Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Key Route Inn

Entrance to the Key Route Inn.
The Key Route Inn was a large hotel that stood at the corner of 22nd and Broadway in downtown Oakland.  The hotel was built by Francis Marion "Borax" Smith and his business partner Frank C. Havens as an extension of their interests in East Bay rail and real estate development.  The inn opened on May 7, 1907.  It was built in an open-timbered style that was reminiscent of English Tudor-style architecture.  The hotel was designed to be a large and luxurious resort that served Key System passengers and visitors to Oakland.  The buildings most remarkable feature was a large archway through which trains passed and where passengers and guests boarded and disembarked.

The Key Route Inn was a landmark in downtown Oakland until it suffered major damage in a fire on September 8th, 1930.  Though the building was not completely destroyed, the damage was extensive and, as the fire occurred during the Great Depression, the money required to rebuild the Inn was not readily available.  This situation worked in the favor of the city of Oakland, since city planners were interested in opening Grand Ave. and 22nd St. to through traffic, a situation that was not possible with the Inn still standing.  The Key Route Inn was completely demolished in May of 1932.

Getting There By Bike...
There's not much to see if you try to ride your bike to the Key Route Inn.  The building site was completely demolished and has been absorbed into the commercial corridor along Broadway.

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