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The Crystal Ballroom at the Hotel Leo is the beautiful new home of the Bellingham Chamber Music Society! Our concerts will offer a full chamber music experience including engaging artists, supreme acoustics, signature BCMS cocktails and elegant surroundings in one of Bellingham’s oldest Hotels.

About the Hotel

Captain Byron built his namesake Byron Hotel in 1899 as a nine-story, brown brick building of the Chicago style, with eclectic elements from the Mission school. Once credited as being the finest hotel in Bellingham, as well as a thriving social center, most of the structure was demolished in 1967. Today’s last remnant, the Leopold Hotel, was a 1929 addition to the original building.

The Tulip Room in 1922 (known today as the Crystal Ballroom)

When the Byron Hotel was constructed, Bellingham was characterized by growth spurred by successful ventures in timber, fishing and coal, and speculation that Bellingham would become the terminus of the Great Northern Railroad. The hotel was built with a red tile roof and round arches that gave it a subtle California look. At street level, the facade was elegantly hand painted with high glaze tiles and leaded glass windows that still display the hotel logo in the entryway. A newspaper clipping from 1899 exclaims that the Byron hotel was “centrally located within easy access of all points of interest. Large rooms on second or third floor are comfortable and tastefully furnished.” 

Leopold Schmidt, a brew master who established the Bellingham Bay Brewery, bought the hotel in 1910. When he died in the hotel in 1914, his hotel manager, Henry Schupp, renamed the hotel Leopold in his honor. 

In 1913 the hotel hosted 200 rooms (100 with private baths), a dining room accommodating 150 people, and twenty-five additional sample rooms. Two additions came later: the Tulip Room in 1922 (known today as the Crystal Ballroom); another addition in 1929 increased the number of rooms to 500. Since the main hotel’s demolition in 1967, the Leopold tower has held a wide variety of restaurants and businesses. The Leopold Hotel, on both the National and Local Historic Registry, is now restored to its origins as a center of hospitality, welcoming travelers and residents alike to the heart of downtown.