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Hotel dates from 1915

What's the history of Medford's Grand Hotel on Front Street? I saw mention of some renovation in the notes of a recent City Council meeting. How are they planning to use it in the future?

— T.B.

Well, T.B., from past newspaper articles we have been able to deduce that both the Grand and the Medford hotels were designed by famous Southern Oregon architect Frank Clark.

The Grand, 202 Front St., built in 1915 by W.S. Barnum, was first called the Barnum Hotel. In 1927 it was renamed the Grand Hotel.

Officials declared the hotel unsafe in 1984 and recommended demolition, but Salt Lake City developers William Pingree and Norman Dahle purchased the building for $136,000 instead.

The new owners began renovation in 1985, after the building had been vacant for six years, and converted it to apartments for low-income, elderly and handicapped tenants. Medford architect Ron Grimes helped draw the plans for conversion of the hotel to 26 one-bedroom units.

The conversion project was valued near $ 1 million. Workers removed all the windows from the four-story building, tore out the roof and floor boards and installed carpets and fixtures.

At that time, the owners planned to subsidize rent through the Housing and Urban Development Section 8 program, administered by the Jackson County Housing Authority.

Subsequently the structure was added to the National Register of Historic Places, which gave the owners a chance to apply for a 25 percent investment tax credit.

The Housing Authority recently applied for a Medford Urban Renewal Agency grant to renovate the facade of the 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 e-mail to youasked@mailtribune.com.