Although overshadowed by larger, more lavish hostelries, like the St. Nicholas, Abraham Lincoln and Leland hotels, smaller hotels and boarding houses dotted downtown Springfield during much of the 20th century. Some catered to traveling salesmen, while others housed more or less permanent residents.
The last and longest-lived of downtown’s classic rooming houses was the Grand Hotel, 109-11 N. Seventh St., which had sunk to the level of a flophouse by the time it closed in December 1987. In its last years, the Grand was a regular locale for items in the newspaper’s Police Beat columns, usually involving drugs, thefts and petty crime.
“There was first and always the irony of the name: the Grand Hotel was anything but,” the State Journal-Register’s Mary Nolan wrote in a Dec. 19, 1987 obituary for the old hotel.
The former hotel building, now the home of the Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau, was rehabilitated to largely resemble its original Queen Anne design.
In an earlier (1988) historic designation application for the former Grand Hotel, the late Charles Kirchner identified 71 downtown hotels that had been founded or were operating over the period from 1907 to 1916, the Grand’s first decade. That list is reproduced below.
Many of the buildings served as hotels for years, even as the names of the hotels and their owners changed frequently. (The Grand was among hotels that changed names over their lifetimes. It was renamed the Roosevelt Hotel in August 1933, presumably to honor Franklin D. Roosevelt, who had been inaugurated as president the previous March. It reverted to the Grand name in 1939.)
Both the list and map can be found in the Sangamon Valley Collection at Lincoln Library. Dates in parentheses show when a hotel opened.
Kirchner’s original list includes the decade when each hotel went out of business; that information is not included below. The map showing hotel locations also is taken from Kirchner’s work.
Hotels in business or established in downtown Springfield, 1907-16
The Annex (1911), 509-11 E. Capitol
American House (1914), 609½ E. Washington
Argus House (1913), 214 S. Fourth
Arlington Hotel (1913), 405½ E. Monroe
Atlas Hotel (1911), 206½ N. Fourth
Baldwin Hotel (1916), 411½ E. Jefferson
Beecher Hotel (1916), 411½ E. Jefferson
Belvedere Hotel (1908), 207 E. Adams
Brunswick Hotel (1871), 705½ E. Adams
Capital Hotel (1911), 417½-19½ E. Jefferson
Capitol Hotel (1910), 108½ N. Sixth
Cliff House (1916), 414½ E. Adams
Collins House (1882), 700-702 E. Adams
Commercial Hotel (1891), NW corner of Third and Jefferson
Cottage Hotel (1911), 216 E. Monroe
Eagle Hotel (1905), 108½ N. Sixth
Eastman Hotel (1916), 431½ E. Jefferson
Elmer Hotel (1910; later the Sangamo Hotel), 622½ E. Adams
The Elms (1908), 530 S. Sixth
Empire (Stag) Hotel (1910; later the Governor and the Capitol Plaza), 416-18 E. Jefferson
European Hotel (1916), 324½ E. Jefferson
Evans Hotel (1914), 206½ N. Fourth
Fortune’s European Hotel (1907), 201-07 N. Sixth
Grand Hotel (1906), 109-11 N. Seventh
Herald Hotel (1910), 619½ E. Adams
Holland & Read Hotel (1908), 619½ E. Adams
Home Hotel (1916), 1007½ E. Washington
Hotel Belvedere (1914), 217½ S. Sixth
Hotel Brown (1914), NE corner of 11th and Adams
Hotel Lincoln (1913), 127½ N. Fourth
Hotel Normandie (1898), 311-15 S. Fourth
Hotel Silas (1896), 113-15 N. Fourth
Hotel Springfield (1910), 517 E. Jefferson
Howard Hotel (1907), 113½-115½ N. Sixth
Howard’s New European Hotel (1910), 804-06 E. Adams
Hub Hotel (1916), 113½-115½ N. Sixth
Huskey’s European Hotel, 425-27 E. Washington
Hyland Hotel (1910), 206½ N. Fourth
Illinois Hotel (1905), NE corner Fourth and Washington
Interurban Hotel (1910), 804-06 E. Adams
Jefferson Hotel (1913), 201-07 N. Sixth
Jefferson House (1860), 700-02 E. Washington
Kerr’s European Hotel (1908), 119 N. Fourth
LaFayette Hotel (1905), 112-14½ N. Sixth
Leland Hotel (1867, rebuilt 1911), NW corner of Sixth and Capitol
LeSourd’s European Hotel (1907), 619 E. Adams
Lutner Hotel (1908), 111½ E. Washington
Manhattan Hotel (1910), 111 N. Sixth
Marshall House (1908), 623½ E. Adams
Morris Hotel (1913), 513-17 E. Jefferson
New Hotel (1910), 208½-210½ N. Fourth
Opera Hotel (1914), 130½ N. Sixth
Palace European Hotel, 123½ N. Fourth
Palmer Hotel (1916), 127½ N. Sixth/429 E. Jefferson
Park Hotel (1913), 123½ N. Fourth
Plaza Hotel (1916), 619½ E. Adams
Pulliam Hotel (1913), 1007½ E. Washington
Revere Hotel 1914), 105½ N. Fourth
Royal Hotel (1910), 417½-419½ E. Jefferson
Rulle Hotel (915), 218½ S. Sixth
Russell Hotel (1914), 417½-419½ E. Jefferson
St. Nicholas Hotel (1856), SE corner of Fourth and Jefferson
Smith Hotel (1913), 417½-419½ E. Jefferson
Snider’s European Hotel (1908), 609½ E. Washington
Southern Hotel (1907; later The Argus and Hotel Capitol), 214 S. Fourth
Springfield Hotel 1915), 323 S. Fourth
Stag Hotel (1910), 418-22 E. Jefferson
Star Hotel (1916), 711½ E. Jefferson
State Hotel (1913), 126½ N. Seventh
Stone’s Hotel (1914), 523½ E. Monroe
Also: The Jefferson House, 700-02 E. Washington St., was caricatured in a painting by laborer John Mahony in 1885. See “The Power of Music”: Jefferson House hotel.
Note: This entry has been updated with additional photos of hotels found in Springfield: The Capital of the State of Illinois, 1912. This entry also has been edited to correct the date of the founding of both the St. Nicholas Hotel and the Illinois Hotel and to reflect the 1930s’ name change of the Grand Hotel. Finally, the date given here (1898) for the opening of the Hotel Normandie appears to be inaccurate. See the Hotel Normandie entry (linked above) for more information.
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