El Monte Hotel, Sausalito
The Slinkey family came into full flower when it bought the Clifton Hotel in Sausalito in 1882 and renamed it the "El Monte." J.E. Slinkey first purchased the hotel from the Sausalito Land and Ferry Company in January 1876, and seems to have named it the Bon Ton Hotel (some of Slinkey's businesses in San Francisco had the same name). Financial troubles later that year apparently took the Bon Ton out of his hands until the 1880s. The main hotel building reached three stories high and being up on the hill above the ferry dock and railroad station, the site of the El Monte gave a majestic welcome to Sausalito visitors. A number of smaller guest cottages dotted the grounds and fine views were available to the guests.
Commerce and Industries of the Pacific Coast, published this year by Hittel lists "Hotels: Saucelito, CA: El Monte Hotel, JE Slinkey, Proprietor."
April 29, 1882: San Francisco News Letter and California Advertiser, page 19: "Mr. J.E. Slinkey, who for many years past has been the proprietor of the Overland House, Sacramento street, has just become proprietor of the El Monte Hotel (formerly the Clifton House), Sausalito. With his accustomed energy and sagacity, Mr. Slinkey has refurnished and renovated the entire establishment, sparing neither trouble nor expense in making it a first-class Summer resort. The renovation has been in progress for some little time past, and being now about complete, the hotel will be opened for the reception of guests on Monday, May 1st."
In the same issue on page two is an ad for the hotel: "El Monte Hotel, Late Clifton House, Sausalito, Cal. The nearest Summer Resort outside of San Francisco. Accomodations First Class Commutation Tickets, $3 per month. J.E. Slinkey, Proprietor."
June 8, 1882: Ad in the San Francisco Daily Evening Bulletin, page one: "'El Monte' Hotel, Sausalito, Cal. (Formerly the Clifton House.) The nearest family summer resort outside of San Francsico. - J.E. Slinkey, Proprietor." This same ad runs on May 6, May 13, June 3, and June 10 of that year.
Mention of Sausalito, Slinkey, and the El Monte in the humerous Summer Saunterings, by "Derrick Dodd" of the San Francisco Post in 1882:
"Saucelito proper consists of a number of verdurous rolling hills, facing the sea on one side and the bay on the other, and liberally dotted with cottages and tomato cans. The latter are generously interspersed with pop bottles and peanut shells, the sure aftermath of the cheap and noisy species of picnic. In fact, were it not for what has been aptly called the "predatory picnic" of the period, Saucelito would have no particular reason for existing at all, and may safely be said to rely chiefly for support upon the perennial outpourings of the "Ancient Order of Boiler-Makers," the "United Buttonhole Workers," the "Auriferous Soap-boilers," and other social organizations of prominence.
"Saucelito possesses two wharves, two stores, two alleged hotels and the butt-end of a railroad, which seeks to entice the unwary traveler still further into the hostile picnic country. We say "alleged" hotels, because there is no official record of any one ever having stopped at either, although the last boat to the city in the afternoon is always carefully started with a view of leaving as many belated passengers as possible subject to the doom of remaining all night in the place, or hiring a plunger to take them across at twenty dollars the trip--the latter alternative being generally selected. This reference to the hotels, however, does not include the famous Rety's Restaurant, which is, after all, about all there is of the place and the chief object of interest to visitors, if we except mine host, Slinkey's just re-started hotel, the El Monte, on the hill-top, which overlooks a superb view, and is quite a revelation in hotel-keeping to the saucy--well, the Saucelitans."
March 5, 1885: "Capt. G.W. Thomas and family have engaged a cottage for the summer, to be built for him by Mr. Slinkey. [...] Mr. W.G. Barrett, Secretary of the San Francisco Gaslight Company, with his wife and daughter, have secured apartments for the season at the El Monte." (Sausalito News, March 5, 1885, page 3, column 1.)
"Sausalito Improvements [...] Another auspiscious enterprise is the opening by J.S. Bellrude [Justice of the Peace and a materials supplier] of a lumber, brick and general building material establishment, which promises to furnish all necessary material for building purposes at city prices. Mr. Bellrude has made arrangements to receive his stock direct from first hands, his lumber by shipload from Humboldt mills and his brick from the yards, and no middlemen's profits will therefore come from the pockets of his patrons. Among orders he has just received are Mr. Slinkey's material for building two more cottages on the "El Monte" grounds..." (Sausalito News, March 5, 1885, page 3, column 2.)
March 19, 1885: Cottage being built by Slinkey for Captain G.W. Thomas and family is on a bluff overlooking the bay and scheduled to be ready by April 1. Also, John W. Pero and wife have taken rooms for the summer and Mr. F.M. Smith and family, Mrs. H. Warburton, widow of the late Major Warburton, and Mrs. J. Matthieu are staying at the El Monte. Mr. Wm. Read announces with an advertisement that he is going to divide his property adjoining the El Monte into lots to be offered for sale. (Sausalito News, March 19, 1885, page 3, column 1.)
April 2, 1885: El Monte and Sausalito mentioned in the Oakland Press, reprinted by the Sausalito News, page 3, column 4: "[...]While there we visited the magnificent suburban El Monte Hotel, of which Col. J.E. Slinkey is the proprietor, and were handsomely entertained. The hotel is one of elegance neatness and comfort, for it is without doubt the most genteel conducted of any fashionable rural hotel in the state. We could say much more of the picturesque little town, so rivaling in beauties to all other places in the state, but space at present will not permit.”
April 9, 1885: El Monte Hotel registrations from San Francisco for the previous week, as recorded in the Sausalito News, page 3, column 4: “C.H. Goodwin and wife; Mrs. Geo W. Emerson, F.H. Stakle, F.M. Smith and family; Mrs. H. Warburton, Capt. Geo W. Thomas & wf; Miss Lillian T. Thomas, Miss Cora L. Thomas, Mrs. C.S. Stout, John R. Lewis, H. Older and wife; E.A. Bailey and wife; John Kreling and wife; Dr. W. Jenningson & wife; L.G. Schord and wife; Jas. F. Ford, Theo G. Cockrill, Mrs. E. Moffit & family; Jas. O’Connor, Dr. N.T. Whitcomb, C.W. Moss and wife; D.J. Taylor, T.J. Crowley, W. Brower and wife; Col. R.H. Taylor, A. Meyer and family; Mrs. Hugh Mauldin, Charles Maubee, M.T. Reilly and wife; John P. Loomis, J.H. Caramet, Chas. H. Eaton, Prof. H.C. Eastman, Grove Deal, B. Bassini, W.A. Coggeshall, Charles E. Wendt, Col. Chas. S. Travers, Dr. J.S. Knowlton, J.P. O’Reilly, Mrs. Miller and family; William Vanderbilt, Mrs. W. Dressbach and fam; Arthur McGurren & wife; W. F. Swasey, Henry Whyte, S.S. Johnson and wife; Geo W. Davis, Joe S. Kohn, Judge A. Craig, John W. Pew and wife.”
April 16, 1885: “The ‘El Monte’ Hotel is being painted from top to bottom, and Col. J.E. Slinkey is putting his grounds in first-class trim for the summer season.” (Sausalito News, page 3, column 1.)
El Monte Hotel registrations from San Francisco for the previous week, as recorded in the Sausalito News, page 3, column 4: C.H. Goodwin and wife, Miss Tillie McCarthy, Frank J. Burns, Miss Emily Burns, Louis Roller and wife, Miss Louise Marshall, Aaron Stein and wife, Miss Lillie Hamlin, Mrs. A. Schottler and f’my, Mrs. Jules Levy, Theo Loessell, O.G. Gardner and wife, Miss Allie Howard, F.F. Jones, Alfred Greenebaum, Wm. N. Riddell, J.S. Tyler, Miss Violet Redmond, Col. A.H. Wands, Nathan Stein, Douglas W. Woolley, S.D. Morrell, W.G. Barrett and wife, Miss Barrett, G.W. Baker and wife, M.C. Kean and wife, Mrs. L. Morrison and family.”
April 23, 1885: C.H. Goodwin and family take an El Monte cottage for the summer. Complete list of El Monte Hotel registrations for the previous week, as recorded in the Sausalito News, page 3, column 4: Fred Ingersoll, Miss M. Sheen, E.D. Morgan, Miss Laura R. Morgan, Master J.M. Morgan, George Kelly, W. Martin Evans, Chas. W. Childs, J.E. Wolfe and wife, H. Charles, Capt. Schenck, C.H. Gongs, Chas. Matthiew, Judge T.H. Lawlor, Jas. H. Riley, E.H. Horton, J. Schram, Dr. Jenningson, Miss A.M. Morgan, Miss Susie D. Morgan, W.G. Barrett and wife, Miss S.G. Barrett, Consul. Geo. Stanley & wife, Mrs. A. Meyer, H.L. Swain, Thos. Adlington, Mrs. M.L. Lewis, Col. D.L. Smoot, William Walford, Frank J. Burns, Martin Clark, Miss Etta Tracy.
April 30, 1885: Complete list of El Monte Hotel registrations for the previous week, as recorded in the Sausalito News, page 3, column 4: Wm. J. Hough & family, Miss Katie Gift, F.M. Smith, J.R. Minaker and wife, F.F. Emmen and wife, Guy Shirley, Miss Effie Hogan, J.B. Horton and wife, Mrs. E. Rock, Bert Laws, Miss K. Hyde and sister, C. Hank, S.E. Bennett, S.W. Johnson, Capt. John Leale, W.S. Burpee and wife, W.A. Rogers, L.F. Shevburne, O.P. Cameron, Miss Susie Sanders, L.C. Pistolesi, Dick Glass, C.E. Christian and wife, Mrs. Emma Holladay & f’y, Dr. J.R. Davidson, Ed Russell Morris, Capt. Williams and wife, Arthur Fellows, Henry Whitman, F.S. Pitts and wife, Dr. W.A. Moore, T.W. Huckstep and wife, J.S Ramsey and wife, E.A. Mizner, Miss Flo Williams, J.S. Childs and wife, W.J. Jones, C. Chaffey and family, Miss Dollie Laws, Miss D. Lawten, W.G. Mizner, Capt. J.W. Powers, Matt Clarken, Frank P. Pray, Mrs. George Hammett, Mrs. L. Yoakum, Miss L. Thurston, Miss Mamie Yoakum, L. Warner, Miss K. Glass, Wm. Christian and wife, J. Yates and wife, Miss F. Musgrave, S.V. Mooney and family, Chas. Ashton, Charles Childs, Philip Backus, J.H. Jones.
May 7, 1885: The Honorable A.G. Booth and wife take rooms for the summer at the El Monte and Mr. Alfred Greenebaum, agent for the "celebrated Goulet champagne," also stays at the hotel. Complete list of El Monte Hotel registrations for the previous week, as recorded in the Sausalito News, page 3, column 5: E.B. Read and wife, A.S. Spence and wife, A.D. Harrison, W.A. Campbell, J.N. Gregory and wife, Edward R. Swain & wife, L. James and wife, Mondray R. Dindas, Geo. Whittle and wife, Mrs. R.G. Lewis, John Bowser, J.C. Rutherford, A.C. Greenebaum, A.J. Bryant and wife, Mrs. J.L. Martel, A.G. Booth and wife, Mrs. F.E. Monteverde, Miss Rosa Levingston, J. Beverly Smyth & wife, Miss A. Barnard, Frank J. Burns, S.J. Mooney, C.H. Goodwin and family, T.D. Beasley, F.H. Thompson, Geo. W. Gregory, W.F. Bogart and wife, Aron Mayez, Charles Clarke, Harry Sutherland, H.H. Gross, D.P. Hammond and wife, Commodore Gatte & party, Albert Eicke, Geo. H. Matfield and wife, Miss Jennie Martel, Mrs. Whittle and family, Miss Bella Levingston, Mrs. D.L. Mayera and son, Ed Russell Morris, Miss C. Gallagher, Miss Emma Burns.
May 14, 1885: Captain G.W. Thomas, obviously happy with his Slinkey-built cottage, contemplates building a residence on the bluff in front of the ‘El Monte’ Hotel, and meanwhile: "A serenade was given the ladies of the ‘El Monte’ Hotel last Sunday evening (May 10) by some of our Sausalito cavaliers. The Angel Island band was secured for the occasion and played several beautiful serenades which were interspersed with songs and refreshments on the hotel balconies from the serenaded.” Complete list of El Monte Hotel registrations for the previous week, some of whom were quite likely serenaded, as recorded in the Sausalito News, page 3, column 5: M.C. Woodward, J.L. Andrews & wife, Chas. Nauman & wife, J. Horsburg, W. Stralburg & family, Dr. J.A.W. Luneberg, E.L. Reese, Wm. Schefield, Henty Simmonds, W.S. Walsh, J.B. Kirkland, N.N. Judd, Miss N. Rosener, Irving Lundborg, H.J. Davis, Capt. Schenck, Mrs. Thompson & daughter.
May 21, 1885: “The El Monte Hotel has received a new coat of white paint and looks as bright as a new dollar. Col. J.E, Slinkey the proprietor is ready now to accommodate all that come along.” (Sausalito News, May 21, 1885, page 3, column 1.) Complete list of El Monte Hotel registrations for the previous week, as recorded in the Sausalito News, page 3, column 5: E.L. Reese, Jas Horburg, Jr., Mrs. R.G. Lewis, Ed Eden, Miss L.G. Crutchley, E.T. O‘Connor, Miss H.M. W. Tracy, J. Harbaugh, Miss Annie Johnson, E.A. Gunnison, Philip Liedes, S.W. Saalburg, Wm. Winter and wife, Dr. E.H. Brian, W.A. Schultz, Capt. J. Philips & daughter, M.C. Kean and wife, J. Gardner, Ogwalt Schifivt, J.B. Kirkland, Miss Lizzie Mason, Mrs. R.G. Durham, C.R. Peters, Nellie Donnelly, Newton Knox, Chas. A. Butler, H.H. Helman, F.D. Morrell, Thos Mitchell and wife, Isaac Liebes & family, R. Winter and wife, E.M. Reading and wife, Judge R.H. Taylor, Wm. Warburton, Dan O’Connell and son, Curtis E. Hall, Geo W. Bloor, Miss Birdie Levingston.
August 20, 1885: The frame of Captain Thomas' house adjoining the El Monte is "boarded in," and "promises to be an elegant improvement to the neighborhood." Meanwhile, arrangements have been made for a drug store to be built on the lot below the "El Monte Billard Parlor," and a Bulls-head breakfast is held on the El Monte grounds (Sunday, August 9) under the auspices of the Society of True Friends with Colonel SLinkey as host. Some 130 guests attend. A musical soirre took place in the El Monte parlors on August 15, with Miss Lilly Slinkey as one of the participants. (Sausalito News, August 20, 1885, page 3, column 2.)
Download 1887 Sanborn map of Sausalito showing El Monte Hotel and cottages. (176kb)
“EL MONTE HOTEL.—The nearest and most delightful suburb of San Francisco is Sausalito. Within a few years the growth of this seaside resort has been unequaled. The hills facing the bay have been dotted with handsome villas, many of them as imposing and costly as the homes of San Francisco. The principal hotel of Sausalito has been for years the ‘El Monte,’ J. E. Slinkey, proprietor. It has kept pace with the progress of the town. Mr. Slinkey, with commendable enterprise, has every year added to the El Monte, for the increasing popularity of Sausalito as a Summer-abiding place, demanded a first-class family hotel, comfortable, well kept, and suitable for transient as well as permanent occupation. The ‘El Monte’ is located on the most inviting spot in the vicinity of San Francisco. It is surrounded with spacious and well kept gardens, and the trees, which have such an abundant growth in this portion of Marin County, have been carefully preserved with the view of affording that shade so pleasing and necessary in the warm days of Summer. The view from the verandahs of the El Monte is exceptionally fine. To the west lies San Francisco, and in the middle distance Alcatraz with its frowning batteries, and picturesque citadel. Northward, Mount Tamalpais lifts its grizzled head in that purple haze, peculiar to the California atmosphere. To the eastward is Angel Island, with the military port, Camp Reynolds, snugly established between two sheltering ridges, and to the northeast Raccoon Straits and the full sweep of Richardson's Bay are disclosed. The attractions which the El Monte offers its habitats are numerous. They comprise everything that one may expect in the country. In the first place the rooms are neat, well ventilated and well furnished, not alone with what is ordinarily comprehended in the word, but nearly all have a portion of this grand, marine picture of island, bay and shipping. Then the boating, fishing, sea-bathing and romantic walks along winding and wooded paths with every few yards novel and ever varying glimpses of the sea, combine to make this place of rest and enjoyment complete.
“The drives in the vicinity are incomparably fine. Over the hills to Point Bonita, where the lighthouse stands on a jutting crag, lashed by the great waves rolling in from the ocean, is one of the most attractive. Along the bay shore to Mill Valley where groves of huge redwood trees still exist, and where the road winds to the summit of Tamalpais; to San Rafael, through Ross Valley, and on toward Nicasio if an extended trip is desired, are among the many points of interest which the sojourner at the El Monte may enjoy. About the grounds are handsome and well arranged cottages for families desiring more privacy than the hotel affords. Another advantage is its proximity to the steamer landing. About five minutes from the starting hour gives one quite time enough to get comfortably aboard. The climate here is unsurpassed. There are no shrill, biting winds, and no fog. The huge masses of mist which in Summer roll in through the Golden Gate, halt on the summits of the lofty hills in the rear, but never descend upon the mesa where the El Monte stands. There are hot and cold salt water baths attached to the hotel, and every modern convenience to make the visitor's stay agreeable.” (Daniel O’Connell, The Inner Man: Good Things to Eat and Drink and Where to Get Them, (San Francisco: The Bancroft Company, 1891), page 24.)
July 4, 1893: Fireworks, perhaps from the El Monte Hotel, burn most of Water Street and the stairs up to the hotel. (San Francisco Chronicle, July 5, 1893, page 4.)
1896: Mabel Loomis Todd, in writing about the journey of the schooner-yacht Coronet to Japan to see a total eclipse of the sun, wrote of stopping off at Sausalito and staying at the El Monte: "Built up from the water, clinging to a steep hillside and enbowered in foliage and blossoming roses, Sausalito possesses singular charm. From the narrow village street along the bay, steps innumerable lead upward past roofs of houses, past another tier of dwellings, to merge themselves in a gravel walk, still steeply ascending. Overhung by luxuriant trees and flowering shrubs, the 'El Monte' was finally reached.
"Not yet in entire readiness for her guests, the Coronet allowed them to gather for a few days at that little inn,—a place so distinctly foreign and picturesque that a shock of surprise always accompanied the unexpected sound of spoken English. A beautiful prospect rewarded the climb. Yachts lay at anchor in the bay, six or eight trading vessels and the Coast Survey steamship MacArthur, while beyond, villages nestled at the bases of hills, at this season green to their summits." (Mabel Loomis Todd, Corona and Coronet, (Boston and New York: Houghton, Mifflin and Co., 1899), pages 25-26.)
Images of the El Monte Hotel: