It was November 6, 1908 when the Adams Hotel in Lavina held its grand opening. According to the hotel’s National Register application, “The Adams boasted steam heat, gas lighting, first class service, a fully stocked bar with the finest liquors and cigars, hot baths, and 22 rooms.”
The Adams Hotel served the Lavina community and its visitors for just over two decades before hard times hit and the hotel began falling into disrepair. It had several owners before being purchased by Raymond Barry who – despite not having any running water or heat – lived in the hotel and filled it with his collection of Victorian furniture and antiquities. Upon his passing in 2015, Barry left the Adams to the descendants of the hotel’s original builder: Ludwig Lehfeldt.
One of those descendants, Catherine Thayer, now serves as president of the Friends of the Historic Adams Hotel. The group is working to get the building back into a useable state. They received their first History Foundation grant in 2017 to have a structural engineering report prepared. For this grant, a structural engineer, contractor and architect worked collaboratively to create a plan for stabilization.
The group’s second grant in 2019 went towards repairing the siding and painting the front of the hotel. Thayer says while the work was underway it drew a great deal of interest from community members and Lavina’s visitors.
She says, “Many people stopped by to comment on the project and ask questions. There’s a lot of excitement over the future of the Adams Hotel.”
For Thayer, the two History Foundation grants helped create more interest in the future of hotel. Once the community and other financial supporters saw the grant-funded work underway, they were quick to add support.
Her advice to others who may feel their project is too big to get started: Don’t think it’s impossible. She says “It may feel overwhelming, but hang in there. It can happen.”