The land on which the City Park Grand Hotel stands was once owned by an enterprising ship owner and builder named Jonathan Griffiths. He was born in England in 1773 and at the age of 15 was convicted of grand larceny for removing a trunk (suitcase) from a wagon and sentenced to be transported for seven years. He arrived in Port Jackson, Sydney in June 1790 and was then transferred onto Norfolk Island in August. After completing his sentence in 1795, he returned to Sydney where he became a successful boat builder and transporter of grains and coal.
In 1822 Jonathan took two of his sons to Launceston and purchased a large parcel of land for the purpose of growing wheat. They ploughed the land alongside Tamar Street, from the North Esk river through to Brisbane Street, built a steam flour mill and erected a four-storey grain warehouse, one of the first brick buildings in Launceston. He was also responsible for the construction of the first wharves in Launceston which he used to export his grain and flour to Sydney.
The wharves bristled with trade and with it came new buildings which included a watering hole for sailors whose vessels were docked at the wharves. The City Park Grand Hotel started as one of those watering holes and was originally known as the Dorset Tavern when it was built in the mid 1850’s.
In January 1868, Prince Alfred, the first Duke of Edinburgh and son of Queen Victoria, broke ground with a silver spade to begin construction of the first steel railway in Tasmania, the 5 foot 3 inch gauge Launceston and Western Railway. He did so opposite where the Dorset Tavern stood. The first Launceston rail station was located between City Park and the North Esk river, enabling the Tavern to catch the trade of the railway traveling public. This trade doubled in 1876 when the 3 foot 6 inch gauge Main Line trains from Hobart joined the incoming traffic. During that same year, John Tynan changed the name of the tavern to The Terminus and also established it as a permanent station for a coach link with George Town. A further boom time for The Terminus Hotel came in 1891, when people flocked into Launceston to see the Tasmanian International Exhibition in the newly-built Albert Hall.
With new owners in 1986, the Hotel underwent major renovations and a name change to The Prince Albert Inn. The Inn successfully operated for many years before the current owners purchased the Inn and the adjoining Alfred Harrap buildings.
During 2007 the Inn embarked on a major renovation program to provide the highest level of quality and luxury available. The name of the hotel has also been changed to reflect its location, style and appointment, the City Park Grand Hotel.