The Bartholets — People from Yakima’s past

April 22, 2010

The Hotel Bartholet is shown in this undated photograph. It was built in 1889 at 10 N. 1st Ave in Yakima.

The sign for the hotel remained until about five years ago, an emblem on the North First Street sidewalk. It has since been removed, and yet the memory of the Bartholet family and the Hotel Bartholet linger on.

When the town of North Yakima was first established, the Bartholet Hotel was one of the first buildings to be transported from Union Gap. It was placed on South First Street, one of the main streets at the time, and remained there until it was burned and rebuilt on North First Street.

Traveling by wagon in the late 1860s, Joseph Bartholet and his sons, John, Frank and Matt, came West looking for a place to settle. Having traveled from Jordan, Minn., through San Francisco, and to The Dalles, Ore., they decided to settle in Parker Bottom. They lived there with their families: John with his two sons, Arch and Joe Bartholet; Frank with his son, Urban Bartholet; and Matt with his son, John “Bud” Bartholet.

Joseph Bartholet, Jr.

Joe and Arch were born in the hotel, and Joe is thought to be the first white child born in North Yakima.
John Bartholet, the hotel proprietor, advertised rooms for $1 and $1.50 a night and noted that it had new brick, making it more fireproof. “Handsomely furnished, first class in every respect, elegant accommodations,” read a hotel advertisement in 1890.

Like many families of their day, the Bartholet family was composed of strong people who worked to build Yakima up to what it is today.

The family began a dairy business with seven cows, which they milked consistently morning and night, selling milk at 20 quarts for a dollar.

The business stopped once Joe left for college. After college, he became a messenger boy for the Yakima Valley Bank, where he worked until the Depression hit in 1933.

Soon after that he became the Yakima representative for the J.H. Huston Co. of Seattle, as well as, for a short time, treasurer of the Selah Brewery. Joe also worked as a dispatcher for Yakima Grocery until his death in 1969.

Arch Bartholet was involved with theater. At age 11, he got his first job at the Larson Theater, working as a program boy. In his adult years, he was president of the BPO Elks Lodge, Gyro Club and Chamber of Commerce.

His $6 million War Bond Drive in Yakima in 1943 was one of the biggest jobs Arch undertook, along with being general chairman of Pioneer Days in 1935, after which the Yakama Indian Nation named him Chief Yellowcloud. He died in 1962 at age 73.

Frank Bartholet, John’s brother, was an assistant cashier for Yakima National Bank, and Matt Bartholet, the third brother, worked in the mercantile business. He was Yakima County treasurer and auditor in the 1890s. After moving to Ellensburg, he worked in the grocery business and was mayor there.

Known for his ability to converse in the Indian language, Matt was given special names by the Indians of the area. Eventually he moved to Olympia, where he died in 1925.

— Colleen Fontana

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