" Wonderful That This Historic Hotel Has Been Restored in such a Charming Way " - Larry & Dawn-Secret Society Memoirs
A Julian California Historical Hotel
The Julian Hotel, the oldest continuously operating hotel in Southern California, is not only a living monument to the glory of the long ago mining boom, it is also the dream come true of a former slave, Albert Robinson, and his wife, Margaret.
From separate directions, Albert and Margaret came to San Diego not long after gold was discovered near Coleman Creek in 1869. Albert, a freed Missouri slave, worked on a local ranch as cook. During this time Albert met Margaret Tull, daughter of Susan Tull who was the wife of the "first colored man ever summoned as juror in San Diego County."
Albert and Margaret married in Julian in the early 1880's. Not long after their marriage, the Robinson's started a restaurant and bakery on the present site of the Julian Inn.
As the Robinson's reputation grew, they began construction on the Hotel in 1897. In charge of the building were two prominent citizens of the Julian community, C.R. Wellington and F.L. Blanc.
During construction Albert planted the cedar and locust trees which encircle the Hotel today.
Albert and Margaret became famous for their hospitality as well as for their cooking. Mr. Ritchie, a resident born in Julian, exemplifies their hospitality by recalling his youth and the times his family would have supper at the Hotel after coming to town for supplies. Upon arrival, Albert Robinson would greet them warmly and pick up little Keith. Placing Keith on his shoulders, Albert would carry him inside. "I felt ten feet tall," remembers Mr. Ritchie.
Fitting beautifully into the new Victorian society, the Hotel's register confirms it was a frequent stopping place of Lady Bronston, the Scripps, and the Whitneys. The register even boasts the presence of many a senator and congressman.
Popular also with the townsfolk, the Hotel, located opposite of the town hall and stage station, became a social center in Julian which at that time boasted of two stage lines to San Diego, a toll road connecting Julian to the Butterfield Stage Route, six hotels, four general stores, and a dozen or more saloons. The Julian Inn was especially a hub-bub of activity after the monthly town hall dance when Margaret Robinson would prepare a midnight feast that was anticipated with great excitement.
named the "Hotel Robinson," the hotel was operated by its namesake until his death in 1915. A final touching entry written in the shaky handwriting of Margaret reads:
"Albert Robinson, Died June 10, 1915."
Margaret continued to operate the Hotel until 1921 when she sold it to Martin Jacobs, a renowned mining engineer and foreman of the Stonewall Mine. During the forty-seven years the Jacobs family owned the hotel, its name was changed to the present title of the "Julian Hotel."
The Julian Hotel is now listed in the National Register of Historic Places, Washington D.C, and State of California "Point of Historical Interest," representing an effort of the present owners, Steve and Gig Ballinger, to keep the Hotel's history alive for others to enjoy.
Due to the efforts of the Ballingers, the dream of Albert and Margaret Robinson is being carried on in the tradition and manner it was originally intended and with an invitation to the Hotel's visitors to capture a feeling of what it was like in a very charming era.