the Union Hotel
Photos taken April 17, 2005
Posted April 18, 2005
© 2005, Herbert E. Lindberg
It's been five years since the Mercer family bought the
Union Hotel in
LaPorte, and Mary and I finally decided to drive up to say hello and
Last Sunday we headed out that way without consulting a map, and were
also a bit
late in starting. When we got as
far as the turnoff to Dobbins we learned it was an additional 34 miles
LaPorte, so we instead took a loop through Dobbins and back home to
Wildwood by continuing on to Bullards Bar Reservoir and then back down
Rt. 49 to
Pleasant Valley Road. This loop is highlighted in red in the map below,
adventures that day are given in Dobbins Loop.
This Sunday we got an
earlier start and were prepared that it is 62 miles from the Lake
Wildwood gate to
LaPorte. This route is highlighted in green, extending off the west
branch of the
Dobbins loop. With no reasonable loop route, after our visit we simply
our path back to Lake Wildwood.
|Map to LaPorte from points
When we arrived at LaPorte after a beautiful drive through hills green
with grass and
newly-leaved oak trees, and then with pines at higher elevation,
we were surprised to read the
sign, "LaPorte, Population 35,
Elevation 5000." No wonder Microsoft
Streets and Trips didn't give the route at regional scale and I had to
above map from a telephone book. As we passed over
Rabbit Creek and curved into town, the Union Hotel stood out
our vaguely-known destination. At this time of year, between the
and summer seasons, the "Population 35" number seemed accurate as we
walked through deserted
streets of rental cabins and road maintenance buildings.
|The Union Hotel as you round
the bend into LaPorte
We gingerly pulled into the nearly empty parking lot and parked near
entrance. With such a small native population we were pretty sure this
Mercer's place, managed by Chip
and Laura Mercer, so we entered to peer into these new surroundings.
With Laura's permission, I later took a few photos to retrace these
Mary at the entrance to The Union Hotel.
The door is behind her, the rooms straight ahead on the left,
dining room is behind the camera.
We learned later the bar is through the door at the center, decorated
by two horse shoes.
|Part of the dining room, with
entry at right rear.
In actual sequence of events, we stepped past the hall to the rooms,
right, and popped our heads into what turned out to be the bar. We
with, "Is this the Mercer's hotel?" Happily, she answered
"Yes," and we introduced one another. We then continued into a room
with a beautiful bar and several eating tables along a windowed wall.
about to ask where in town we could buy lunch when Laura asked us if
something to eat. We were pleased to order Italian chicken sandwiches
sat at the bar to have a beer (me) and a coke (Mary).
The bar, viewed from its direct entrance
from the parking lot.
Chip, Laura, and Mary, after we ate our
|Laura with a happy smile, and
Mary reflected in the bar mirror.
Hotel from the corner opposite to that in
first view; entrance at far right.
|Rabbit Creek, taken from the
road into town, a stone's throw from the Union Hotel.
The town was founded in 1850 as Rabbit Creek and later renamed LaPorte.
We're definitely going to revisit LaPorte in the summer when it's again
and we can drive up the now snow-bound roads to Little Grass Valley
is part of the LaPorte "metropolis." If you want to learn more about
the Mercer's place they have an informative Web site: Mercer, Chip & Laura
The Union Hotel - LaPorte.
Postscript: We did get back to the area on
September 4, 2011. Below is the lake,
about 4 miles past the town. Chip and Laura no longer own the hotel. It
available for rent to large groups.
|We met this family camping on
the lake. Mt. Fillmore is beyond the lake in the far background.
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