Life in Pine River in the Summer of 1894 was filled with many activities such as the coming of the railroad, George Barclay’s travels to Brainerd and beyond, the GAR celebrations, and the 4th of July celebration in Pine River.
While all this was going on, George A. Barclay had time to plan and recruit a contractor to build his new hotel, store and saloon.
“George Barclay has let the contract for the building of a new saloon to White & White of Brainerd. It promises to be a fine structure, having a glass front and being two stories high. Guess George intends starting the boom himself.
Source: The Brainerd Tribune Local Pine River news, July 7, 1894, Minnesota Historical Society Newspaper Collection.
Another source gives this detail about the contract for the hotel:
On June 29, 1894, George Barclay contracts with I.U. White of Brainerd to build a hotel, store and saloon all in the same building. The Hotel Barclay or Barclay House was also known as the “White Elephant.” It burned in December, 1915, in a fire that threatened all of Pine River.
Source: Cass County Heritage 1897-1997, pg. 55, Cass County Historical Society, Walker, MN
George Barclay is shipping up lumber to build his new saloon and store.
George Barclay went to Brainerd last Monday night.
Source: Brainerd Tribune, Local Pine River news July 14, 1894. (Monday in 1894 is the 9th of July)
George Barclay returned from Brainerd last Monday night accompanied by Miss Barclay.
George Barclay intends to commence building his new building next Monday.
Source: The Brainerd Tribune, Local Pine River news, July 21, 1894. (Monday in 1894 would be the 23rd).
If I have calculated this correctly, George started building his new hotel about July 23, 1894. On a visit in 2007 to Pine River, I went to the town hall and inquired if they might have old Barclay Hotel building plans but was told “no.” The hotel did burn down in 1915 and I will post about that in the future. I am sure a lot documentation was destroyed when the hotel burned. I also tried to find I.U. White of White & White who was the contractor but so far I have not been successful.
NOTE: I obtained permission of the town of Pine River to post this photo of the Barclay Hotel as found in their book about the history of Pine River: “Logsleds to Snowmobiles 1973.”
“The years 1893 and 1894 saw the building of the railroad through here, at that time called the “Brainerd Northern.” The same year brought the first frame building of any importance, the Barclay Hotel. This was a large building, painted white and by some with less vision than Mr. Barclay, it was known as the “White Elephant.” However, the years following proved that his judgment was good as this stopping place enjoyed a wonderful patronage for many years.
Mr. Barclay also built a large store building on the corner where the Fraser building or Locker Plant now stands, where they conducted a general store until he was shot and killed while sitting in his office smoking a cigar in October 1898.”
Source: Early History of Pine River, pg. 2-3, 1973, Bicentennial Issue, Pine River Journal, Pine River, Cass Co., MN.