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Exterior of the Bayley House in Pilot Hill
This image of the once impressive 3 story Bayley House in Pilot Hill, was made in 1976. The Bayley House was built by Alcander J. Bayley as a hotel to serve travelers on the transcontinental railroad which had planned to follow a route John C. Fremont had mapped in the 1840’s through the Pilot Hill area.

The Bayley House opened on May 15th, 1862 with an invitation only reception. People came to view the 24 rooms, the ballroom, the observatory on top with a view of the surrounding mountains and Sacramento Valley, and the terraced gardens which surrounded the hotel. But the hotel was doomed to failure because the railroad changed it’s route to run through Auburn and the Bayley House became known as Bayley’s Folly. The building served as a private residence until the 1960s.

Since making our images the building has been in a continuing state of decline. The pillars and veranda are gone and most windows and doorways are covered by plywood. When we visited in November 2002, we were disappointed to see much of the exterior wall on the north side (shown above on the side of the building) had collapsed leaving the interior totally exposed to the elements. But happily money was raised and the wall was repaired. There is still hope that the building will be restored. The Georgetown Divide Recreation District (owner of the Bayley House) is raising money to restore the building for use as a museum related to the area’s history. Their web site for the project is www.bayleyhouse.net. The web site also has more history about the Bayley House.

The gallery has 2 additional images of interiors, the second floor stairway and a detail interior of one of the second floor rooms.

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