In her glory days it was Belleville’s grandest hotel – host to prime ministers, foreign dignitaries, and famous people. It remained a stately downtown presence until destroyed by fire on the night of December 20, 2012.
The main event at the Community Archives during January 2013 has been to research the long history of the Hotel Quinte and create a public exhibit featuring some of the archival materials. Thanks to the hard work and long hours of the dedicated volunteers, nine panels were finished in time for the show at the Quinte Mall this past week, co-hosted with the Hastings County Historical Society. Many thanks also to the hundreds of visitors who stopped by to look at the exhibit and share their memories.
There has been a hotel at the northeast corner of Bridge and Pinnacle Streets in Belleville since 1847, except during the periods after four disastrous fires. The Dafoe House opened as a first class hotel in 1847, burned down in 1855, was rebuilt, and burned again on October 4, 1886. The land was then sold to Henry Corby, who opened the Hotel Quinte on February 28, 1895. This hotel burned down on January 5, 1907. It “rose phoenix-like” again, larger and “more magnificent than ever” (according to newspapers of the day) and reopened on February 27, 1908. Nearly 105 years later, the hotel lies in ruins and rubble once more, awaiting the next incarnation.
The Community Archives holds many photographs, postcards, newspaper articles, programs, and dinner menus that illustrate the different buildings (inside and out) and the grandeur of the Hotel Quinte through through its long life.