The first Carleton Hotel was built on this site about 1887, under the ownership of Jennie and Emma Strawbridge, sisters, who were natives of Sharon, PA.
That hotel burned in 1904. At the same time, the Idlewylde Hotel to the north, also burned.
The Carleton was rebuilt almost immediately by John Ferguson and was managed by his wife, Lillie Robinson Ferguson, until 1915. It was then sold to L.G. MacDowell.
On a March night in 1925, the night policeman saw a blaze in the Carleton's kitchen and ran to rouse the guests. He fired his revolver several times as an alarm. Chief of Police Joe Brannen rounded up the firemen, but the blaze was already out of control. There was one loss of life: a laundress died in the flames.