An account of the Official Opening appeared in the local press. "Newcastle's new hotel, the Miramichi, was opened yesterday afternoon (June 2, 1905) under most auspicious circumstances and the energetic proprietor, Thomas Foley, was most heartily congratulated by scores of guests.
"The house was thrown open to the public about four o'clock and a large number from Newcastle and Chatham were present. The new hotel is considered one of the most up-to-date in New Brunswick. It is elaborately furnished from top to bottom, the bedrooms are fitted with telephones and several of the rooms on the second floor have bathrooms attached. Dinner was served last evening from 5 to 8 o'clock and nearly 150 guests were present.
"The dining room was brightly lighted and the six tables were attractively decorated with potted plants and silk flags. The menu was a neatly printed folder. Dinner was served in elaborate style, and the guests seemed thoroughly satisfied with the courteous treatment extended. Thomas J. Gorman is manager of the new hotel."
Later on that year, the hotel was advertised as being the most luxuriant and up-to-date hostelry in New Brunswick (outside of Saint John) with fine fishing privileges, large sample rooms, livery stable, free cabs, brick building and adequate fire protection. Rates were $2. and $2.50 a day.
In 1906 a bowling alley was placed in the rear. In the same year Thomas Foley advertised the livery business for sale. It included eleven horses, 20 summer rigs and 20 winter rigs. The stated reason was that Mr. Foley had to give his attention to other business. It appears that he was involved in at least one other hotel. At the same time as he was building the Miramichi Hotel he was conducting the Commercial Hotel which was situated on Jail Street facing the Square between Alec MacKay's store and Stables Grocery.
An item in the local paper in 1904 describes his new stable in connection with the Commercial Hotel. "Situated on the Forbes lot adjoining the hotel, the new stable has electric lights, water troughs, harness rooms, etc. and is so constructed and conducted as to meet the demands of all patrons. The most courteous attention is always on tap."
The Miramichi Hotel in later years was owned by Leroy Willis, followed by Edward Dalton. Bill McCombs, the next owner, died in 1980 and his sons now run the business.
The dining room was discontinued about 25 years ago and the majority of the clientele now resides there permanently, although there are some transient guests.
The original Waverley Hotel, situated where Lounsbury's store is now, was there in 1853. It was owned by Alexander Stewart and run in the 1880's by J. R. Lawlor. This hotel burned before 1900 and the lot was sold to G. A. Lounsbury and Company which built the first brick block in 1901. Unfortunately another fire in 1935 destroyed this brick block. The present Lounsbury store was constructed shortly afterwards.
The hotel which many of us remember as the Ideal Inn on the corner of Prince William and Pleasant Streets was called the Waverley Hotel for a few years when J. J. Pallen was the proprietor. In 1906 Charles Call bought the hotel. He was the son-in-law of Charles McKeen, a native of Nova Scotia, who had previously owned the hotel and had leased it to his brothers John and William.
This hotel had several names. Built in 1870 by Thomas Hickey, it was rented shortly afterwards by William Smallwood, who called it the Dominion House.
After Charles Call purchased it, the name most often used was simply ''Calls'' and it was the first ice cream parlor.
Isabel and Charlie Call had no children and the property was left to her niece who married Will Stables. It was at this time that the building became "The Ideal Inn.'' The Stables family operated the hotel for a good many years.
It ceased being a hotel several years ago and other businesses were conducted there. The building was destroyed by fire in 1980.
The third hotel to be called the Waverley was located on Pleasant Street where Homestead Furniture is now. This was once the home of the Walter Elliott family. It was sold to Edward Menzies of Strathadam who ran the hotel for many years. After that Leroy White had an interest in it and the Chapman family ran it. Subsequent owners were Arthur P. Copp and Arnold Ferguson. The building was purchased by Lawrence Stevens in 1965.
The Homestead Inn was located on Pleasant Street and was run by Mrs. Helen Hubbard. The house was later purchased by W. S. Anderson and Senator Margaret Anderson presently resides there.
The Union Hotel was run by David McAulay, David Mutch and Henry Copp. It was sold several years ago to Lounsbury's who demolished it in order to extend Lounsbury Motors.
Mrs. Perley Quayle of Williamstown found an old newspaper clipping, advertising the "U. S. Hotel, very pleasantly situated near the railroad station in Newcastle - John Fay. Prop. - Oct. 8, 1877."
There were hotels in almost every village in Northumberland County. The Douglastown Hotel was run by the Fallons and the Mulhalls. The building, a large unpainted building facing the river, is still standing.
A hotel at Burnt Church called "Prospect Place" was advertised in 1905 as an ideal place to spend a quiet Sunday.
In the upriver area, the Sullivan family built a three-storey hotel in Red Bank in 1906. The White family also kept a boarding house or hotel.
There is no doubt that the Miramichi hotels of the past form an important part of our local history.
(Acknowledgements: Charles Whitty, Mrs. E. F. MacAllister, Mrs. A. P. Copp, Miss Rosamond Crocker, Lawrence Stevens and Mrs. Perley Quayle)
(Northumberland News, May 27, 1981)