Beau Valory with the Snowshoe Thompson Chapter 1827 of E Clampus Vitus dedicated a plaque at the site of the East Fork Hotel that was located in downtown Gardnerville. ECV members as well as Nita Summers and family were present on Sunday. Photo by Kathi Hussman
A decade, nearly to the day, after residents gathered at the East Fork Hotel to say goodbye, members of E. Clampus Vitus officially unveiled a monument remembering its legacy on Sunday.
About a dozen people turned out for the ceremony, including Nita Summers and her family, who owned the hotel for decades.
While the farewell ceremony was Nov. 30, 2013, it would be Oct. 20, 2014, before an excavator went to work taking down the structure.
The hotel was dedicated on Aug. 5, 1893, during a building boom in Gardnerville that saw the construction of the Ritchford and the arrival of the JT Basque Bar & Dining Room from the Comstock three years later.
The hotel closed around 1981, but the East Fork Club remained open until July 17, 1986, when it was destroyed by fire.
The last decade has seen some significant changes to Gardnerville, including the demolition of the Pyrenees, Jane’s Beauty salon and the Burga buildings along Eddy Street.
Efforts are winding their way through historical preservation channels to take down the former Gardnerville Laundry, which started life as the old East Fork School in the 19th Century.
The plaque placed by the Clampers along Gilman reads:
“One of the original businesses in Gardnerville, the East Fork Hotel once stood proudly on Main Street at Gilman Avenue. Brothers George and Charles Brown built a 20x50-foot building with a saloon in front and a residence in the back with rooms upstairs that rented for $1-$1.50 a night. A fire in 1899 that started in the cellar did considerable damage and extensive repairs were needed but all 18 guests were able to escape unharmed. In 1903, the Browns sold the hotel to another pair of brothers, Charles and Henry Morrison.
By 1909 it was know to offer “excellent hotel service at moderate rates and a bar stocked with the best liquor and cigars.”
Beginning in 1914, it would be leased to a series of Basque immigrants which ultimately led to Raymond and Gorgonia Borda purchasing the building in 1921. Unfortunately prohibition had started the year before and the East Fork would be the scene of several raids by federal law enforcement. Mr. Borda was arrested three times in 1922-23 for violating prohibition and the barroom closed down for eight months under the abatement law. Futures lessees would also find trouble for prohibition violations. In July 1926, John “Super Six” Larralde was leasing the property when he was arrested in a federal raid. He was sentenced to 12 months in the Washoe County jail. That would turn out to be the last raid on the establishment. Mr. and Mrs. Borda lived there until their deaths and the building would come to be alternately known as the Borda Building. It was finally closed down after a fire on July 17, 1986 and it stood empty until it was torn down in 2014 due to safety concerns.”