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Ashland hotel’s past was prologue

My husband attended Southern Oregon College in Ashland in the mid-1960s. I remember an old hotel that towered over the downtown area, but can’t remember what it was named. I think it had something to do with the Shakespeare Festival, which I loved. We moved overseas before ending up in Indiana. We hope to visit the Rogue Valley next summer, and maybe stay at the hotel. Can you help me with the name?

— Gertrude R., Muncie, Indiana

Your reference is undoubtedly to what is now known as Ashland Springs Hotel on East Main Street.

It was first known as Lithia Springs Hotel and renamed the Mark Antony in 1961, to closer identify with the nearby Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Antony and Cleopatra had most recently played in summer of 1959, but wouldn’t again be produced on the Elizabethan stage until 1967.

When the nine-story hotel was opened in 1925 it was the tallest building between San Francisco and Portland. But by the 1970s, the old hotel, often referred to as “The Mark” was in bad shape in appearance and financially. It wound up going through multiple rounds of bankruptcy court from 1982 until Doug and Becky Neuman purchased the property in 1998 and launched a restoration project that led to reopening in December 2002 with a new name that incorporated its past: Ashland Springs Hotel.

Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@rosebudmedia.com. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.