The Ecola Inn (also known as the Ecola Hotel and the Ecola Inn Hotel) was built in 1913 and utilized about half of the site of the present day Surfsand Resort. It was built by August and his son, Roy Becker, who were both major landholders in Cannon Beach (they also built the property where the Cannon Beach Hotel now sits, originally known as the Becker Building), with some help from Frank Madden, Paul Bartels, John Brallier, and Mr. Prosser. Mr. Bartels, who was famously known for creating massive fireplaces throughout Cannon Beach, was paid $2.00 a day and the carpenters were paid $4.00 a day for their work. Sometime after it was built, August Becker sold the hotel to his son-in-law and daughter, Mr. and Mrs. John Kofelt, and their associates, Mr. and Mrs. Chris Shaw. It was then, in 1931, that the property was sold to E.A. Hollinshead and his son, John Hollinshead. The hotel went through many owners over the years, but due to spotty records, it is unclear who all of the other owners were and when they took over.
The Inn was open all year round and the rooms featured twin beds with a bath or shower and connecting rooms. There were also apartments with maid services. The price to stay at the Inn was between $2.50 to $3.50 per night and it was $15.00 per week to rent a two-room apartment.
The front of the lobby was adorned with a large fireplace, which was perhaps constructed by Paul Bartels. The east lobby was done in Firtex from St. Helens, with an inlaid surf girl designed desk front, from pieces of linoleum, and easy chairs with chrome springed arms. The Inn became a social gathering spot and was known for its ping-pong tourneys in the lobby. The lobby also became a place for and guests to gather around the piano and harmonize together. According to records, the Inn was sold to a Mrs. Emma Fowler in 1948 in which she operated it for seven years. Her pet parrot, Loleta, was brought from South America and became almost as famous at the hotel itself. Loleta spoke many words, was delighted in calling the pet dog, and became upset when it saw men wearing gloves and a hat. After Mrs. Fowler sold the hotel in 1955, Loleta left as well.
The hotel also offered a bike service where visitors could rent bicycles and ride them along the beach. Even though everyone used the beach as a highway at that time, it was only accessible when there was a creek nearby with a constant flow of water, which kept the sand hard enough for cars to drive on. Ecola Inn was one of the few spots that had a connecting ramp for cars or bicycles to use.
The hotel also featured a drug store that was connected to the South side of the building called Roth Drug Store. A man named Mr. Arnold was in charge of the Pharmacy. A graduate in Pharmacy, Mr. Arnold had over forty-years of experience in the drug store business in Chicago, Nebraska, Montana, Spokane, Washington, and twenty-five years in Portland, Oregon.
By the late 1930s, an extension was added onto the South side of the Inn next to the drug store where were meals served. The restaurant was owned and operated by the Stevens family. Although they didn’t arrive to Cannon Beach until the late 1930s, they began serving the public with seafood in 1903. The restaurant went through several names (Ecola Sea Food Inn and Ecola Tavern) until it ended up being named the Ecola Restaurant. Breakfast was $0.20, lunch was between $0.35 – $0.50, dinner was $0.75, an entire pie was $0.75, and a seven course meal was a $1.00! The restaurant was expanded and remodeled in the beginning of 1951, but was closed down just a few decades later to make way for a new and updated Ecola Inn.
The Inn was purchased by Bill Hay in 1965 and was then razed in ’66, and the conversion of the motel that you see today began in 1976 and was officially back open for business in the summer of 1981 with just thirteen oceanfront rooms. Several generations have grown up at the Ecola Inn and continue to bring their families. The hotel continues to remain unique with a balance of nostalgia and modern needs, and the history of this place remains the same.