Lodgings and Hotels

Pg 24 More Big Hill Country 2009

Accommodations by Gordon Davies


Mr. W.H. Elliot’s Hotel 

In 1886 Walter Elliot built a small hotel on the corner of First Avenue and First Street West and in 1892 it was enlarged by John Pedeprat. Mr. Elliot rented the Hotel to John Doyle who was in charge when it burned in 1896. 

Murphy Brothers Hotel (Alberta Hotel) 

In 1898, Joe and Jim Murphy built a Hotel on the site where Elliot’s hotel had been. The Murphy brothers operated their hotel until 1905 when they rented it out. W.J Simpson was operating the Hotel in 1909 and Mr. William Dean bought it in 1911, renaming it the Alberta Hotel. At various times the following people were operating the Hotel: Mr. H. Thomsen, 1920, Mr. H. Spears, 1923 and in 1924, at the end of prohibition, the proprietor applied for a beer license. Mr. J.W. Bishop operated the hotel in 1925 and J.W. Dickens in 1927 when the hotel burned down. 

Cochrane Hotel (Brick Hotel, Rockyview Hotel) 

In 1904, Mr. C.M. Burnham helped to build the Cochrane Hotel and managed it for a while. This Hotel was originally a clapboard building later to be covered in brick. In 1908, D. Alexander bought and ran the Hotel. In 1912 the hotel was managed by H. Moulu and then W. H. Tepley became the manager. In 1916, the Hotel was closed due to Prohibition and the assets were seized for non-payment of taxes. Mr. R.A. Webster

bought the hotel at this time from Mr. D. Alexander and set up the People’s Cash Store on the one side of the main floor, the site of the old saloon. Miss Ruth Webster also had a Tea Room in the Hotel. In 1921, Mr. Webster sold the Hotel to the United Farmer’s of Alberta but had to take it back in 1923. The Hotel reopened with the end of prohibition in 1924. Mr. Bailie, who was operating a bakery in the hotel moved it to the Fisher Block. From 1927 until 1936, the hotel owner was Mr. Dickinson and in 1937, Mr. Pruett took over the operation of the Hotel until 1946. In 1989, the Hotel was bought by John and Marlene Ursalak, restored, renamed the Rockyview Hotel, and is still operating today. 

Ben’s Cozy Cabins 

In 1910, Mr. B. Marchmont operated a Boarding House on Main Street where Graham’s Pharmacy Building is today (corner of 2nd Ave.) There is speculation that it originally was a shack built for the families of ranchers who stayed in town so that their children could attend school. It is also thought that it may be the building that housed Yee Lee’s Laundry. Mr. Marchmont later moved to the N.E. corner of First Avenue and Second Street West. It is possible that this was originally the Martin and Foley Store. According to the newspapers of the day, Mr. Marchmont was a wonderful cook and the lodgings were very comfortable. This house later belonged to the Longbotham family. 

Texaco Cabins 

In 1939, Mr. Graeme Broatch had about eight cabins built to the west of his Texaco Garage because the garage and the cabins were on the main highway from Calgary to Banff at the time and some tourists would stay in Cochrane overnight, particularly during Stampede week. After 1945, the cabins tended to become permanent lodgings for a number of people, particularly seismic crews. 

Cochrane Main Street 1957

Nelson’s Cabins (McLeod Cabins) 

In the 1940’s Mr. H. Nelson purchased the land and buildings which formerly housed the Murphy Livery Stable. A house and tourist cabins were built using some of the lumber from the livery stable. Other buildings were moved onto the site to be used as cabins and in the case of the Texaco, Cabins tended to be inhabited mostly on a permanent basis. Mr. J. McLeod later took over the property as well as selling real estate and insurance. 

Mrs. Steel 

After the death of her husband, Mrs. Steel bought a home from Mr. R.A.Webster on the N.E. corner of Second Avenue and Second Street West. She operated a Boarding House for many years with Mr. C. Pedeprat living there for over 30 years. After the death of Mrs. Steel, her daughter Peggy continued to operate the Boarding House until the 1970’s 

Miss Gillies Boarding House 

Miss Gillies also operated a Boarding house in her home. 

The Town I Like the Best by R. Tony Turner

(age 10) (written 1964) 

The town I like the best Is very, very small 

It sits below a hill That is very, very tall. 

The town I like the best Has a river flowing near. The river flows so swiftly It fills me full of fear. 

The town I like the best Has an old community hall Its not very big 

But you can sure have a ball. 

The town I like the best 

Has two different schools: 

One on the Hill and the other downtown And they keep so strict the rules. 

The town I like the best 

Gives me a sweetened touch 

The Big Hills above 

Hold Cochrane in its clutch.

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