Idaho 99s gathered for the Christmas Party in Baker City, Oregon, on Saturday, December 3, 2022. Thank you, Pat, our Christmas Elf, for making the arrangements for a nice dinner in the elegant, historic Geiser Grand Hotel. We wish you had not had such lofty snow drifts and you could have been there to celebrated with us.
Dinner was served in the hotel library. Members dressed in their warmest, holiday attire. Mimi came with her “Amelia Bearhart” sweater. In addition to lively conversation, each person told of their 2022 "event to remember" and what they were most looking forward to for 2023.
In the afternoon, the hotel historian gave a tour and told of the of the hotel’s Italian Victorian design and construction with high ceilings and mahogany columns, chandeliers and a stained glass ceiling over the dining area. It opened in 1898. During the Gold Rush times it was described as being the finest hotel between Portland and Salt Lake City. Its elevator was just the third one built west of the Mississippi River.
We heard of the wealthy guests, the underground tunnels and of ghosts. The hotel closed in 1968 and fell into a state of dilapidation. New owners purchased the property in 1993 and spent four years and millions of dollars restoring the hotel for its reopening in 1998.
It happened to be Baker City’s Christmas parade and celebration. Decorations were up on Main Street and the sculpted safari animals in the plaza pulling Santa’s sleigh were decked out with holiday lights and garland. The parade featured locals on horses, 4-wheelers and floats—lots of kids and musicians. The parade finale was a group of antique tractors pulling a sleigh. A giant American flag led the way.