GEORGE C. WEST
The honored and popular manager of the American Hotel at Auburn is a native of Placer County, born in Todd Valley on the 4th of March, 1859. He is of English and Irish lineage. His father, Elliot West, was born in Belleville, Canada, on the 3rd of April, 1832. He married Charlotte Carr and in 1856 came to California by way of the Isthmus route, and by steamer proceeded up the river from San Francisco to Sacramento, whence he came on foot to Placer County. He spent the first night at Auburn in the American Hotel, of which his son George C. was afterward to become the proprietor and manager. For a short time he engaged in mining and then he purchased a ranch in Todd Valley. His wife afterward joined him in his new home and he continued farming and stock raising with good success until the winter of 1861-2, when in a snowstorm most of his stock died, causing him to lose heavily. He afterward engaged in teaming from Auburn station to Todd’s Valley and other mining camps in the mountains.
In 1864 he returned to Auburn, where he purchased sixty-five acres of land, where the Freeman Hotel now stands. He built that hotel and managed it until 1869, his efforts being attended with excellent success. The land extended from the railroad to the present residence of Dr. Todd. He laid out Railroad Street and donated it to the town, and this led to the upbuilding of that portion of the city, Railroad Street becoming one of the most important thoroughfares in Auburn. He disposed of this property in 1869. At length he became interested in various mining claims in the county, both quartz and gravel mines, but his speculations in that direction did not prove very profitable, and he took up his abode at Iowa Hill. Here he became superintendent of the Morning Start mine, and later of the Big Dipper mine, both of which under his management became good producers.
Mrs. West, his wife and the mother of our subject, died in 1870, leaving him with two sons: James F., who is now residing at Forest Hill; and George C., of this review, who has kindly furnished us the history of his honored father. In 1895 the father came to live with his son in the American Hotel and died on the 6th of November, 1897, in the same house in which he spent his first night in Placer County forty-one years previously. Like many of the brave pioneers of California, he was a liberal, whole-souled gentleman, physically strong and robust, and in the early days was considered one of the strongest men in Placer County. He was as generous as he was strong and he left many warm friends to mourn his loss.
George C. West, the youngest of the family, was educated and reared to manhood in Placer County, and for some years was connected with mining interests, following that pursuit until 1884. He then began a successful career as the proprietor of a hotel, keeping a small hotel on the divide for eleven years. On the expiration of that period he sold his property there and came to Auburn, in 1895, purchasing the American Hotel, of which he has since been the accommodating host. This building is a fire-proof brick structure, three stories and a basement in height and containing forty rooms. The brick walls are unusually thick and it has iron shutters, and iron windows and door frames, making it an extremely safe building. It is located in the heart of the best business district of the town, and Mr. West and his excellent wife give their personal attention to the comfort of their guests. They are rightfully receiving a liberal patronage and Mr. West is known as a very popular host, owing to his uniform courtesy and his earnest desire to please his patrons. Much credit is also due to his wife for the splendid manner in which the hotel is conducted. Everything about the place is neat and the dining room is especially popular with its patrons on account of the excellent table which is there set.
In 1879 Mr. West was united in marriage to Miss Mary F. Doherty, a native of Forest Hill, California, and a daughter of Michael Doherty, who came to this state in 1852. Mr. and Mrs. West have a very nice family of eight children, all born in Placer County, namely: Mary, Elliott, Guy and Clayton, twins, Michael J., Walter, Agnes and Roy. The eldest son assists his father in the conduct of the hotel. The family is one of prominence in the community, its members enjoying the high regard of many friends and the hospitality of some of the best homes in this locality.
Mr. West is Democratic in his political affiliations. Socially he is connected with the Ancient Order of United Workmen and the Native Sons of the Golden West, having served as the president of his parlor. He is a wide-awake, active businessman, giving close attention to the enterprise which he conducts and has a host of warm friends in the county in which his entire life has been passed.
Transcribed by Gerald Iaquinta.
© 2010 Gerald Iaquinta.