Historic Cary House Hotel
151 Years of Old Time Hospitality
by Heather Grubb

image of Cary House Site ViewThe Historic Cary House Hotel on Main Street in Placerville is more than just another place for an overnight stay.

The Historic Cary House Hotel is also known as the “Jewel of Placerville.” Standing with its original brickwork, the Cary House’s interior includes antique furnishings, such as an 1876 Chickering square grand piano with its original strings, and a stained glass piece representing the seasons of the gold country, crafted by local artist Wendy Wythe at age 17. In a cabinet nestled between the winter and fall stained glass piece is an old radio, which guests may explore and travel back in time. The Cary House’s 40 rooms, many of which include kitchenettes, are each uniquely decorated and have an original theme complete with historic memorabilia and vintage décor.

The hotel originally had 77 guest rooms with luxuries of its time like a bathroom on each floor, hot and cold running water, and a brick exterior which was the safest due to its fireproof quality. During the historic building’s early years, the Cary House served as a stage stop for the Wells Fargo Lines and welcomed pioneers traveling through old Placerville. During the Washoe silver excitement, $90,000,000 in bullion allegedly passed through the doors, and $600 worth of gold was discovered in the basement in the early 1900s.

Cary House Hotel adds more history information ...

image of Cary House CourtyardThe Cary House Hotel, built in 1857, was the vision of William Cary. The three story brick building was the finest hotel in the gold country. The hotel, built with a brick exterior, was as fireproof as possible, a unique quality in the old west. Originally, the hotel had 77 guest rooms and a bathroom on every floor which had hot and cold running water. The lobby was elegantly appointed with a grand staircase and finished with rich mahogany and cherry woods.

In the early years the Cary House was a stage stop for travelers through Placerville. Nearly 90 million dollars in bullion passed through the Cary House from the Mother lode and the Nevada Comstock. After changing hands many times, the Cary House was purchased by the Raffetto Family in 1911. In 1915 the building was demolished and rebuilt with the same bricks to become the Hotel Placerville. In 1926 the name was changed to the Raffles Hotel which remained until the 1970’s when the Milton Family restored the historic landmark to its original elegance and returned it’s original name "The Cary House".

Just a note of interest, the three story hotel is regarded as one of the area's most haunted sites on Main Street!

Source reprinted with permission by:
Style-El Dorado County Foothills Magazine April 2009
Cary House Hotel