Now known as Murphys Hotel, this is one of the oldest hotels still operating in California and is located in central Murphys. First called the Sperry and Perry Hotel, it was opened by James L. Sperry and John Perry on August 20, 1856 and was considered one of the finest hotels outside of San Francisco. Henry Atwood was its proprietor in 1881; later, ownership passed to Harvey Blood. The hotel was renamed the Mitchler Hotel in 1882, and the Murphys Hotel in 1945 by the McKimins family. In 1963, it was bought by a College of the Pacific group who called themselves the "Murphys Ale and Quail Corporation."
The hotel was thought to be fireproof due to its stone construction and iron shutters, but the hotel was damaged in a fire of 1859 that destroyed most of the downtown area. It was quickly restored and reopened by the spring of 1860. The hotel has been a host to many famous people in its time, including Mark Twain, John Jacob Aster, Ulysses S. Grant, John Bidwell, Charles Bolles (also known as infamous stagecoach robber Black Bart), Henry Ward Beecher, Horatio Alger, J.P. Morgan, and Charles Lipton. The original register is on display at the Calaveras County Museum Complex in San Andreas.
The town of Murphys was a popular stopping point along the stagecoach route from Milton to Calaveras Big Trees. Murphys was once a bustling mining town, and after the plentiful placer deposits were depleted, cattle ranching and logging became the primary industries. Today, Murphys is a popular location in the Mother Lode, and is located near numerous attractions, including Calaveras Big Trees, Bear Valley, Angels Camp, Yosemite, Mercer Caverns, Moaning Cavern, Natural Bridges, and the Arnold Rim Trail. The town of Murphys also has popular wineries, shops, and restaurants.
The hotel remains a popular attraction in the Sierras, and in 2003, long-time Calaveras County resident Dorian Faught became the sixth owner of the hotel. The hotel also contains a saloon and a restaurant.
The hotel is located at 457 Main Street in Murphys.
Along with Mark Twain’s famous "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County" story that spun into an annual fair and Jumping Frog Jubilee, Calaveras County is rich with Gold Rush history and folklore. Remnants of the railroads and Hispanic culture add to the charm of the county located in the Sierra Nevada foothills. Calaveras Big Trees State Park, a preserve of Giant Sequoia trees, and the uncommon gold telluride mineral Calaverite was discovered in the county in 1861, and is named for it.
Calaveras is a Spanish word meaning "skull." The name was first given to the river because of the great quantities of human skulls found along the lower reaches of the river.
Calaveras County is famous for its lode and placer mines, and the largest gold nugget from the United States was taken from the Morgan Mine at Carson Hill in 1854, weighing 214 pounds. For many years it was the principal copper-producing county in California. Cement deposits from its vast limestone deposits has become one of the county's major industries in recent years.