175 Jackson Street
The first 'Empire Hotel' was established in a wooden building on this site in 1888.
Thomas George MacCarthy bought the property in 1902. MacCarthy was an Englishman who had been drawn to New Zealand by
the prospect of gold. He invested widely in hotels and other property in the region. In 1912 MacCarthy died and the property
passed to the Public Trustee.
The present 'Empire Hotel' was constructed in 1935 for the Thomas George MacCarthy estate. Apart from the modern balcony
railing on the first floor, the Empire Hotel's street facade looks the same as it did when it was built in 1935.
The definite influence of classical architecture can be seen in the decoration on the upper level facade. For example, the pilasters,
plain freize displaying the name of the hotel and denticular cornice. The outline created by the raised pediment shaped sections on
the parapet is also classical in origin.
The windows on the upper storey have sixlight sashes. The lower street facade is plainer with less decoration.
In the 1950's and 1960's the Empire Hotel underwent a number of minor alterations. A major addition was built onto the North
(rear) end of the building.