‘Salud!’ Family, friends gather to toast East Fork Hotel | RecordCourier.com

‘Salud!’ Family, friends gather to toast East Fork Hotel

Borda family members Helen "Chickie" Oxoby, left, and Nita Summers are toasted by community members in front of the East Fork Hotel on Nov. 30.
Jim Grant | The Record-Courier

More than 50 people gathered for a wake in front of the East Fork Hotel on Saturday afternoon to say farewell to the 110-year-old structure.

Members of the extended Borda family gathered along with a few members of the Outlaw Softball Club to remember the East Fork Bar, which once stood just west of the hotel, until a 1986 fire.

Outlaw member Tim Jacobsen remembered the place fondly.

“It wasn’t just a bar, it wasn’t just a hotel,” he said. “It was a home.”

“Salud!” the crowd replied.

Later, inside the Overland, where part of the crowd went after the event, Jacobsen said he was on the scene early the morning the bar burned down.

Wellington resident Gage Smith organized the gathering through Facebook and a fan page he set up in honor of the Picon Drinkers of the American West.

According to a story appearing in 1986 in The Record-Courier, French Basque sheepherder Raymond and wife Gorgonia Borda purchased the property in 1921 and operated it as a boarding house and tavern. Many of the couple’s seven children were born in the hotel, and three were still living at home when Raymond died in 1950.

Gorgonia operated the hotel until her death in 1981. Her heirs closed the hotel, but operated the adjacent East Fork Club until it burned down on July 17, 1986.

Plans to tear the hotel down were revealed early last month, along with a proposal from Smith’s site to gather in front of the hotel for one last toast.

Glasses with the East Fork Hotel’s name on one side, and Raymond and Gorgonia’s name on the other, were distributed during the event.