout Hospital as a family home in the late 1880s.

    After Rideout died in 1907, his widow, Phoebe Abbot Rideout, gave the mansion to the city for use as a hospital. When it became known that a large hotel would
    be built on the site, Phoebe Rideout provided money for a new hospital at Fourth and H Streets (Yuba County Historical Commission 1976, 15; Marysville Democrat 1926).

    Although the Marysville Hotel Company was successful in raising funds to purchase and clear the site, it became clear that much more capital would be needed to build the hotel itself. Because it was thought that the hotel would benefit the entire city, the Marysville Chamber of Commerce appointed a “Hotel Committee” in 1921 to work out a plan for financing the building as a
    community enterprise. The committee immediately began to gather data on types of buildings and costs; it interviewed architects, traveled up and down the state to inspect hotels, and met with representatives from other communities who had undertaken similar public financing ventures. In 1922, the committee began a
    serious campaign to finance hotel construction while actively interviewing lessees to operate the hotel once it was completed. Also, in the same year, the
    shareholders of the original Marysville Hotel Company dissolved that corporation and a new Marysville Hotel Company that had the authority to publicly sell stock was incorporated. In December, the company granted a
    15-year lease to operate and maintain the hotel to H. H. Nelson of San Francisco and L. M. Rossi of Santa Rosa at a rate that guaranteed investors a return of 6%.
    After the hotel was completed, Nelson sold his share of the lease to Charles B. Hamilton of Los Angeles, an owner of a chain of hotels in California (Marysville
    Hotel Company 1922; Marysville Democrat 1926).

    In May 1923, the Marysville Hotel Company hired Edward Glass, an architect born in Fresno and based in San Francisco, to design the hotel. Glass studied
    architecture at the University of Pennsylvania under Paul Cret, the greatly influential Beaux Arts instructor, and had designed a variety of residential and commercial projects throughout the Central Valley. Glass finished his designs by April 1924, after which the company called for bids for construction of the hotel. The following month, the company awarded the job to I. C. Evans, a Marysville contractor whose low bid was $304,000 (Enns-Rempel 2003; Marysville Democrat 1926).

    Within a few days of receiving the contract, Evans began construction on the Marysville Hotel. In a show of community solidarity and sharing the wealth
    locally, nearly all the materials used in construction came from Marysville or Yuba County businesses. After the basement was completed and the footings for the five-story building were constructed, the concrete skeleton and floors were poured in forms. After workers completed one floor, the forms for the columns
    and next floor were built. By the time the fifth floor was poured, the brick work was underway. The spaces between columns and the roof were completed before
    the brick walls were laid. The Marysville Hotel officially opened its doors in April 1926. Until the nearby seven-story Hart Building was completed later that year, it was the tallest, most extravagant building in the city (Marysville Democrat 1926).

    The Marysville Hotel operated with relative success for the next several years. Despite the economic hard times of the Great Depression, the Marysville Hotel Company paid it first dividend to investors in 1933. Hamilton and Rossi continued to operate the hotel into the 1940s; during this time, the hotel remained a focal point of the business community (Marysville Appeal-Democrat 1933;1942, 1993a, 1993b, 1999).

    In the years after World War II, the fortunes of the Marysville Hotel mirrored those of downtown Marysville at large. Because the county was hemmed in by the foothills to the east and rivers to the west and south, the agricultural lands in Yuba County were soon exploited to their usable limit; agricultural production
    did not decrease, but there was no room for continued growth, which slowed the general economy in the county. As with most cities nationwide (and statewide), the post–World War II years were marked by steady movement out of the downtown Marysville area. Residents, lured by affordable housing, moved out of downtown Marysville into the new postwar suburbs; service-related industries
    (grocery stores, restaurants, etc.) naturally followed. Hampered by older buildings and limited parking, other businesses began a slow migration from the historic commercial district of Marysville to more open areas across the river in Yuba City; the historic downtown became neglected and fell into disrepair and
    decay (Napoli 1998: 39).

    Around 1950, Newcomb Hotels, Inc., took over the operation of the hotel. For the next 30 years, the hotel went through a period of steady decline that ended in its closure in 1986. During this period, the hotel changed from a haven for weary tourists and traveling businessmen into a seedy residential hotel. Efforts to revitalize the downtown area in the 1970s had little effect on the hotel. In 1976, a series of suspicious fires damaged the first three floors. By the early 1980s, police were making routine arrests for drunkenness and dereliction in and around the hotel. By 1986, conditions were so bad that, after 60 years in business, the Marysville Hotel was shut down. Although there have been numerous proposals to renovate the hotel, it remains vacant. In 1993, a suspicious fire gutted much of the first floor including the lobby, dining room, and kitchen areas (Marysville Hotel Company 1954; Marysville Appeal-Democrat 1999).”

    Travel is an education. Every place has history.

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