One of the most unique old hotels I have visited is the one in Preeceville. The town is located in the rolling hills of east-central Saskatchewan, approximately 100 kilometres north of Yorkton at the junction of Highways 49, 47 and 9.
The Preeceville hotel is unique because it is the only one I know of that had porches and verandahs added rather than removed during its lifetime. In addition, while there have been several serious fires on Preeceville’s Main Street over the years, this large wooden structure has managed to escape the flames, mainly because of the wide spaces between the hotel and neighbouring buildings.
The three-storey Golden West Hotel was built in 1912 by Scott Rattray. According to Preeceville’s history book, Lines of the Past (1982), the basement excavation had to be abandoned the previous fall, “due to frost that even defied an attempt to blast with stumping powder.” Before the hotel opened, Rattray sold it to Rudy Ramsland, followed by Jack Lynch.
In 1911, Swan Carlson and his wife Emma moved to Preeceville and bought the Temperance Hotel where they set up a soda fountain and restaurant. After their business was destroyed by fire in December 1914, the Carlsons bought the Golden West Hotel which they operated until 1917. They then built a general store in town, which they operated until 1938 when they moved to San Diego, California.
In 1929, the Mattison family bought the Golden West Hotel for $5,000. Oscar and Clara Mattison, born in Norway, had come to Preeceville from Minnesota in 1913. Family members recall in the town’s history book that only one room in the hotel had linoleum flooring. “The lobby had an oiled board floor. The kitchen and dining-room floors were not painted and had to be scrubbed weekly,” the Mattisons write. Water works were not installed until the 1940s, so water was drawn from a cistern in the hotel’s kitchen. “Every day pails of water were carried upstairs to fill the large pitchers. Each bedroom was equipped with a wash basin and water pitcher. … The toilet facilities consisted of a commode. It had to be emptied two or three times daily, thoroughly rinsed and sterilized. A septic tank was installed in the backyard.” The only bathtub in the hotel was in the upstairs linen closet for family use only. The water was heated on the kitchen stove and carried upstairs.
For about a year, the Mattisons managed to meet the payments on the hotel. Then the Depression of the 1930s hit, and for many years the owners were only able to pay the interest and taxes. To help make ends meet, Mrs. Mattison made all the bread for the hotel. She also kept a couple of cows for milk until about 1938. The Mattison family continued to operate the Golden West Hotel until 1968 when they sold it after 39 years of ownership.
Roger and Shannon Prestie became the owners of Preeceville’s hotel in 1991. In January, 2001, Shannon Prestie was recognized by the Stanford Who’s Who, an elite organization of selected executives, professionals and entrepreneurs from around the world, as a leading professional for her work in the hospitality industry. The press release reads: “As owner of Golden West Hotel for the past 21 years, Shannon has consistently demonstrated the vision, dedication and diligence necessary to be successful in the business world. It is the only historical business in the [Preeceville] area operating as it was originally built.”
The Golden West Hotel continues to operate on the corner of Main Street and Highway 49 in Preeceville. The hotel features six guest rooms and two light housekeeping suites. There is full food service in 150-seat bar with daily specials. The hotel was listed for sale by Shannon Prestie in 2018.