Connie Parson has spent the past several years researching the tumultuous past of the Emerson Hotel — now Emerson Manor Apartments, which she calls home.
She will share her labor of love with the public on Saturday from 1 to 5 p.m. with a free open house and local history expo at the structure, located at 703 Simpson Ave. in downtown Hoquiam.
Named after lumber capitalist George Emerson, one of the city’s founding fathers, the grand hotel was built in 1924 to draw wealthy business travelers. But the 1930s marked the beginning of decades of turmoil and transition that culminated in the historic building’s current identity as public housing for senior and low-income residents.
Parson has spent the past four years chronicling that history, and she will showcase all she has learned at the Saturday afternoon event, dubbed “Historic Hoquiam Memories.”
But the event’s focus is not limited to the Emerson. Parson also has lined up several local residents and organizations to share other aspects of Hoquiam’s history through their collections of photos and artifacts.
Polson Museum Director John Larson, who also serves as chairman of the city’s Historic Preservation Commission, will present a continuous slide show of photos from the museum’s collection on Hoquiam’s history. He will also be on hand to answer questions regarding the Downtown Historic District and other historic structures in the city, both commercial and residential.
Jamie Brand, manager of the 7th Street Theatre, will be sharing information, photos and artifacts detailing the theatre’s recent restoration efforts.
Donna Grow, owner of the 1901 mansion known as the Hoquiam Castle, will share photographs of her home.
Jim Larsson, who owns the 1907 Judge Charles W. Hodgdon House on Bluff Avenue, will share his experiences researching and writing nominations for the National Register of Historic Places. In addition to registering his own home, Larsson prepared the successful nominations for Olympic Stadium, the American Veterans Building and the Grays Harbor Masonic Lodge.
Staff with the Hoquiam Timberland Library will be on hand to share information on history resources available there, including Sanborn Fire Insurance maps, R.L. Polk county directories and high school yearbooks.
Radio newsman Kyle Pauley, president of the Hoquiam Business Association, will be sharing photographs and building history on Hoquiam’s Masonic Hall.
Other exhibitors will include Timberland Bank, the Hoquiam Elks, VFW Post 1135 and Gordon’s Service.
Visitors also will be able to tour Emerson Manor’s public spaces, including the original terrazzo-floored lobby with its two-story stenciled columns and wrought-iron staircase.
For more information on the event contact Connie Parsons at 360-591-9752.