Topic: Waitara Hotel (1867-2008)

Topic type:

Waitara Hotel 1913, Auckland City Library Collection

1913 view by Frederick George Radcliffe, Auckland City Libraries Collection

Established during 1867 with Thomas Leedom as proprietor, the Waitara Hotel was originally located at the corner of High and Queen Streets (Section 2 of Block 65 Waitara West), near the heart of Waitara's original commercial centre. 

In June 1872 the first Waitara Bridge was completed and Waitara's commercial centre began to shift towards McLean Street - the main road north from New Plymouth. Thus by 1882 the Waitara Hotel was in a rather isolated position, with two new hotels, the Bridge and the Masonic (1881), having since been established near the town bridge. 

Sensibly, it was decided in late-1882 to relocate the Waitara Hotel to a site closer to the town bridge - the site chosen being the corner of Mclean Street and West Quay (part of Section 16, Block 90 Waitara West). Tenders for the removal of the hotel to its new site and also for subsequent additions, were called for by Waitara architect Edward (Ed) Wickham during November 1882.

During early-1900 a new facade was erected along both frontages of the hotel in a more fashionable style - bringing the establishment into line with the Masonic and Bridge hotels. The new facade was designed by Ed Wickham, who advertised for tenders for the work during December 1899.

In the early hours of Monday 17th September 1905 the Waitara Hotel, along with two neighbouring shops, was burnt to the ground in a ferocious fire. The absence of a local fire brigade or reticulated water supply seriously hindered efforts to control the blaze.

Tenders for the construction of a new hotel on the site were advertised by Auckland architect Theodore Jacobsen during October 1906.

The hotel had been gutted and remoddelled during the 1960s, with much of its historic fabric lost at this time.

In November 2007 the building was purchased by the New Plymouth District Council (NPDC), who, rather regrettably, decided to demolish the building, with this work completed during March-April 2008. The section was subsequently grassed and has remained vacant ever since.

See: Taranaki Herald, 17 August 1867, page 2; Taranaki Herald, 23 November 1882, page 3; Taranaki Herald, 19 December 1899, page 3; Taranaki Herald, 17 September 1906, page 7; Taranaki Daily News, 24 March 2008, page 4; Taranaki Daily News, 10 April 2008, page 1

Discuss This Topic

There are 0 comments in this discussion.

join this discussion