A Brief History of Corvallis’s Hotel Julian

A four-story Hotel Julian at 105 SW 2nd St. began life in 1892 as the three-story Corvallis Hotel, decorated in the Queen Anne style. Back then, its exterior had some highly decorative Victorian details, the most dramatic being a turret at the corner which added an extra story to its height – though not any usable space. In 1911, it was radically remodeled in the Georgian style, which gave it a usable fourth floor but, alas, removed the turret and most of its other attractive features, leaving it the less fanciful, more utilitarian building we see today. It also had a fountain in the lobby until the remodel of 1928.  

After the remodel of 1911, the Queen Anne was renamed after its owner, State Senator Julian N. McFadden, a man responsible for other concerns still running around Corvallis, including the Pleasure Acres horse farm on Highway 20, just north of Corvallis.   

After the remodel, the Julian had 100 rooms and a dining hall with seating for 300. The dining room was described at its opening as having “13 waitresses and 1 Chinese servant,” and for many years was the location of choice for parties, dances weddings, receptions and social events for both the faculty and the students of Oregon Agricultural College which eventually became Oregon State University.  

The ground floor has been leased as commercial space for most of its life, and has been remodeled many times, according to the needs of the tenants. Until it was added to the National Registry of Historical Places in 1984, remodeling was not subjected to any restrictions for historical reasons. 

Senator McFadden sold the hotel to Herbert W. Van Valin in 1946. It passed through various hands until it fell into disrepair and was closed. In 2012, it was sold to Willamette Neighborhood Housing Services, which remodeled the building yet again, converting it into low-income apartments.  

By John M. Burt