Captain Byron built his namesake Byron Hotel in 1899. It was a nine-story,
brown brick building of the Chicago style with eclectic elements from the
Mission school. Once credited as being the finest hotel in Bellingham, as
well as a thriving social center, most of the structure was demolished in
1967. Today's last remnant, the Leopold Hotel, was a 1929 addition to the
In the time of the Byron Hotel's construction, Bellingham was
characterized by extensive growth spurred not only by successful ventures in
timber, fishing and coal, but by speculation that Bellingham would become
the Terminus of the Great Northern Railroad. The hotel was built with a red
tile roof and round arches that gave it a subtle California look. At street
level, the facade is elegantly hand painted with high glaze tiles and leaded
glass windows that still display the hotel logo in the entryway. A newspaper
clipping from 1899 exclaims that the Byron hotel was "centrally located
within easy access of all points of interest. Large rooms on second or third
floor are comfortable and tastefully furnished."
Leopold Schmidt was a brew master who established the Bellingham Bay Brewery
who bought the hotel upon moving to Bellingham in 1910. When he died in the
hotel in 1914 his appointed hotel manager, Henry Schupp, renamed the hotel
Leopold in his honor.
In 1913 the hotel consisted of 200 rooms, 100 of which with private
baths, a dining room that could accommodate 150 people and twenty-five
additional sample rooms. Two additions came later, in 1922 the Tulip room
known today as the Crystal Ballroom and another addition in 1929 increased
the number of rooms to 500. The Leopold tower, since the main hotel's
demolition in 1967, has held a wide variety of restaurants and businesses,
including a couple years where it was the meeting room for the Bellingham
Central Lion's Club. The Leopold Hotel, on both the National and Local
Historic Registry, is presently used for retirement apartments.
For more information see the
Leopold Hotel National Register of Historic Places Nomination.