One of Groveland’s most iconic and historic buildings is getting much more than a fresh coat of paint under new owners Doug and Jenn Edwards.
The Groveland Hotel at 18767 Main St. has undergone a more than $500,000 renovation over the past few months that’s intended to modernize the business while highlighting the structure’s Gold Rush-era adobe architecture.
“You could just feel the bones were trying to come out and speak, and we wanted to honor the original history that’s here,” said Jenn Edwards. 34.
The Edwards also have owned the Hotel Charlotte at 18736 Main St., just a few yards from the Groveland Hotel, since March 2012.
Both hotels are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Edwards purchased the Groveland Hotel last June from the family of Peggy Mosley, who owned and operated it from 1990 until her death in February 2016.
The couple is operating the hotels under the umbrella of their new company called Inns of Groveland.
“We always had our eye on it (the Groveland Hotel),” said Doug Edwards, 42.
Prior to moving to the Mother Lode, the couple met in Seattle while working together on yachts.
Doug Edwards, a professional chef, grew up in Plymouth in Amador County and longed to make his way back to the Sierra foothills.
“It was mostly me pushing to get out of the city,” he said, adding that he wasn’t a fan of Seattle’s constant rain and high cost of living.
A year after the couple met, they visited a bed-and-breakfast in Washington state that inspired them to open one of their own.
Doug Edwards said he was working as a personal chef for a millionaire while searching for a place near his hometown, which is how they found the Hotel Charlotte.
They now live a few miles outside of Groveland and have two children, ages 2 and 4.
The couple has completed similar renovations to the Hotel Charlotte, especially to the in-house restaurant called the Charlotte Bistro and Bar, though not as extensive as the work they’ve done to the Groveland Hotel since January.
They changed the main color of the Groveland Hotel’s exterior from yellow to Sierra Red, a clay-like color intended to emulate the adobe architecture of the original main structure that was built in 1849.
The couple has also constructed a custom wood fence surrounding the hotel.
The hotel was originally built as a trading post for the mining community during the Gold Rush and became the Groveland Hotel in 1875 to capitalize on early tourism into Yosemite National Park.
In 1914, the hotel was purchased by the wealthy Tuolumne County cattleman Timothy Carlon, who constructed an annex building with additional rooms in 1915.
Groveland experienced its most significant period of economic growth during the period from about 1914 to 1929 because of the construction of O’Shaughnessy Dam that created Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, which provides the municipal water supply for the city and county of San Francisco.
Tourism generated by Yosemite, which has its northernmost entrance located about 23 miles from Groveland on Highway 120, has served as the town’s main economic lifeblood since the dam was completed.
A film called “The Road Within” was partly shot at the hotel in 2013.
The original structure of the Groveland Hotel is one of four adobe buildings in the town, the most of any community in the Mother Lode.
The Edwards installed a display on the second floor of the main structure that gives guests a glimpse of the original 2-foot thick adobe walls.
Inside the building, the couple also painted the hallways and dining room predominantly with the Sierra Red color.
Each guest room has a matching color scheme of white and an aqua-like color called Jitterbug, with the exception of “Lyle’s Room,” where they’ve maintained the original flowery blue-and-white wallpaper.
The Edwards said they kept the original wallpaper to appease the ghost of “Lyle,” a miner who lived and died in the room during the early 1900s and is believed to be haunting it still.
A conference room was converted into a suite to bring the total number of guestrooms to 18 — five in the main adobe structure and 13 in the wood-frame annex building.
Each room also features artwork framed with wood from the annex building’s original window frames, animal pelts from Ranch Revived Decor at 18729 Main St. in Groveland, and a flat-screen television.
Many rooms also feature Murphy beds that were custom-built by Old World Construction in Groveland.
“We want it to be kind of like historic sophistication,” said Jenn Edwards. “Giving the feel of being back in time, while still having all the modern luxuries of 2018.”
The hotel reopened in mid-February after being closed for six weeks at the start of the year to accommodate the most major renovation work.
Jenn Edwards said the plan is to complete all of the work by mid-April, the start of the summer tourism season that typically lasts through October.
That will include the opening of a new restaurant at the hotel which they have yet to name. Doug Edwards will be crafting the menu, though he’s keeping details under wraps for now.
The couple plans to promote the outdoor seating for dining in the summertime, including along the second-story balcony.
In recent years, the Edwards say Groveland has seen a growing younger crowd of artisans, mountain climbers and others who frequent the town on the weekends.
Jenn Edwards said the opening of the $30 million Rush Creek Lodge about a mile from the Highway 120 entrance to Yosemite in June 2016 has taken away some of tourist traffic coming from the park, but they have to turn away as many as 50 people per day during the summer because there are no vacancies at both of their hotels in Groveland.
“We believe in the Starbucks model,” she said of the competition. “The more things, the better. The higher end, the better.”
Contact Alex MacLean at firstname.lastname@example.org or (209) 588-4530.