The Truckee Hotel opened in 1873. At the time it was called the American House. In 1875, Stewart McKay purchased the hotel for $2,364.71 and re-opened it as the Whitney House. The Whitney House served as a stagecoach and overland train stop for passengers. A brochure found from this era boasted "This is the best stopover place on the C.P. R.R. between San Francisco and Salt Lake." The brochure also advertised a stage visit to Lake Tahoe "...it only takes nine hours for a trip around the lake from Truckee."
A devastating fire destroyed most of the structure in 1909. Amazingly, the owner had enough lumber on-site to rebuild immediately. The hotel opened a mere 42 days later, as the New Whitney House. The Hotel advertised electric lights, hot and cold running water, an elevator, steam heat and fire protection (the much anticipated elevator was never installed). That same owner had Truckee's first billboard painted on a granite mass adjacent to the Dutch Flat-to-Truckee wagon Road on Donner Summit. The sign beckoned "Welcome / The New Whitney / Steam Heated / We Invite Inspection." The sign is still visible after more than 90 years of Sierra ice and snow!
Over the next 40 years, the hotel's ambiance ranged as often as its name: Hotel Blume, Riverside Hotel, and Alpine Riverside (for the 1960 Olympics at Squaw). The Alpine Riverside's restaurant was famous for specialty "cut-and-cook your own steak".
In 1976, the hotel was re-named The Truckee Hotel, and in 1992, extensive renovations restored the building to its present day status. After over 130 years in operation, The Truckee Hotel is still welcoming visitors to the Sierras today.