The Hughes Hotel, Fresno’s first four-story building, was built in 1888 for about $300,000 (over $7 million in 2012 dollars).
The Hughes, built of brick and finished in a sandstone color, in the Modern Renaissance style, covered a large section of a city block on the southwest corner of I (later Broadway) and Tulare streets. It featured 200 rooms, plush parlors, an elegant restaurant, saloon, billiard room, a reading room and a steam laundry.
Among its firsts: electric lights in all rooms, generated by an on-premises power plant, telephones in each room and an elevator. It was built around a large interior court with orange trees, flowering plants and a central fountain. Balconies around the upper floors offered a view of the courtyard.
In 1898, a peacock lived in the courtyard. It met its fate in July 1953, when it fell victim to one of several arson fires set that day.