Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Otahuhu Murals: Criterion Hotel

From the September edition of the Otahuhu Despatch from the Otahuhu Historical Society:

This month we walk down the Great South Road to the corner of Criterion Street to find a mural of the Criterion Hotel. The photograph was taken in 1948 on the day of the centennial parade in Otahuhu. The gentleman leaning on the fence to the right is Jonas Underwood, father of Mary Crighton.

The Criterion Hotel was one of three hotels built in Otahuhu in the late 1840s to serve the Fencibles. The Commercial Hotel was destroyed by fire in 1866 and the Star Hotel is still in business today albeit under another name.

The Criterion Hotel was demolished in 1994 to make way for the development of Criterion Square and a complex that now includes a BNZ bank. A McDonald’s fast food restaurant occupies part of the old hotel carpark. A flagpole on the corner of Great South Road and Criterion Street is reputedly from the original Paine Brothers’ building in Otahuhu. At the base of the flagpole is a milepost plaque that was originally set in the old hotel wall to commemorate a series of mileposts erected along the Great South Road. This has become the subject of much debate as the plaque is not in the spot where the milepost once stood about 10 metres further north along the Great South Road.

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