The town of Wheeler would not exist if it weren’t for the gumption and tenacity of a
young man by the name of Coleman H. Wheeler. In the mid 1890’s, he chose a spot on
the south end of Nehalem Bay to build his sawmill, plat a town and pursue the necessary infrastructure to support a city that would rival San Francisco.
The Pacific Railway & Navigation Company had completed a rail link between
Portland and Wheeler in 1911. The railroad facilitated the influx of travelers and the
transport of timber from the vast old-growth Tillamook Forest through which it ran,
to the lumber and shingle mills of Wheeler. Roads were being laid, a new jetty was in
the works to better utilize the waterways and the town’s population had swelled from
a small few to several hundred.
The growth and imaginings of such a venture caught the eye of an incorporated
group of high profile politicians and businessmen from Tillamook City, who invested
heavily in the economic development of Wheeler. The Hotel Wheeler was one such investment, built in 1924
to replace the previous Hotel in town, which burned in 1923. The original, The Rector Hotel and the Hotel
Annex, flourished along with the rest of Wheeler during an economic boom.
Things took a turn for the worse in the early 1930’s; not only was the Great Depression taking its toll, but in the
summer of 1933 the first of a series of major forest fires broke out which utterly devastated the timber industry in the area. The conflagration, known as “The Tillamook Burn” changed the environment, the economy, and the people of northwest Oregon forever. Patronage of the Hotel Wheeler declined until, in 1940, Dr. Harvey Rinehart purchased the building and began operating it as the Rinehart Clinic, which became well knownas a facility for the treatment of arthritis. Patients would come from all over the States and stay in hotel rooms on the upper floor of the building while receiving treatments on the first floor and basement. The clinic eventually offered all forms of medical services until it closed its doors in

  1. The current Rinehart Clinic, now practices family medicine to this
    day in a modern facility just up the road here in Wheeler.
    The building changed ownership a couple of times in the ’80s and ’90s. Some improvements were made including new store-fronts and updated wiring, but essential maintenance had not been performed and by the late 1990’s the building was showing serious signs of deterioration. In the fall of 1998, the Laszlos, who were just passing through Wheeler while traveling in their motor-home, stopped for a cup of coffee and ended up staying to refurbish the building, transforming it into a charming, comfortable, and unique place to stay.
    In 2008 it was purchased by Katie Brown, who is continuing the tradition of constant of this great old hotel as a projectlike this is never truly “finished”.



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