Events in the hotel were central to Davis life for several decades during the 20th Century. This display, along with the brick outline, memorializes the structure's place in Davis history.
The line of tan bricks embedded in the sidewalk 12 feet to your right shows the "footprint" of the historic Terminal Hotel Building. The bricks are from the facade of the original building.
At this corner in 1922, James Belenis (left) and George Tingus (right) opened the Terminal Cafe. In 1924, they moved the wooden structure seen in the photo and erected a one-story brick building for their restaurant. (Refers to upper left photo)
In 1927, the Cafe owners added a second floor hotel. Many guests arrived by train from the SP Depot.
As early as 1925, community groups regularly used the large, new restaurant as a meeting space. Members of the Davis City Council and other civic-minded Davisites gathered there to discuss city business, planning, and other topics of the day.
After WW II, the G Street area was considered out-of-date and declined. Many older buildings were torn down or remodeled beyond recognition, including those depicted above. The Terminal Hotel Building - on the right - was part of this trend. (Refers to photo in center of the marker)
The building was sold to new owners in 1958, who updated the storefronts by adding the "Old West" facade seen here. The hotel was renamed the Hotel Aggie and served a low-income clientele. After a vigorous debate over preservation of the historic building, it was demolished in 2000 and replaced by what is now called the Chen Building in honor of Grace and Lee Chen. (Refers to center-right photo)
From the 1950s to the '90s, various restaurants, clubs, and independent retail stores inhabited the building's ground floor. The Antique Bizarre, a bar and nightclub that featured live musical acts, was the most famous. Another store was the Natural Food Works. It was co-owned by Bob Black who went on to become a major figure in local progressive era politics.
As part of the 1976 Bicentennial Celebration, the City of Davis commissioned artist Terry Buckendorf to paint a mural of the Davis Arch (looking west) on the north face of the Terminal Hotel Building. The original Davis Arch structure spanned Second Street, just west of G Street, from 1916 to 1924. The arch mural was destroyed in 2000 when the Terminal Hotel Building was demolished.
You can learn more about the Terminal Hotel Building and other aspects of G Street and Davis history at the Hattie Weber Museum of Davis at 5th and C Streets. This display's sources can be found in the book Demolishing a Historic Hotel, available at the Museum.
Mitigation funding by Aggie Enterprises, developer of the Chen Building. Interpretive sign funder memorializes Lee Jing Chen, 1939-2011.