Thursday, September 16, 2010

Eureka's Biggest Eyesore

Nope, not the Balloon Tract.

I guess I'm not the only one that thinks the old Downtowner Motel, as the North Coast Journal reports, is the city's biggest eyesore. Every time I drive by that lot I'm just appalled that it was allowed to deteriorate like that.

When I returned from basic training with the Army National Guard back in '76, I spent my first night back in Eureka at the Downtowner. It was a fairly nice motel and the Journal story reminded me that the area around the Downtowner used to be quite a center of activity back then.

Back in the mid to late seventies I was a little part of that center of activity. I worked at Sabrina's Restaurant for about 3 1/2 years starting back around 1973. Sabrina's used to be across F Street from the Eureka Theater, with the busy Eureka Inn across 7th Street to the south.

All kinds of activity in that area back then with numerous other eateries and bars close by. The Downtowner even had its own bar back then and it seemed a nice one, the few times I went there. I believe it was called the Downtowner Lounge.

I realize there's no easy solution as to what should be done with the Downtowner property. I just can't imagine it being fixed up and put back into use as motel again. Whatever is done with the property, it would probably be best to just tear everything down and start from scratch.

10 Comments:

At 9:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's funny what people notice. I was aware of the Downtowner when it first closed, but haven't thought about it for a (year?) or more.

I don't live in Eureka, only driving there a couple times a week to shop. I'm far more appalled by the shuttered Arctic Circle, which is seems far more noticeable while driving down the road. Or... for that matter, the general appearance of Broadway, which reminds me a bit of a ghetto version of Redding. In some ways, Eureka would be better off with a 101 bypass, sending drivers directly into Old Town and the mall, avoiding the blighted misery present in much of Eureka. From a retail perspective of attractive outside dollars, Eureka would be better off,

 
At 9:44 AM, Blogger Fred said...

Funny, but like you say, interesting what people notice. I've never paid much attention to the old Arctic Circle building. Probably because I try to avoid 4th and 5th Street as much as possible.

I do notice the old KVIQ building mentioned in the Journal story because I drive past it all the time. I was thinking just the other day as I drove by it it's too bad somebody couldn't at least paint it and make it look occupied.

As an aside, I've thought it rather strange some of the new buildings being built for businesses when there's so many empty buildings available.

That new Humboldt Motorsports, or whatever it's called is almost, if not directly, across Broadway from the relatively recently abandoned old Caterpillar building. Why didn't they just use the Caterpillar building?

 
At 12:36 PM, Blogger samoasoftball said...

My mom worked the desk at the Downtowner when she was in her 70's. Walked from Russ Street.

 
At 4:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unfortunately the drive through Eureka goes by most of the worst parts of town. Eureka really lost out on the bypass, for many reasons. 1st impression being a subtle, but important one.

 
At 5:31 PM, Blogger julie.strub said...

I agree, Fred. Plus, I can't imagine having the Downtowner boarded up like that can help in any effort to make the Eureka Inn into a destination.

 
At 8:51 PM, Anonymous Mr. Nice said...

Best things about that block are the splattered up stained sidewalk and street. Gotta appreciate the ugly fence taking up parking spots too. (I imagine) It's a good place to hop the fence and hide out cause you got that big wall blocking you off until the neighbor sees you.

What the citizens of Eureka should do is wait until people abandon the houses, that beauty school, and the labor union spot... then demo the block.

 
At 1:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The bypass didn't kill Eureka; the Radical Enviromentalits did. They killed logging and fishing. Now they are trying to bring it to a complete dead stop by suing the owners of the Balloon Tract.

 
At 2:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder how long it has been since Mr. Nice has been in that neighborhood? The Labor Temple is at 10th and E Streets. It is not in the same block as the Downtowner!

Not only that, but if the whole Downtowner block was torn down, at least one or two Victorians would be destroyed.

How about we all get behind the idea of just tearing down the rotted, neglected Downtowner and leaving the surrounding buildings alone?

 
At 9:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Its haunted.

 
At 12:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone know when it closed down and why? I personally think it's almost beautiful, in a haunting sort of way.

 

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