One evening in the late 1800’s an unannounced visitor came to a small house built by Albert and Sarah Howlett on Little Butte Creek in Eagle Point, Ore. When the stranger asked if he could stay the night, they invited him in.
The next morning, Mrs. Howlett, better known as “Ma Howlett,” fixed him breakfast. He stayed for a full lunch, and at dinnertime announced he would like to move in with them.
Soon a friend of his came to the house and moved in, too. When another friend knocked on the door, Ma Howlett realized she was running a boarding house and began charging them 25 cents a meal.
Soon the Howletts decided the community needed a hotel.
In 1901 they opened the Sunnyside Hotel, a three-story, 18-room building on present-day North Shasta Avenue. Ma Howlett, already famous for her Sunday meals, soon opened a dining room. The Sunnyside became a center of social activity for community dances, taffy pulls, quilting bees, parties, and weddings. More than 225 guests attended the 1912 Fourth of July festivities at the popular hotel.
After her husband died, Ma Howlett ran the business for another 12 years.
Sources: Greiner, Mary. "Boss Cook of Famous Hotel is 82." Medford Mail Tribune, 16 June 1929, p. 6, files.usgwarchives.net/or/jackson/newspapers/n-howlet.txt. Accessed 22 May 2017; LaPlante, Margaret. Eagle Point. Charleston, SC, Arcadia Publishing, 2012, pp. 59-60.