January 31, 2018

Pat’s Blog #5

When and why the Simi Hotel was dismantled, 100 years ago this month (January 2018)

Someone let us know the address of a family member named Mottino, that used to reside in the former Simi Hotel. Barbara Willis, who worked with us at Strathearn Historical Park & Museum as a part time employee, wrote to the woman, and this was her reply, dated June 9th, 1994.

“About 1917 my folks, Mr. and Mrs. Mottino and we two girls, Marion and Adeline, came to Santa Susana to farm the Lehman Bros. property.  We moved into the (Simi) hotel.  In 1917, my brother George was born in the Hotel. Shortly after he was born, the hotel started crumbling. One day plaster fell from the ceiling, onto the baby bed.  Luckily the baby was not in the bed at that time.  This frightened the folks.  When Mr. Lehman heard of this, he decided the hotel had to go. So sometime after January 1918 the hotel was demolished.

“Two houses were built from the hotel lumber. One house was built where the hotel once stood, another was built about a quarter of a mile away. We moved into the house on the hotel site. In 1922, my sister Mary was born in the house that was built on the hotel site.

“Our family lived and farmed the Lehman Ranch until 1927, when our family moved to Vista, California in San Diego County.”

Signed by Mrs. Marion Smith of Oceanside, CA.

~ Click on photo below to enlarge it ~

The three story, 26 room Simi Hotel was built as part of the real estate promotion scheme of Simi Land & Water Co. in 1887. It stood on a knoll near where thepresent Simi Valley High School stands today. It was used to house prospective clients when they came to Simi to tour the valley. The hotel eventually fell into disrepair and was torn down. The exact date it came down is not certain, but most likely it was shortly after January 1918. Two houses were built with the lumber from the hotel.

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“We are not makers of history. We are made by history.”

Martin Luther King, Jr.