Old Madras Hotel may be demolished


New owner open to negotiations

by: PHOTO BY SUSAN MATHENY - Miguel Segoviano, left, and Rafael Ortega take a break from working at the Madras Hotel. Segoviano, who recently purchased the property, plans to knock down the century-old hotel but will try to resell the connecting motel. Area businessman Miguel Segoviano has purchased the old historic Madras Hotel and adjacent motel.

Segoviano, who owns Sego Insulation in Redmond and several rental and other properties in Madras, said he bought the hotel-motel as an investment.

“I like to buy properties as an investment. I see property values going up,” he said.

Last week, Segoviano and a work crew were busy replacing the front doors on the motel, because of damage.

As for the fate of the old hotel, built in 1911, Segoviano said, “I will keep the motel and resell it. The hotel we will probably tear down because it would cost too much to fix it up.”

It is not practical to use the old building as a hotel anymore, he said. “It’s outdated. The rooms are very small and there is only one bathroom for each floor, which doesn’t apply anymore (for attracting customers),” he said.

Segoviano knows it’s a historic building and said he would be open to offers from anyone wanting to save it.

“If someone wanted to buy it, I’d sell it. Financially, it would be nice to keep it and give it a good use,” he said, noting it will cost him money to demolish it.

Segoviano said the hotel-motel has been for sale for years, originally priced at $600,000 or more. The price kept going down, and when it got to $100,000, he purchased it.

Hotel history

According to a feature in the Oct. 19, 1994, Pioneer, the downtown landmark once drew customers from all over Central Oregon.

Swedish immigrant Neil “Charley” Hobson came to New York at age 16 and lived with relatives. He arrived in Madras in 1910 to work as a cook for one of the railroad construction crews.

After that job ended, Hobson ran several eateries in town until purchasing a 50-room wooden hotel at the site of the Oregon Trunk Railroad Depot in southwest Madras (near the current senior center).

In 1925, over a several-month period, Hobson and one helper towed the three-story structure to downtown Madras using metal jacks, wooden rollers and pulling it with teams of horses and mules.

“It is one of the biggest buildings ever moved that distance in Oregon,” his son Stanley Hobson stated back in 1994. The son also provided a photo of the wooden building, before it was covered in stucco.

Hobson modernized the building with a stucco finish, added windows to the upper story, and renamed it the Commercial Hotel. Rooms rented for 50 cents, and the hotel’s motto was “Neat, Clean and Normal.”