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November 19, 2008 > History: The Alvarado Hotel

History: The Alvarado Hotel

By Myrla Raymundo

Driving through Union City, visitors will notice a historical building on the corner of Union City Blvd. and Smith Street in the Old Alvarado area. It used to be the Alvarado Hotel or the "Alvarado Hilton," as it was popularly known.

Fernando Paredes and wife Delores Paredes bought the hotel in 1939, about 11 years after he immigrated to the area from Spain. He spent a lot of money remodeling it, a major move for one who some years before had started out with a five-stool hamburger restaurant across the street.

The remodeling job left the building, said to have been relocated in the late 1800s by horse and wagon from the salt works, hardly a shadow of its former self. The frame, gabled building with its rambling veranda became a flat-topped, stucco structure decorated with wrought iron balconies.

Everybody, it seems, came to the Alvarado Hotel at one time or another: senators, judges, farmers, truck drivers, policemen, executives, construction workers, and kids, doctors, mayors and transients, but mostly men. Some just for coffee and others for all they could eat. It was Fernando's tradition that made the restaurant such a popular spot. And it was Fernando's tradition that has led to its demise.

"He fed too many too well for the price he charged." the younger Paredes said. "My father spoiled all those people. He just enjoyed feeding people. We had trouble with him in the last few years. He just was not making any profits and we could not get him to raise his prices." The Alvarado Hotel eventually closed its doors.

Fernando Paredes has three sons, Tony, Fred and Pete. Pete lives in Oregon, Fred, in Southern California and Doris Paredes, Tony's widow still lives in Union City.

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