Ash, Patti, and I got into Haines near midnight. We’d spent all day driving across Canada, and since Patti had slept poorly for the previous few nights, she was tired and wanted to get a hotel room. We drove around for a bit, trying to find the best deal in town, and discovered that there was only one deal in town. We literally got the last vacant room in Haines.
We found it at Hotel Halsingland. In the middle of the night, it looked like the setting of a horror movie — the buildings reminded me of the houses you see in the deep south in movies set during the civil war, but they were a little worn down and the main building had a huge neon sign on it proclaiming it a hotel. It wasn’t flickering, but it was enough to give Patti a horror movie vibe. I was instantly enthralled by the place; it obviously had character, and the buildings were fascinating beneath the occasionally peeling paint.
The room we got had only one bed; I slept on the floor with some extra bedding the front desk attendant brought us. I slept by the radiator in the corner, hoping to be warm there, but the back door right next to it was sealed poorly at the bottom, so my plan failed.
That back door led to a small room with a set of shelves and another door leading outside. We could have gone out that way if we’d wanted to, I think, but we didn’t try; there’s no way we could have locked it behind us, anyway.
I took all my pictures in the morning, after Ash and I got breakfast for ourselves and breakfast and coffee for Patti. Ash went to check out of the hotel, and came back with a business card printed on a super thin sheet of wood and a pamphlet about the history of the hotel. Haines, it turns out, was originally called Fort Seward. It was established to defend against possible invasion from Canada. After the fort was decommissioned, many veterans and their families elected to stay and established a civilian town called Haines. Hotel Halsingland is in three of the buildings that housed soldiers and their families. It looked like the other buildings are in use as apartments.