Downtown Springfield hotels, 1907-16

Grand Hotel building, 2015 (SCHS)

Grand Hotel building, 2015 (SCHS)

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.

The Argus Hotel (this and others below from Springfield: The Capital of the State of Illinois, 1912)

The Argus Hotel (this and others below from Springfield: The Capital of the State of Illinois, 1912; courtesy Sangamon Valley Colllection)

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

Hotel locations, 1906-17 (Charles Kirchner)

Hotel locations, 1906-17 (Charles Kirchner)

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

Collins Hotel, 1912

Collins House, 1912

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, 1912

Illinois Hotel, 1912

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

Hotel Silas, 1912

Hotel Silas, 1912

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.schs logo (2)

Original content copyright Sangamon County Historical Society. You are free to republish this content as long as credit is given to the Society. Learn how to support the Society. 

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24 Responses to Downtown Springfield hotels, 1907-16

  1. bob cavanagh says:

    I don’t see the Greentree Hotel on the list. It was constructed in 1874 by Gregor Thoma at the NE corner of 4th and Washington. Still solid and beautiful, red brick. Used to be the Lox, Stock and Bagel in one of its incarnations about 30 years ago. Thoma’s son used to be partners in business with B. F. Ferguson in the long ago and a rather non-descript and ordinary little street on the north end bears there name today. The older Thoma, Gregor, the founder of the hotel, died in the insane asylum in Jacksonville.

  2. Bob Cavanagh says:

    Ok I see it as the illinois hotel by the time the directory came about. Thanks for this blog I always find it interesting

  3. Roger Whitaker says:

    The Bruce House on the SE corner of 7th and Madison was in operation in the 1870s, but was probably not in operation by 1907. It was owned and operated by my 4th great Uncle Manning A. Bruce who died in 1894.

  4. Pingback: Yep, Real Helpful – Prairie Public

  5. editor says:

    Note: this comment has been drastically revamped.

    Prairie Public ( is a blog written by public history students at the University of Illinois Springfield. If you click on the pingback link above, you’ll see that student K.M. Suits was disappointed in this SangamonLink entry. That’s too bad; the original entry has been useful and informative to some readers, as other comments suggest. At any rate, a note to clarify the Prairie Public post:

    The Hotel Argus was NOT “between Adams, Fourth and Monroe.” There’s no such place. The hotel was on Fourth between Adams and Monroe — 210-14 S. Fourth, to be exact. It was the Argus from 1913 to 1950, then the Hotel Capitol (not CapitAl, as Prairie Public spells it) until the mid-1980s.

    The Argus/Capitol appears to have marketed itself to commercial travelers for much of its existence. At times, it also boasted a lunch counter and cafeteria, along with storeroom facilities. By the 1980s, the Hotel Capitol, while still somewhat more comfortable than a single-room-occupancy hotel, mainly catered to long-term (weekly and monthly) renters.

    The hotel largely disappears from newspaper archives in mid-1982, although it apparently operated for a few more years. Furniture and fixtures were auctioned off in 1985, and the site now is the parking lot for the downtown U.S. Post Office.

  6. Kathy Germeraad says:

    My Great Grandparents, William and Mary Lochridge owned the Hotel Normandie. Do you have any information on that hotel?

  7. Bob Cavanagh says:

    Hey editor I thinking used to go to the judy Lynn candy shop In the1960s and wasn’t that where the us post office parking lot is now? Please explain!

    • editor says:

      Good memory, Bob. Judy Lynn Candy was at 403 E. Monroe in the ’50s and ’60s. There’s not much in newspaper archives about the business, but it looks like Judy Lynn was still there at least in 1969. As of 1970, though, there was a Judy Lynn in Capital City Shopping Center. Couldn’t immediately tell if that was the original shop or a second one. Looks like I have some city directory searches ahead of me.

  8. Bob Cavanagh says:

    Sorry that sounds so illiterate, auto-correct does me that way. Yeah, judy Lynn would squeeze fresh oranges for juice and it was an exquisite treat. They must’ve put some sugar in it somehow; I remember it being even better than regular OJ. Memory sweetens certain things and maybe that’s just one memory enhanced by Father Time.

  9. Eric gualandi says:

    Wanting to know who owned the grand hotel between 1930 and 1940. Because sometime between these dates my great great grampa from Italy’ owned and operated this hotel and I would like to know more about it.

    • editor says:

      Mr. Gualandi: I’ll check further the next time I’m at Lincoln Library. But online newspaper records seem to mention your great-great-grandfather only in connection with one incident. John (presumably the Anglicized version of Giovanni) Gualandi was arrested with another man in Decatur in September 1921 for liquor violations. They had picked up 300 bottles of whiskey in Toledo, Ohio, and were taking it to Springfield when they were stopped. Gualandi was the proprietor of the Jefferson Hotel, 201 1/2 N. Sixth St., at the time, according to the newspaper stories. A short time before that, Mr. Gualandi apparently had owned a “soft drink establishment” — code words for an illegal saloon — at 122 N. Sixth St.

      Gualandi was found guilty of transporting liquor in November and sentenced to a $300 fine and 60 days in the Macon County Jail. (At the sentencing hearing, Gualandi offered to pay a $1,000 fine if the judge would drop the jail time, but the judge turned him down.)

      There’s no mention in the paper of any connection between Gualandi and the Grand Hotel, but I might turn up something in city directories at the library. I’ll let you know what I find out. Thanks for reading.

  10. Eric gualandi says:

    Wanting to know who owned the grand hotel between 1930 and 1940. Because sometime between these dates my great great grampa from Italy’ owned and operated this hotel and I would like to know more about it.his name was giovanni and his wife’s name was lenaq

    • editor says:

      Mr. Gualandi: Based on city directory information, it looks like your great-great-grandfather did manage the Grand Hotel for a while, but it was in the 1920s, not the 1930s. The directories list him as the Grand’s proprietor in 1922 and again in 1925 and 1926. Lincoln Library does not have the 1923 directory, and the 1924 directory lists another man as operating the Grand.

      Incidentally, the Grand was renamed the Roosevelt Hotel, presumably after FDR, in August 1933. It returned to the Grand name sometime in 1939.

  11. George Kunkler says:

    My Dad use to own the Annex Hotel on 5th Street and my Mom owned the Palmer Hotel on 5th and Monroe. My Aunt ownwd Loris Jewel Lounge and the Cloud 9 massage parlor on Monroe, do you have any old pics of these places ?

    • editor says:

      George: Thanks for reading, and thanks for asking. SangamonLink has more on the Palmer here — — including a photo of the Palmer corner. I also have a couple photos showing the hotel being demolished; I’ll post one of them in the near future, but I need to get them into my computer first.

  12. Leon Stone says:

    I was wondering why The Governor Hotel which stood around the corner from the St Nicholas along Jefferson Street is not mentioned in this article? I remember the structure but am not sure if it was torn down or became part of the St Nicholas apartments of today. Any information is greatly appreciated, thank you!

    • editor says:

      Mr. Stone: If you go back through the list, you’ll see the Governor is mentioned, under the listing for the Empire (Stag) Hotel. The Governor didn’t exist under that name in 1907-16, the period under discussion; it was a successor to the Empire later. Thanks for reading, and thanks for the comment.

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