The BLUE DOOR INN History
The Inn began in 1920 as a modest 2-bedroom, 1-bath home owned by the young Blaine R. Hallock family. Located steps from St. Francis de Sales Cathedral, opened in 1908, and on the same city block as the home of fabled entrepreneur and philanthropist Leo Adler, the Hallocks expanded the home in 1931 to a luxurious 4 bedroom, 4 bath home with servants’ quarters.
The Hallock family owned and lived in the home until 1954 when Blaine Hallock died of a heart attack in the Baker City Elks Club. He was born a very poor boy in Heppner, Oregon in 1884. His parents worried that they could not afford to feed two children (Blaine and his elder sister). However, despite their poverty, Blaine’s parents taught him to embrace the goodness and possibilities in life.
When Blaine was ten, the family moved to Pendleton, Oregon where he wrote and published his newspaper, the SUN. Samples of the SUN are now archived in the Smithsonian. He included little verses about townspeople in each issue. Below are two examples:
Mr. Ely peddles fruit
All through the summer long
And oh the boys they swipe the things
While to each house he's gone.
-Blaine R. Hallock, The SUN, circa 1895
Jim Lipscomb is a little man
With a captivating face
He strolls around about the town
And girls he does embrace.
-Blaine R. Hallock, The SUN, circa 1895
Blaine graduated from Pendleton High School and completed law school. He passed the Bar in several states including Oregon, Washington, Idaho and New York.
As an adult, Blaine was husband, father, fly fisherman, ecologist and activist for clean rivers, member of the Oregon Fish and Game Commission (otherwise named at that time), Catholic, and Volunteer. A visual artist, pen and ink, as well as oil on canvas, he continued the writing he began as a small boy in Pendleton.
Blaine traveled widely, for example: New York City, Mexico, Europe, China (4 months with the Archbishop). The architecture of the Inn reflects the breadth of his life and travels.
Note the Built-in marked MUSIC ROLL cabinet in the living room. See the detailed drawings of built in cabinets and cubbyholes. As you explore the Inn you will be able to identify each of the original built-ins, as the Inn remains aesthetically and structurally true to the blueprints for the 1931 expansion.
Following Blaine Hallock’s fatal heart attack in 1954 at the Baker City Elks Club, Frederick Basche and his wife moved into the home. The Basche family were active businessmen in Baker, wholesaling hardware throughout the Pacific Northwest, lumber mills, and other. Now the Basche-Sage Mall, less than 2 blocks from the Inn, the building once housed Basche-Sage Hardware.
Mrs. Basche imprinted her sense of style on the Inn in 1954 when she selected wallpaper for the living room, dining room, Red Room (her daughter Mary’s bedroom), and the guest floor hallway. You can enjoy these beautiful rooms when you visit or stay in the Inn. Members of the Frederick Basche family lived in the house until Mary Basche -Sproed and her husband sold the house in 2005 to Von Miller and his wife Gaynelle Nielsen in 2005. Von and Gaynelle retired to Baker City in July 2012. They lived in, loved and restored the home and yard. In 2015 Ms. Nielsen renewed her commitment to Baker City when she opened the Inn on July 7, 2015. It is her great joy to share the home and its history with visitors and guests.
1884: Blaine R. Hallock is born in Heppner, Oregon.
1920: Original 2-bedroom 1-bath house is built.
1931: The Hallock family expands the Inn to its current size and elegance.
1954: Frederick Basche and his family purchase the home after Blaine Hallock dies in the Baker City Elks Club.
2005: Gaynelle Nielsen and Von Miller purchase the Inn from Mary Basche-Sproed and her husband.
2012: Von Miller and Gaynelle Nielsen move in to the home.
2015: Gaynelle Nielsen opens the Baker City Blue Door Inn.
In your guest room you will find a copy of EARLY NORTHWEST FLY FISHING written by Blaine R. Hallock with drawings and photos by the author. Enjoy the photos and drawings as well as the stories.
photos: BakerCountyLibraryPhotoArchives and Early Northwest Fly-Fishing
Baker City, OR
Saint Francis De Sales Catholic Church 1st Street, Baker City, OR
Geiser Pollman Park, Baker City, OR
Blaine Hallack as a Child
Blaine Hallack as an Adult
Frederick Basche in front of Basche & Company Baker City, OR