History of the Herbert Grand Hotel
Built in 1918 at the gateway to Sugarloaf and Saddleback mountains, the Herbert Grand Hotel was once a gathering spot for Prohibition-era Maine politicians to indulge in bathtub gin and unsavory women. Some of these guests never left and are rumored to haunt the hotel to this day. Nearly 100 years later, the Herbert Grand Hotel continues a tradition of providing lodging and drink to snowmobilers, Sugarloaf skiers and snowboarders, hikers, mountain bikers, hunters and visitors to the western mountains of Maine.
1830: A boarding house is constructed on the site that will become the Herbert Hotel.
1851: Prohibition begins in Maine.
1871: The boarding house burns to the ground.
1873: The Kingfield House hotel is built on the ashes of the former boarding house.
1917: Construction on the Herbert Hotel begins. The owner, Herbert S. Wing, is a local lawyer and state representative who owns the local bank, mill, and electric company. In short, Herbert is a power-hungry tyrant who aspires to become governor of Maine. The hotel is designed to entertain (read seduce and/or blackmail) politicians from Augusta, Maine with illegal booze and unsavory women.
1918: The Herbert Hotel opens its doors. Construction costs approximately $200,000 and the new hotel features electricity and indoor plumbing (both amenities remain to this day). The Herbert Hotel is the first hotel north of Boston to feature in-room and table side telephone service. Also present is a speakeasy in the basement with easy rear access in case of a raid from the police.
1925: Herbert Wing loses the Republican primary for governor. Later that year, Wing gets upset with the local townsfolk and shuts down the town's electricity for several days to teach the people a lesson.
1933: Fearing that a New Deal Democrat might "soil" his hotel, Herbert Wing sets a policy of renting rooms only to those persons who can establish their credentials as members of the Republican party.
1934: Fed-up with the lodging industry, Wing stops renting rooms to the public. The hotel becomes his private residence for Wing, his ailing wife, and his "housekeeper." Rumors abound regarding the interpersonal dynamic in such a dysfunctional household.
1956: Wing sells the hotel to Mr. and Mrs. Alvin P. Westman. The grand re-opening occurs on December 20th. Herbert dies four days later on Christmas Eve.
1958: Herbert's son, Earl Wing, gets the hotel back. Having inherited the local bank (and a penchant for tyranny) from his father, Earl proceeds to sell the property to Sugarloafers with his bank financing the transaction on bank-friendly terms. Wing waits for the slightest of defaults, forecloses and takes back the hotel. Earl pulls this stunt multiple times.
1973: Two brothers from Northern Jersey buy the hotel.
1977 (or thereabouts): Don and Siouxsi Klein purchase the property. Don and Siouxsi are the picture of the 1970s disco-era. Complete with big fuzzy boots and a serious cocaine problem, the Kleins re-name the hotel the "Paradise in the Wilderness" and host bizarre parties in what was formerly a speakeasy in the hotel's basement.
January 1980: The Kleins are faced with a moral/professional dilemma. Somehow they accidentally double scheduled a tour bus full of Sugarloaf skiers and an airplane full of cocaine. After much deliberation, the cocaine wins and the hotel doors are locked. The Kleins never returned. After several days, the furnace runs out of fuel, the pipes burst and the hotel is ruined.
1981: Now in forclosure, the hotel is purchased by a group of "investors" from Chicago (legend has it that the Chicago mob was behind the deal). A man named Bud Dick (you can't make this stuff up) is assigned to bring the hotel back to life. Bud inherits the mess of all messes and performs nothing short of a miracle. Bud brings back the skiers, re-opens the dining room and the Herbert Hotel thrives yet again.
1998: Bud falls ill. The hotel is leased to a middle-aged couple known only as the Uzmecks.
2000: Although they do not actually own the hotel, the Uzmecks proceed to "sell" the hotel. Their fraud is uncovered. Legend has it that, when law enforcement came to arrest these tricksters, they were found throwing documents and other evidence of their chicanery into the fireplace.
2001: The Herbert is purchased by Lynn and Marcie Herrick.
May 2009: The Herricks sell to Rob Gregor and his wife, attorneys from New York.
December 31, 2009: Rob leaves the hotel and hires a manager for the Herbert.
January 1, 2010: Rob's manager "no-shows" for work on her second day. Luckily, Rob's mom, Dawn, was onsite and agrees to stand-in until a new manager can be hired.
2012: Maine Ghosthunters performs a paranormal inspection and the Herbert Hotel is certified "haunted" (click here for video of their findings). The Herbert Hotel remains the only certified haunted hotel near Sugarloaf Mountain (click here for the National Paranormal Association post).
July 2015: Plans for the Herbert's second century of operation are unveiled and include renovations to all 26 rooms and bathrooms and a new pub that will feature only wines, beers, and spirits made in Maine.
October 2016: The Herbert team embarks on its quest to complete renovations of the remaining rooms.
December 2016: Renovations to all twenty-six guest rooms and bathrooms are completed. The rooms retain many of the original antique furnishings and fixtures and cool and quirky reproduction vintage artwork and advertisements are added to the walls.
December 2017: McGregor's Pub at the Herbert Grand Hotel opens for business.
March 2018: The Herbert Grand Hotel is placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
January 2020: New owner Shawn Donovan takes over the hotel.