August 1, 1881 – Antone Fernandez Luiz purchased a lot on the south side of Ukiah Street, west of Kasten Street. Later that year, J. D. Johnson built a hotel on the site, and Luis began operating the Lisbon House. This hotel catered primarily to immigrants from Portugal, who were beginning to arrive in Mendocino.
In 1906, Luiz sold his hotel to Lawrence Gaspari and Joseph Borgna. The new owners were of Italian heritage and changed the name to Sempione Hotel. Sempione was the Italian name of a mountain pass in the Alps between Switzerland and Italy near the homeland of Joseph Borgna.
Mrs. Borgna operated the hotel until 1919 when she sold it to Raffaelo Paoli. Raffaelo and his wife, Emelia, renamed it, the Paoli Hotel, and kept it going until 1941 when it closed.
Miles Paoli, son of Raffaelo and Emelia, operated his TV & Radio Service Shop in this building. Ed O’Brien’s first Compass Rose Leather Shop opened here in September of 1970.
The building remained in the Paoli family until Miles Paoli’s death. In 1984, Al Weaver purchased this property. With the assistance of architects Michael Leventhal and Robert Schlosser, the building was extensively renovated, transforming the hotel into offices and retail. The distinctive scroll-cut railing trim and balustrade were also restored.
The Iconic Mendocino Buildings by Ocean Wave Quilters is now available online! This beautiful coffee-table book will delight anyone with a love of Mendocino and an appreciation for art. Twenty-six iconic buildings in Mendocino are colorfully-rendered on quilt squares. Each photo beautifully captures the detail and craftsmanship of the original, and is accompanied by a black and white photo of the building plus a brief history. $40.