Grey Whale Inn Offers History Tours
By: Mary Charlebois
Originally published by Fort Bragg-Mendocino Coast Packet, February 1, 2017
Once a hospital, the Grey Whale Inn now welcomes visitors to thirteen spacious and distinctive guest rooms. Made entirely of old-growth redwood, the 3-story, craftsman-style building still sports all original hand-crafted interior walls, woodwork and ramps connecting each of the three floors and basement.
Grey Whale Inn offers tours of the historic building. Tours of three types are available; history, haunted or a combination of historic and spooky. Your tour guide, Marnie, dresses in a period costume. Her in-depth knowledge of not only the old hospital, but local history is absorbing and entertaining. You’ll see the entire inn, including unoccupied guest rooms. ‘Behind the scenes’ locations that guests don’t encounter are a tour focal point. Marnie’s story telling skills are especially captivating when she recounts the haunted folklore associated with the old hospital.
Today Grey Whale Inn is a warm and welcoming hotel. Unless shown out-of-view areas, you’d never guess it had been a hospital, but there’s still some hospital equipment in the building. Vignettes depict x-ray rooms, a pharmacy, birthing room, clinics, waiting rooms and nurse’s sleeping room. Only one staircase has been added in the Grey Whale. All floors are connected by wide ramps that made moving patients in wheelchairs and gurneys more practical than scaling flights of stairs.
In 1915 Grey Whale opened as the Fort Bragg Hospital. It was funded by the Union Lumber Company with Dr. F. McLean Campbell at the helm. In 1923 San Francisco’s Dr. Bowman bought the hospital from the lumber company and renamed it Redwood Coast Hospital.
Dr. Bowman sold the facility in 1966. The new owner, Dr. Hamlin, and his dietitian wife, operated the hospital until 1971 when Mendocino Coast District Hospital opened. Since closing as a hospital, it has been a private residence and an inn with two different owners.
Tours are for guests and non-guests. They last about an hour and are available by appointment only. The cost is $15. Arrange your historic or haunted tour by calling 707-964-0640. Grey Whale Inn is located at 615 North Main Street, Fort Bragg California. Learn more about the inn at their website, www.greywhaleinn.com.
Thanks for stopping by, MaryGo