Arlington Hotel, circa 1908/1909. Photo: Trail Historical Society

Arlington Hotel, circa 1908/1909. Photo: Trail Historical Society

Trail Blazers: 126 years of propriety at The Arlington

Trail Blazers is a weekly feature in partnership with the Trail Museum and Archives

Did you know that the Arlington is old?

Very old? Such as in “quasquicentennial plus one year.”

Yes, the Arlington Bar and Grill, previously the Arlington Hotel, is celebrating 126 years of establishment this year.

While not the oldest pub in British Columbia — the Six Mile Pub in Victoria was established in 1855 and is still running — it is a local, long-standing, gem.

This Trail Historical Society photo shows an interior view of the Arlington circa 1908/1909 with A.C. (Cliff) Williamson and James Williamson (proprietor) at the bar.

“You can notice all the rich details like the brass finishings, the ornate woodwork, many spittoons, the tile and the very large animal mounts on the walls,” notes archivist Addison Oberg, Trail Museum and Archives.

“The building itself also used to be quite the landmark, with a northeast facing tower which was removed in the 1940s, and two additional storys, which were removed in 1987. “

Strangely enough, the Arlington attempted a name change in 1925 to the Elma Hotel, but the name didn’t stick, Oberg adds.

“Like any good pub, the Arlington comes to life with memories from residents of Trail and continues to serve the community at their 126-year-old location.”

Arlington history

The Arlington Hotel was constructed by R. T. Daniel in 1896. Lieutenant Governor Edgar Dewdney declared the Arlington one of the finest hotels in the west.

Originally four stories high with 45 bedrooms, the rounded corner at Spokane and Bay was surmounted with a conical tower and flagpole. The ornate furnishings and fittings are said to have cost $10,000. According to an online inflation converter, $10,000 in 1896 is equivalent in purchasing power to $353,000 in today’s market.

The last century has seen many cosmetic and structural changes to the building, including: in 1926 the wood siding was stuccoed; and as Oberg noted, in the 1940s the conical tower was demolished; and in 1987 the top two stories were removed.

The hotel occupies a prominent corner in town and has been the site of many civic celebrations.

– with files from

City of TrailLocal History