Heritage \ Writings \

Fraser House "Hotel" (1864-1906)
Located on s.e corner of Water street & Center Avenue., Bay City, MI.

Preface. - When the Fraser House was built it became a symbol that Bay City had come of age among the metropolitan cities of Michigan. It was built on the south east coner of Water and Center streets, which was the business center of the city at the time. It was destroyed by fire on December 23, 1906, and afterward the property occupied by Wenonah Hotel built in 1908, and in recent times the Delta College Planetarium.

Articles:

  • 1868 - History
  • Apr. 20, 1872: Improvements & additions.
  • Apr. 20, 1872: Hotel arrivals of Apr. 18th.
  • Aug. 7, 1884: Fraser House - None Superior in Michigan.

1868 History - Added Nov., 2010.

Polk Directory, 1868-9, Bay City, Wenona, Portsmouth, Bangor.

FRASER HOUUSE.
_______

CORNER OF CENTER AND SOUTH WATER STREETS.

This large, handsome and commodius structure stands as a monument to the memory of him whose name it bears, as one of the best evidences of his enterprising and liberal nature,which he planned but did not live to see completed. It was built during the years of 1864-5, to meet the wants of the traveling community, which kept pace with the growth and prosperity of the city, and cost $90,000. It is a brick building of four stories, and a basement, fronting on Water street 128 feet, and on Center street 100, containing 75 rooms -- exclusive of dining room -- kitchen quarters and office. The main entrance is on Center street, as are also those to the reading and counting rooms. On the first floor on Water street, are five first class stores, and the entrance to the Public Hall, which is a large conveniently built room, 96x45, with 21 1/2 feet ceiling, a stage, shifting scenery, and a beautiful drop curtain. The parlors, sitting rooms and bedrooms are all fitted up and furnished in the very best style. In the basement, are the bar, billiard room, bath room and kitchen departments, all conveniently situated. The cost of furnishing this house amount to $28,000, and there are few in the State better appointed or more comfortable. It is in all respects a first class hotel, and fully deserves the title of "travelers' home." C. A. Linsley & Co., had the honor of opening it and of giving it its present reputation, and after 15 months possession, have allowd it to pass into the hands of Geo. W. Wesley, East Saginaw, who for a term of years "ran" the Bancroft Hotel and at one time the Evertt, winning golden opinions from all who came under his roof. We close this notice with a reprint from the Saginaw daily, and fully endorse the report.

THE FRASER HOUSE.
_______

The Fraser House, Bay City, one of the finest, and most conveniently arranged hotels in the Saginaw Valley, in just entering a career under a new management. Geo. W. Wesley having assumed the management, the prospects of the institution under the new regime are more favorable than those which sourrounded the most auspicious opening of the house about one year ago. Within the past few months, Bay City has become the objective point for a vast amount of travel. There is no evading the fact that the progressive strides taken by Bay City during the past year have gone a long way toward establishing her on a metropolitan basis. As in East Saginaw, real estate has reached fancy prices, and building enterprise has become the rage. The solid brick blocks that are going up indicate an influx of capital. Those attracted to that point as to this, are principally speculators and capitalists. The Fraser House monopolizes all this transient custom, and accommodates the travels from or to the Bay shore. When the Fraser House was first opened, it was indisputably the host finished hotel throughout in the Saginaw Valley, and better hotels cannot be found in the State. Under the administration of the Messrs. Lindsley, the tables were excellently furnished, and in this respect won for itself a reputation that is now being well sustained by the veteran host, Geo. W. Wesley. The rooms are conveniently arranged, and are uniformily furnished throughout the building. In the fourth story, as in the loweer rooms, one naturally feels comfortable and contented, from the cozy surroundings and the homelike appearance of the apartments. some changes have been made in the attaches. We see a number of familiar faces from East Saginaw, and this is a great attraction for Saginawans. We congratulate Mr. Wesley on the success that has attended him in his first efforts. Years ago he presided over the destiny of the Everett House, later as proprietor of the Bancroft he achieved considerable reputation as a model landlord, and now in assuming charge of the Fraser, with all the characterists that are calculated to give a hotel popularity, the success of that institution is beyond peradventure.

Improvements & additions. Transcribed Feb. 2007.

The Bay City Journal - Sunday - April 20, 1872.

Large Improvements and Additions to be Made.
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Arrangements have been nearly perfected by which the Fraser House will be immediately enlarged in its accommodations and very materially improved in its conveniences. The large hall now occupying the two upper floors of the south side of the block is to be partitioned into rooms to the number of about fifty. These rooms will most of them have very pleasant frontages and scarcely none of them will not be considered first-class. There will be some half dozen suites of elegant apartments when finished and furnished as at present designed. In the roof over the centre of the hall as it now is will be cut a sky-light of about eight by twenty feet in dimensions, which will afford ampule light through the capacious stairways to the second floor.

By means of these improvements that part now used for hotel purposes will be greatly benefitted as the halls will be widened to the old portion and made more pleasant. Each of the halls now running to the rear from the Centre street front will be extended through into the new part and intersect with the hall there which will run at right angles. The entrance on Water street now leading to the hall will be made an entrance to the hotel, and a flight of stairs will ascend from that section of the building to the upper floors. The back stairways leading to the kitchen will also be better arranged, and an additional passage way, well lighted, will greatly improve this part of the house.

Thus, when completed this will be one of the largest and most commodious hotels in northern Michigan, there being one hundred and twenty-five rooms, all of which, besides those required for servants, will be pleasantly located. Mssrs. Patriarche & Co., the proprietors, are displaying a degree of enterprise highly creditable to themselves as well as the city. Since they took the management of this house they have done a very prosperous business and when the improvements spoken of are completed they will be able to do still better. The class of custom is first-class. The traveling public will continue to increase with the growth of the city and its commercial importance, so we may confidently and gladly hope for the proprietors of the Fraser House continued financial prosperity.

Hotel Arrivals. Transcribed Feb 2007.

Bay City Journal - Sunday - April 20, 1872

HOTEL ARRIVALS - April 18
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FRASER HOUSE
Geo. B. Kellogg, Utica
Henry Baby and wife, E. Saginaw
D.G. Holland, E. Sag.
J.C. Leaton, do
I.A. Hall, Boston
J.L. Scath, Toronto
M. Lynch, Quebec
H.W. Bigelow, Toledo
W.A. McGraw, Detroit
A.E. Drake, Boston
W. Thompson, Detroit
S.W. Goodale, Saginaw
Geo Lewis, City
A.K. Butts, New York
W. Inolman, New Jersey
W.S. Boon, Do
H.G. Blanchard, Det.
CAMPBELL HOUSE
J.W. Babcock, Wenona
F. Carson, do
E.H. Scotts, Carrolton
W. Atwood, E. Sag.
J. Moiles, do
P. McArthur, Toronto
J. Donahue, AuSable
N. Shaw, Midland
C.O. Winnons, Toledo
S.E. Wewitt, Detroit
F.S. Ackerman, Det.
O.O. Burgess, Clev.
W. Prentiss, do
T.W. Hastings, Salz.
G.P. Felcher, Sag. City
M. Campbell, Windsor
E. Rust, Saginaw
J.B. Whitman, E. Sag.
J.D. Simpson, Sarnia
H. Riley, Meomina
WOLVERTON HOUSE
J. DeForest, Rifle River
E.C. Carpenter, Rifle Boom
John Gruhern, do
D.H. McCaster, Saginaw
S. McDonald, do
P. Riley, do
A.J. Ruport, Tawas
E.G. Sovereign, Utica
J.B. Campbell, Vassar
Jas Douglas, do
F. O'Donnell, Sag. City
H. Dowel, Tawas
J. Auburn, E. Sag.
Mrs. Saterley, Flint

Fraser House - None Superior in Michigan. - Transcribed Mar 2007.

The Bay City Daily Tribune -- Thursday - August 7, 1884 - E.T. Bennet, editor.

A Hotel With no Superior in Michigan and But Few Equals.
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The Fraser -- A Model and Successful Hotel.
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The New Fraser house, having recently pass into the management of John F. Antisdel, a work in respect to the popular hostelry will not be out of place.

This large handsome and commodious structure, stands as a monument to the memory of him whose name it bears, as one of the best evidence of his enterprising and liberal nature, which he planned but which he did not live to see carried out. It was built during the years 1864-65 at a cost of $90,000, to meet the wants of the traveling community, as well as to place Bay City on an equal footing with the other cities of the state so far as hotel accommodations were concerned. It is a brick building, 100 feet front on Center street and 128 feet on Water street, four stories high with basement, and contains about one hundred rooms for transient guests. The main entrance is on Water street, as are the counting, reading and writing rooms. As originally built, the south 45 feet of the structure was devoted to public amusements, and was for a long time the only place in the city where theatricals and public entertainment could be held. About the time of the completion of the opera house, this portion of the hotel was remodeled, half of the hall being converted into rooms , and the rest into a dining-room, and it is from this fact that the Fraser of to-day has the finest dining-room of any hotel in the state, the ceiling being 22 feet high. When built the hotel was furnished throughout at a cost of $28,000, and in those days (as at the present time) its superior in Michigan was not to be found. C. A. Linsley & Co. had the honor of opening it, and after fifteen months possession was succeeded by Geo. W. Wesley. After that several different parties took hold of the house but it was run for profit on the reputation worked up for it by the first named proprietors.

Until the late T. F. Pickering assumed charge of the Fraser it did not bear a very enviable reputation throughout the country and the city went up among traveling men to give the hotel and city a “wide berth.” The traveling man is an ardent admirer of a good bed, well furnished apartments and a tempting table, so when the Fraser did not afford these requisites, they went elsewhere. For a time, Bay City was almost deserted by the traveling community. They came here during the day, but night invariably found them elsewhere, principally in East Saginaw at the Bancroft. Knowing that the Third city would support a thoroughly first-class hotel, enterprising citizens effected the purchase of the Fraser and after forming the Fraser house company, limited, gave it a thorough rebuilding at a cost of $25,000, leasing it for a term of years to T. F. Pickering, who upon taking possession, refurnished the hotel from floor to garret at an expenditure of $20,000, and upon his death a few months ago, his lease was purchased by Mr. Antisdel, the present proprietor, and it could not have fallen into better hands. Mr. A. is a veteran at the hotel business and has a national reputation. The Newhall house in Milwaukee, which was destroyed by fire, was successfully operated by him from 1874 until the time of its destruction. He has also been identified with the Biddle and Antisdel houses of Detroit, Lakeside cottage, Pewaukee lake, Wis., and the Townsend house, Oconomowoc, Wis., all of which were strictly first-class. The prospects of the Fraser under the new regime are more favorable than when the late Mr. Pickering became its proprietor. The latter gentleman placed it upon an enviable footing and was just beginning to reap the rewards of his energy and enterprise, when death romoved him from this field of labor. The city is now the objective point of speculators, lumber buyers and commercial travelers, and the accommodations afforded by the Fraser are accepted by them. This really dull season has seen more guests at the Fraser than either of the two previous, showing to a considerable degree that the reputation of the house is going abroad, and those who formerly gave Bay City the “go by” now stop here. A daily registration of from 75 to 125 transients is nothing unusual for the hotel.

Under the administration of Mr. Pickering the tables were excellently furnished, the best of help being employed in the cooking department, and in this respect won for the hotel a reputation that is now being sustained by the veteran host, John F. Antisdel. The rooms are conveniently arranged, and elaborately and uniformly furnished throughout the building. In the fourth story, as in the lower rooms, one naturally feels comfortable and contented, from the cozy surroundings and the homelike appearance of the apartments. An elevator removes the tiresome walk up stairs.

Under the proprietorship of Mr. Antisdel, some changes have been made in the attaches. George R. Haviland of Ann Arbor, a gentleman who has been associated with Mr. Antisdel for about 20 years, presides behind the counter and attends to the wants of the traveling public. He is thoroughly acquainted with the hotel business and has a wide acquaintance among the traveling fraternity who unite in pronouncing him “a good person for a stranger to get acquainted with.” Having made the traveler a life study, he knows his wants and how to fulfill them.

Robert L. Dickey, clerk, who made so many warm friends during his stay here with Mr. Pickering, is retained by Mr. Antisdel, as is A. F. Tennant, steward. Both are genial gentlemen and in their respective positions cannot fail to assist in keeping up the good name of the Fraser.

The efforts of the management to provide Bay City with a hotel in every sense of the word, is duly appreciated by the citizens, as is attested by the large number who daily partake of the Fraser’s bountiful board.

Additional Notes.

Employees and guests at the Fraser House during census of June 17, 1870:

  • Vandeusen, Stuart – age 30, b. New York – proprietor of hotel.
  • Davenport, William – age 25, b. New York – proprietor of hotel
  • Vandeusen, Nancy – age 32, b. New York - keeping house.
  • Patriarch, Arthur – age 21, b. Isle of Jersey, England – hotel clerk
  • Alexander, William – age 23, Black, b. Ohio – waiter
  • Jones, William – age 28, black, b. Ohio - waiter
  • Robinson, James – age 21, black, b. Ohio – waiter
  • Brandon, Isaac – age 28, black, b. Ohio – waiter
  • Mirse, James – age 13, black, b. New York – waiter
  • Johnson, Charles – age 21, black, b. Virginia – waiter
  • Evans, James – age 32, black, b. Maryland – waiter
  • Linch, William – 23, b. New York – engineer in sawmill
  • Walbaum, Henry – age 22, b. Prussia - yardman
  • Robinson, George – age 13, b. New York – bell-boy
  • French, Sarah – age 28, b. Canada – house keeper
  • Prison, Tennie – age 17, b. Canada – laundry
  • Prison, Carrie – age 17, b. Canada – chambermaid
  • Davis, Maria – age 40, b. New York – chambermaid
  • Carroll, Gustave – age 23, b. Prussia – cook
  • Carroll, Mary – age 21, b. Canada - laundress
  • Tousley, Frank – age 19, b. Connecticut – bar-keeper
  • McKenna, Christine – age 18, b. Canada – domestic servant
  • Runnigat, Frank – age 27, b. Michigan – porter
  • Runnigat, Phoebe – age 32, b. England – cook
  • White, Llewellyn - age 17, black, b. Kentucky – waiter
  • Barse, Mills - age 23, b. New York - Ret. Hardware merchant
  • Norrington, Henry – age 24, b. New York - lawyer
  • Phelpas, Samuel – age 23, b. Connecticut – book-keeper
  • Cook, Aaron – age 25, b. New York – ret. Dry-goods merchant
  • Gibson, John – age 23, b. Canada – saloon keeper
  • Kimball, Thomas – age 23, b. New York – merchant sailor
  • Bartlett, Oscar – age 24, b. New York – clerk in store
  • Eldridge, Edward – age 30, b. New York – clerk in store
  • Epsteyn, Nathan – age 19, b. Prussia – clerk in store
  • Littauer, Samuel – age 31, b. Prussia – cigar merchant
  • Littauer, Anna - age 20, b. Canada – without occupation
  • Littauer, Ettie - age 4, b. Canada
  • Littauer, Mennie - age 3, b. Michigan
  • Littauer, Rosetta – age 1, b. Michigan
  • Landon, Henry – age 30, b. Michigan – physician
  • Wallace, Luke – age 22, b. Michigan – druggist, ret.
  • Kein, Edward – age 48, b. New York – r.r. Conductor
  • Kein, Louisa – age 37, b. New York – without occupation
  • Hotchkiss, James – age 33, b. Connecticut – lumber merchant
  • Hotchkiss, Mary – age 34, b. New York – without occupation
  • Leland, Reuben – age 24, b. Maine – banker
  • Manning, Isaac – age 24, b. New York – ret hardware merchant
  • Brewster, Emmet – age 36, b. New York – lumberman
  • Wright, John – age 33, b. Delaware – Episcopal minister
  • Cole, Darius – age 57, b. New York – sailor
  • Cole, Hannah – age 36, b. Ohio – without occupation
  • Lapham,William – age 41, b. New York – lumber inspector
  • Hallock, Isaac – age 30, b. New York – book & shoe merchant
  • McConnel, Wilfred – age 26, b. England – showman
  • Wallace, William – age 45, b. Canada – druggist ret
  • Edwards, Guards – age 26, b. New York – clothing merchant
  • Whittemore, Fred – age 23, b. New York – cigar merchant
  • Hall, George – age 25, b. Massachusetts – salt inspector
  • Tifft, Rowland - age 27, b. New York – clerk in hardware store
  • Kelsey, William - age 30, b. New York – express agent
  • Sorthera, William – age 37, b. New Hampshire – wh liquor store
  • Stocking, Charles – age 22, b. Massachusetts – book-keeper
  • Stocking, Eliza – age 36, b. Canada – without occupation
  • Stocking, William – age 3, b. Michigan
  • Denison, Charles – age 34, b. Michigan – lawyer
  • Marst, William – age 22, b. Michigan – book-keeper
  • Wallace, Frederic – age 19, b. Vermont – clerk in store
  • Ball, Stearns – age 18, b. Canada – clerk in store
  • Ball, Martha – age 28, b. Michigan – without occupation
  • Hawley, Charles – age 31, b. New York – ret dry-goods merchant
  • Glover, Rollo – age 36, b. Massachusetts – billiard hall keeper
  • Eldridge, Cornelius – age 28, b. New York – physician
  • Parsons, William – age 27, b. New Hampshire – keeping commercial hall
  • Rogers, Amanda – age 29, b. New York – dress-maker
  • Howard, William – age 24, b. Ohio – clerk in store
  • Cole, Frank – age 16, b. Michigan – at school
Related Notes & Pages

James Fraser
James Fraser who built the hotel was also one of the original founders of Bay City.
Related Pages:
Fraser, James
Davenport, Wm. M.
Wenonah Hotel

Sketch


1898 Photo
The Fraser House, built in 1864-5, on the s.e. corner of Water and Center, replaced a bulding that housed the mercantile business of James Fraser and Charles E. Jennison. The Fraser House remained Bay City's premiere hotel until it was destroyed by fire in 1906, and replaced by the Wenonah Hotel. Today, the property is occupied by the Delta College Planitarium.
People Referenced
(See Hotel Arrivals.)
Antisdel, John F.
Dickey, Robert L.
Fraser, James
Haviland, Geo. R.
Linsley, C.A.
Pickering, T.F.
Tennett, A.F.
Wesley, Geo. W.
  • See 1872 hotel arrivals and 1870 census list.
  • Subjects Referenced
    Anisdel House
    Ann Arbor, MI
    Bancroft Hotel
    Bay City, MI
    C.A. Linsley & Co.
    Biddle House
    Campbell House
    Detroit, MI
    East Saginaw
    Fraser House
    Fraser House co., Ltd.
    Lakeside Cottage
    Newhall House
    Oconomowoc, WI
    Partriarche & Co.
    Pewaukee Lake, WI
    Townsend House
    Milwaukee, WI
    Wolverton House
    Aug 7: Other News on Page
    To Camp Withington.
    The Alpena guards reach Bay City yesterday afternoon about 3 o'clock and were met by the Peninsulars who escorted them to the F. & P.M. depot when both companies boarded a special train in readiness and left for Camp Withington at Brighton, Livingston county, via Plymouth.
    Among the late arrivals at the Fraser House last night were B. Whipple of Monroe & Whipple, H.C. Armstrong and W.B. Ludlow of Detroit.
    Sidney Stewart presides at the organ in the Presbyterian church during the absence of Miss Sophie White, who is enjoying a vacation.
    James Sweeney, for fighting and disturbing the peace, was gathered in last night.
    Peter Connors and James McGirty, two simple drunks, will appear before the recorder this morning.
    Deeds Recorded Yesterday.
  • Geo. L. Mosher to Alfred Mosher, pieces of land in township 14, north of range 3 east, containing 4,385.55 acres for -- $4,000.00.
  • Alonso W. Johnson et. al. to Wm. E. Sheldon, lot 11 in block 5, of Johnson & Lewis second addition to Bay City for -- $125.00.
  • Ann Mary Beyer to the Evangelical Lutheran Trinity church society, pieces of land, in Merritt for - $1.00
  • Proprietors
    1865:
    C.A. Linsley & Co.
    1867:
    Geo. W. Wesley.
    1875:
    N..W. Edgar (Lumberman's Gazette)
    William Perry (Directory)
    1883:
    Theodore F. Pickering.
    1899:
    Goodwin Bros proprietors
    of Fraser House.
    -----

    Don A. Goodwin

    Floyd A. Goodwin
    -----
    Records show the Goodwin Bros operated the Fraser House as early as 1899 and as late as 1905. Floyd married Grace Fisher, the daughter of S.O. Fisher.
    Businesses
    1868:
    - Corwin & McClennan, barbers & bath room.
    - Frank Crandell, Yankee Notions & Statonary.
    - H.B. Landon, physician & surgeon.
    - Monroe & Noble, inspectors & dealers in lumber.
    - Arthur Patriarche general ticket agent.
    - William McEwan, New York clothing store.
    - D. & C. Siberstein & Co., office
    - Cathcart & Whitney, boots & shoes.
    1875:
    - Chas. E. Beers - Ticket Agent, general railway ad foreign passage.
    - T. Kimball Hats, Caps a& Men's furnishing goods.
    - Perrott & Co., grocers.
    1883:
    - E.M. Wratten, local freight agent, Flint & Pere Marquette Rwy.
    WRITINGS: History As It Was Written Then.