Saved from demolition in the 1990s by a band of local citizens, the 1907 Vale Hotel is one of the most prominent buildings in Malheur County, and literally sits along the authentic Oregon Trail. The non-profit Drexel Foundation was formed to restore and reuse the building. Roof repair and some structural work were completed with the long-range vision of it serving as a combined hotel and art center with an artist-in-residency program. However, the right plan and a means to finance it have not come together. The building currently is without running water or electricity and urgently needs further stabilization.
News and Updates:
Listed as one of Oregon’s Most Endangered Places
The Vale Hotel, originally called the Drexel Hotel, was built in 1907 and opened for business in 1908. It was designed by architect W. H. Bond from Weiser, Idaho. With 58 rooms, white linen service in the dining room, and a Chinese laundry, the Drexel Hotel was often compared to the Idanha Hotel in Boise. The main street of Vale, for many years, ran north and south from the depot to the park, placing the Vale (Drexel) Hotel at the center of town for business and social life for the entire area during Vale’s period of historic growth. The original owner of this structure was the U. S. National Bank of Vale. The Drexel closed in 1932 due to the Depression and was renamed the Vale after it reopened in 1940. The interior was remodeled in the 1960s to resemble more of an apartment building, as several rooms were combined into suites. The hotel closed 1969 and has been vacant since.
In 1976, the hotel was surveyed and recorded by the State Historic Preservation Office’s State of Oregon’s Historic Sites and Buildings Inventory. Within the inventory, it was considered one of the largest buildings in Malhuer County. It was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1984.
Why it’s Endangered
Due to many decades of vacancy, the Vale Hotel is in disrepair with many structural issues. It lacks water, sewer, and electrical service. It
has an urgent need to repair the mortar and replace brick in the exterior brick wall of the hotel and structural stabilization. There needs to be a preservation plan to prioritize the many issues with the structure and uses of the building.