Fred E. Daggett
F. E. DAGGETT is a pioneer hotel man of
Nome, and although his hotel has been twice
destroyed by fire he has thrice built it, and
with pluck and persistence that deserves a better fate is
still engaged in the business. He conducts the leading
hotel of Nome, which in furnishing and equipment is
equal to many first class hotels in far more pretentious
He was born in Hammond, Wisconsin, August
23, 1864. He left home when he was fourteen years
old and worked his way west. At Spokane, Washington, he was employed for two years at the Windsor
Hotel. He was subsequently connected with hotels
in Portland, San Francisco and Northern California.
He was employed in the Southern Pacific Commissary
Department for four years, and was also connected
with the commissary department of the California
Navigation and Improvement Company. In 1898,
he went to St. Michael, Alaska, with the Alaska Exploration Company, Captain Hibbard, manager. He
resided in St. Michael until the spring of 1900, filling the position of post steward
besides having charge of the commissary department for the company. Going to Nome
in 1899, he saw an opening for a hotel. He purchased a lot and went "outside"
to obtain the necessary money for the construction of the building. He and A. J.
Johnson built the first hotel in Nome. They chartered a vessel to take to Nome the
material and equipment for the hotel, the cost of which was $35,000. Arriving in
Nome they discovered that the lot upon which the building was to be erected had
been jumped and sold many times. Rather than seek to recover it by litigation
another lot was purchased, which is the site where the hotel now stands.
Johnson sold his interest to J. B. Harris, and the size of the house was increased
during the following winter so that it had sixty furnished rooms. At 1 :30 P. M. May
25, the day the last carpet was laid, a fire broke out, and by 3 o'clock the hotel
property was entirely destroyed, entailing a loss of $40,000. With a capital of $8,000
they started to rebuild, and two weeks later the new building was open for the reception
of guests. The bar receipts on the opening night were $2,000. The new house
cost $40,000 and was plastered with a $16,000 mortgage, drawing a monthly interest of two percent. During this summer season a hall costing $10,000, making a total
investment of $50,000, was added to the building.
July 5, 1904, all the indebtedness had been paid except $2,000. At 5 o'clock
in the morning of this day another fire destroyed the Golden Gate Hotel, and what
was worse than the destruction of the property, destroyed three lives. This fire left
Mr. Daggett with but $70 in cash and without a change of clothing. Discouraged,
but not downed, he planned to build again, and by the assistance of the public-spirited
citizens of Nome he has erected a third building which with its furnishings has cost
$43,000. If he does not have another visitation from the fire fiend, and if Nome
prospers as it should, and as everyone who is familiar with the resources of the camp
believes it will, Mr. Daggett will relieve himself of the burden of this debt and win
out in an uneven fight against the worst luck that has befallen anybody in the Nome
Source: Nome and Seward Peninsula by
R. S. Harrison. Seattle: The Metropolitan Press, 1905.