Commodore comeback

Astoria’s historic Commodore Hotel finally reopens after almost 45 years.

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The Commodore Hotel in Astoria closed in 1965, left like a time capsule awaiting discovery. Two years ago, business owners set out to restore it, aiming to keep its historic significance while adding modern twists.

Paint peeled. Plaster crumbled. Decades of dust cloaked windowsills, armoires and unmade beds, as if the Commodore Hotel’s last guest had hung a “Do not disturb” sign, and for more than 40 years not a soul did.

At least, that’s how it felt in 2007, the first time Paul Caruana and his partners climbed the sturdy wood staircase and snooped through rooms untouched since the downtown Astoria hotel abruptly closed in 1965. They found yellowed photographs, cigarette butts as brittle as toothpicks, telephones from an era when “cellular” was a purely biological term.

As they sifted through the hotel-turned-time-capsule, Caruana and Brian Faherty of Astoria, and Lance Marrs of Portland, imagined its future. “The building was calling our names,” Marrs says. “It needed to be preserved, and we were the ones to do it.”

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