The Hotel Normandie, 311-15 S. Fourth St., opened in May 1896 under the management of “old hotel man” M.M. Armstrong, the Illinois State Journal reported.
The interior of the building has recently been thoroughly remodeled and renovated, finished off with hard wood, nicely frescoed, painted, and papered, and furnished with all the modern improvements and presents a nice and cozy appearance. … Those desiring a good meal and first-class rooms at $1.50 a day will find this new hotel a pleasant place to stop at.
The Normandie struggled at first. The furnishings were seized for non-payment of a debt only a year after the hotel opened, and management changed at least three times in its first four years.
The hotel stabilized after William Lochridge, who had been operating a boarding house on South Sixth Street, took it over in February 1900. Lochridge paid Mrs. Eva Sanford $2,500 for the Normandie’s furniture and fixtures (the building itself apparently was owned by Harris Hickox for most, if not all, of the time the hotel was in operation).
Advertisements immediately following the takeover listed “Gardner & Lochridge” as the Normandie’s proprietors; the Gardner in question may have been William Lochridge’s brother-in-law, William Gardner, and/or Lochridge’s sister, Mary Elizabeth Gardner. William Gardner died in 1902 in Chatham, and Mrs. Gardner died at the hotel in 1908, following five years paralysis caused by a stroke.
The new management promptly lowered the Normandie’s rates to $1 and $1.25 per night and made a success of the hotel.
When William Lochridge retired in 1912, owner Hickox announced plans to convert the first-floor reading room and hotel office into retail space. “The upper floor … will be remodeled into first-class apartments,” the Journal reported. “The building will be modern throughout, and when completed will be one of the most attractive structures in Fourth Street.”
The New Normandie opened in October 1920 under the management of Mrs. William Hodde, but the hotel disappears from newspaper records in 1923. The building apparently was converted to an apartment house.
The site of the old hotel later became part of Bates Chevrolet’s downtown operation; as of 2016, it was a parking lot.
William Lochridge (1845-1920) was prominent in Pawnee – his bank helped finance construction of the Pawnee railroad in the 1880s – before his businesses there failed and he became an innkeeper in Springfield.
Lochridge, born southwest of Chatham, opened a store with his brother John in Pawnee in 1869 or 1870. According to his Illinois State Register obituary:
Pawnee square was laid out on his lands, and many who moved into the village were indebted to him for home-sites. The construction of the present Illinois Midland (railroad), running to Auburn, was largely due to the efforts of Mr. Lochridge, who supplied part of the money, and was an untiring worker in the interests of the railroad. With the assistance of his promotion, the St. Louis line of the Illinois Central railroad was built near Pawnee. It was originally intended to build the road running through the village of Pawnee, but a change of plans, owing to engineering difficulties, resulted in the laying of theline four miles east of that village. …
The first grain elevator in the vicinity of Pawnee was built by Mr. Lochridge. Later he built another and established a bank. He was a foremost promoter in the livestock and grain trade of the county, shipping large numbers of cattle, sheep and hogs to the Chicago and St. Louis markets.
The panics of 1893 and 1898 destroyed the financial institution which had taken years to build and strengthen. Mr. Lochridge, at his death, still held worthless notes of former patrons, the sums running into thousands of dollars.
Lochridge and his wife Mary are buried in Cumberland Sugar Creek Cemetery near Glenarm.
For more on turn-of-the-20th-century hotels in downtown Springfield, see Downtown Springfield hotels, 1907-1916.
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