Historic Highland hotel is ‘hopeless.’ City leaders vote to tear it down.


A historic building in Highland will have to be demolished despite efforts to rehabilitate it, according to city leaders.

The Eagle Inn was originally constructed as a hotel for millworkers in 1838 and has gone through a variety of uses in addition to its history as a dwelling: it was a post office, a stagecoach stop, a dance hall and a saloon.

It’s also gone through a lot of names, including the Columbia Hotel, Bonn Inn and Uptown Apartments.

It was renamed the Eagle Inn Apartments in 1990 but fell into disrepair. Last year a developer purchased the property to invest $1.4 million in rehabilitation for luxury apartments.

Developer Gayle Frey wrote in her application for assistance that it would be a challenging project due to the nature of the property. On April 17, the council approved the amended plan requiring demolition of the property.

Jacob Rose of the Highland Historical Commission said he’d received a lot of comments about the decision. But he said he agreed that the building might have sentimental value, but was really unsalvageable.

“When it comes down to a building that’s barely standing, it’s better to replace it,” he said.

Councilwoman Peggy Bellm said she had personal history with the building.

“I hate to see it come down too; it was my great grandfather’s building,” she said. “I ran around there as a kid.”

However, Bellm agreed that the building’s condition was “hopeless,” after multiple attempts at rehabilitation.

The council approved a revised incentive package including the $50,000 demolition of the existing property. The new building will include four to six luxury apartments with bigger spaces and dedicated parking.