The Western Hotel Museum was designated as a California Historical Landmark (#658) by the California Office of Historic Preservation and is one of the few remaining links to early Antelope Valley heritage. Built-in 1888, the hotel is one of Lancaster’s oldest surviving structures and acts as the largest artifact in Lancaster Museum of Art and History - MOAH's Permanent Collection.
The hotel has seen several name changes over its lifetime, formerly known as the Antelope Valley Hotel and the Gillwyn Hotel, before becoming the Western Hotel in 1895. Most famously owned by early Antelope Valley pioneers, George and Myrtle ("Myrtie") Webber, the building served as a center for both commercial and social activity, playing a primary role in local historic events while in operation. For instance, the hotel housed the construction crews of the Los Angeles-Owens River Aqueduct between 1905 and 1913. The building also acted as a hospital during the Spanish Influenza epidemic in 1918.
After decades of use, the structure fell into disrepair in the 1970s, and restoration efforts began to preserve an important part of Lancaster’s history. Now, more than one hundred years after its original construction, these efforts have been completed. Today, the hotel acts as a repository for artifacts that have been placed on permanent display. All of the objects exhibited at the Western Hotel focus on local themes that incorporate aspects of the AV's indigenous communities and natural history, local pioneering history, and early industries including the railroad and mining.
Photograph courtesy of MOAH Collections